2019 Speaker Interviews, Speakers, TEDxColumbus

An Interview with Speaker Will Burrus

A TEDxColumbus interview with Speaker Will Burrus, Chief Digital Problem Solver of ModernTechnologies


TEDxColumbus: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

WB: I call myself a visionary technology executive and entrepreneur but really, I am a college dropout and unsuccessful musician who fell into a career in technology. Over the last 21 years, I have held many jobs from laptop repair to developer to CTO. I’ve discovered a passion for designing products to level the playing field for us all. My current interest is in Augmented and Virtual Reality. I am excited about the cognitive possibilities. I am father of three, grandfather of one and husband to my beautiful wife Bianca, with whom I’m working hard to execute a Caribbean retirement plan.


TEDxColumbus: What do others consider to be the most surprising thing about you?

WB: Most are surprised to find out that I am highly introverted. I can talk for hours about things I am passionate about in front of any number of people, but I will immediately fall asleep when I am done.


TEDxColumbus: What inspired your interest in TEDxColumbus?

WB: I have always loved the spirit of TED – the idea that people can come together and exchange ideas on how to make the world a better place – as entertainment! It’s like watching documentaries in real-time – I always walk away thinking.


TEDxColumbus: What previous TED or TEDxColumbus talk was most meaningful to you?

WB: I have watched a number of talks that have impacted different aspects of my life, but to be honest, the very first TedXColumbus (2009) event and all of its speakers was most meaningful to me because it brought something that felt inaccessible into our backyard and made it feel attainable.


TEDxColumbus: Why would you encourage others to attend TEDxColumbus 2019:SPARK or any TEDxColumbus event?

WB: As a society we have a lot of work to do. This is the easiest way to engage and doesn’t require any more effort than watching television or YouTube.


TEDxColumbus: What Inspires you about the future of Columbus?

WB: Its potential. We are a city that is evolving and it is exciting to watch. As we become more diverse in our culture and our thinking, the risk tolerance is increasing and as a result we are finally starting to produce some world class companies, products and experiences.


TEDxColumbus: When you host visitors from outside of Columbus, where will you typically take them?

WB: It depends on the visitors – but typically Short North or Franklinton area.


TEDxColumbus: If you could give advice to yourself as a high school student, what would it be?

WB: Life is so much bigger than High School and what you are going through, but it’s hard to see that when you are in it. Nobody cares about your status once you leave so aggressively be yourself. People celebrate individuality outside of those walls.


TEDxColumbus: How did you select your career choice?

WB: I fell into my career choice. I started out in Engineering – dropped out of college and ended up in the record business – washed out of that world and ended up in technology. I believe in being opportunistic with your strengths and your hustle.


TEDxColumbus: What is your favorite book?

WB: The Bible: It is incredibly layered and existential documentation of our human condition. I don’t think we give it enough time or credit because it forces us to stare at our own ego.


And just for fun:

TEDxColumbus: Netflix or Theater

WB: Netflix

TEDxColumbus: Phone Call or Text

WB: Phone call

TEDxColumbus: Form or Function

WB: Function

TEDxColumbus: High Tech or Low Tech

WB: High Tech