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On Friday, November 16, 2018, fourteen Columbus area residents will become part of the TEDxColumbus community when they present their talks for On the Edge.


Meet Dave Ramsey:

Faithful TEDx fan gets best seat in the house!


By Wendy Cornett


For the past nine years, TEDxColumbus has featured boundary-pushing innovators and risk takers who have impacted the Columbus community and beyond. As the event marks its 10th anniversary, one TEDxColumbus devotee who has attended every year will take his turn on stage to share his own thought-provoking epiphany.



When TEDxColumbus launched in 2009, Dave Ramsey couldn’t buy his ticket fast enough. The developer and Workflow Data Systems founder had been captivated by some of the online videos from California’s wildly popular TED Talks, so the opportunity to witness the local incarnation live was a no-brainer.


“There was not a lot of hesitation there. ‘Oh, they’re doing one here? Great! Let’s go!’” Ramsey recalled of his enthusiastic reaction, noting that he didn’t even care who was speaking.


For idea junkies and consummate thinkers like Ramsey, TEDx events are like “brain holidays” chockfull of mind-expanding insights and conversation starters not found elsewhere. And being physically present adds a layer of connectedness that virtual viewing could never match.


“The personal connection of being in the room, in the space, while this person is telling a story of their triumph or the worst day of their life — that personal connection is huge, at least to me,” he said.


In addition to the energy a live show generates, Ramsey credits the diverse, carefully curated slate of speakers for making TEDxColumbus an overall transformative experience, and one that continues to shape his ideas going forward.


“It sculpts your experience pretty significantly if you’re cherry picking videos online,” Ramsey pointed out. “You can make sure that you never hear anything outside of the realm of what you’re looking for. I like the fact that my TEDxColumbus experience is not an echo chamber of everything that I’m listening to the rest of the year.”


And he’s quick to point out that, while it’s natural to jump to conclusions based upon the descriptions of the talks, those in the audience should be prepared to have their preconceived notions challenged.


“One lesson I learned is that the talks I’m least interested in from reading the program are often the talks that I think about for the next six months,” he said. “You can’t predict it. You can’t tell what’s going to reach out and grab you.”


Ramsey hopes to grab the attention of the audience when he shares one of his most profound realizations — a gem of an idea that germinated early on during his visits to TEDx and grew with each successive event. But to hear it, you’ll have to take Ramsey’s seat in the theater.


“I like sitting close to the stage,” Ramsey added. “I’ll get as close as I can get because the people are right there. It’s a completely different experience.”



Raised in Cincinnati, Ramsey moved to Columbus for Ohio State and has since put down roots in central Ohio. He founded Workflow Data Systems in 1998, a small software development consultancy, and remains a principal in that organization. In his 24 years in tech, he has written process automation systems, end-user business apps, mobile apps, VR games and tools for other developers.

Five years ago, he retired to work on passion projects, including developer tools, VR and Unity game development, designing board games and podcasting. His first board game design has been picked up by a publisher and should hit the market soon.

 He enjoys coding, mentoring junior developers and startups, playing board and video games, lounging with his dog, growing his beard … and attending TEDxColumbus events.