TED's Chris Anderson was born in a remote village in Pakistan, and spent his early years in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where his father worked as a missionary eye surgeon. He graduated from Oxford University with a degree in philosophy, and then trained as a journalist. After several years at newspapers and radio stations, he got hooked on the strange new "home computers" which had just started appearing. He became an editor at one of the UK's early computer magazines, and a year later, in 1985, formed a tiny start-up to launch his own magazine. Its unlikely success led to more launches, and his company Future Publishing grew rapidly under the moniker "media with passion."
Anderson expanded to the United States in 1994, where he built Imagine Media, publisher of Business 2.0 magazine, and creator of the popular games website IGN. The combined companies eventually spawned more than 100 monthly magazines, employing 2,000 people. And they allowed Anderson to create a private nonprofit foundation, the Sapling Foundation, which hoped to find new ways of tackling tough global issues by leveraging media, technology, entrepreneurship, and most of all, ideas. Sapling acquired the TED Conference in 2001, and Anderson then left his businesses to focus on growing TED. (He is not to be confused with his super-smart friend, the Chris Anderson who edits WIRED magazine and wrote The Long Tail.)