It’s knowledge from the world’s most interesting people distilled into a presentation that takes less than an hour.
TED, because of its popularity, has hosted events in every major city. It’s difficult to sift through so much amazing content and find the ones that’ll impact you.
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This is why I love my job. I got to watch dozens of TEDTalks in the name of research. I’ve compiled a collection that’ll push you, make you think, and motivate you.
Navi Radjou, discusses Jugard, a hindi term meaning improvised fix. He sheds light on how entrepreneurs all over the world, especially in developing nations, are using available resources to craft ingenious solutions.
They aren’t perfect, but what is? That notwithstanding, individuals have created solutions to real world problems at a fraction of the expected cost. A billboard in Peru creates water from thin air, a bike in Kenya charges phones, and a plastic insert helps optimize water usage for crops in California.
Many times, we don’t have the capital, equipment, or software to easily achieve our goals. Think bootstrapped startup. What we all have in equal measures is a brain and the ability to be creative. Navi highlights some ways to turn your disadvantages into your greatest advantages.
He calls it frugal innovation. I call it a day in the life.
The final message is clear. The answer to the problems plaguing the world isn’t more funding or government grants. The answer lies with our critical thinking.
Do more with less.
Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the way we manage hasn’t changed much. Sure, there are newer management techniques that may make you raise an eyebrow like Holocracy. That aside, we’ve remained staunch in the way we get things done in a corporate setting.
Yves Morieux challenges our trusted methods. I read widely and apply what I’ve read. When he started talking about how systems don’t matter I was miffed. I make money based on systems. He basically told me I’m limiting myself with an obsolete way of work.
That notwithstanding, he had a valid point. The world is getting more complex every single day. We have tech companies tinkering with AI. We have entrepreneurs chasing their dreams, refining skills, and serving customers half a world away. Do we need to adapt that same complexity to the way we work?
When we do, people disengage. Why do you think it’s so damn hard to find rock stars? It’s because they get burned out due to unnecessary complexity in the workplace.
Yves outlines six simple rules to create simplicity in the workplace. They’re based on human interaction and cooperation. When you cooperate, it takes less energy and resources to arrive at the same outcome.
Dan Pink is a career analyst, who well, analyzes careers. Forgive me, I couldn’t help myself. Alright, so Dan Pink is this recognized guy that advances his career by advancing the career of others. It’s the calling card of entrepreneurship. Help a lot of people solve their problems.
In Dan’s talk, he spoke about how motivation doesn’t work. After a certain point, people don’t care so much about the money. After a certain point, people don’t care so much about the perks. After a certain point people don’t care so much about anything you can give them.
I know you’re asking so what motivates people? I was asking the same thing when I was watching this Talk. The truth: we’re most motivated when we feel we’re working on something meaningful. He says intrinsic motivation is governed by autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
He’s not the only one. Teresa Amabile and Steven J. Kramer carried out a study where they analyzed the journals of countless creatives. People like you who’re solving nonlinear problems. They discovered that we’re most motivated when we’re making progress on meaningful tasks. They called this the Progress Principle.
Dan highlights a few examples of where this has worked. Watch the talk. It’s worth it.
As your business grows and you rack up success after success it gets hard to listen to the opinions of others. Why should you? You’ve trusted your gut and it’s gotten you this far–right?
Ray Dalio turns that idea on its head. Instead of being the big fish at the top, he’s purposely built a team that’ll question his decisions. Not in a “who’s dick is bigger” kind of way. Rather, they look at it objectively.
The way he’s done that is with radical transparency. His approach may not be right for everyone, but you can certainly adopt some elements into your workflow.
The key takeaway is to continue iterating your truths until you find a set of principles that work for you and your business.
This is a TEDTalk for entrepreneurs that looks at the data. Bill Gross gives you a behind the scenes peek at what he thinks are the most important factors for startup success.
Before I continue, a startup doesn’t have to be a tech company. It can literally be any business designed to grow – fast. Now, I want to highlight why I like this talk so much.
Bill has started over a hundred companies over the last few decades through his firm IdeaLab. Some of them have been runaway successes and some have been epic failures. Through that process, he’s compiled some convincing data about what makes successful companies tick.
I won’t give away the goods, you’ll need to watch the TEDTalk for that. One of the most important factors is adaptability. We live in a world moving at the speed of thought. As soon as you get an idea, you can login to namecheap, buy a domain, and throw up a landing page.
Before you know it, you’re in the validation phase. Either it goes boom or bust. There’s little in between space. You have to adapt and roll with the punches. Your plan isn’t as good as you think it is and you’re smarter than you think you are.
Watch the talk. It’s enlightening.
The world we know has been built by people driven to solve problems. Cars were invented to get us from point A to point B faster. Phones were invented so we could communicate better across long distances. Air conditioners were created to cool the interior of larger and taller buildings.
In each instance, the people who went on to create these inventions were told it wasn’t possible. Everyone from Edison to Ford was told to give up. They didn’t. They had an unwavering belief in themselves and their team.
It took me almost two years to make my first dime online. Edison famously failed over a thousand times. Ford was at it for longer than you’ve been at your current job 1 that’s a broad generalization. Ignore me if you don’t fall into that category.
Carol Dweck talks about the difference between two mindsets and how no problem is too hard for you to solve. She highlights some of her research and talks at length about a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. It’s the difference between success and failure.
Which mindset do you have?
In this short TEDTalk for Entrepreneurs that’s not actually for entrepreneurs 2 the lessons are just as poignant and can be applied across all areas of your life , Angela Lee Duckworth talks about the true predictor and creator of success.
Angela is a research psychologist. She’s studied everyone from military cadets to spelling bee students. What was she looking for? Angela was searching for the common thread between the people who were successful and who weren’t.
The answer she found didn’t surprise me. What surprised me is that many people don’t seem to understand it. I have a lot of readers, students, and apprentices. They email me all the time and ask me questions. Standard ones are along the lines of:
These are the wrong questions and when you watch Angela’s TEDTalk you’ll understand why.
Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, delivers a moving talk on creativity and genius. You and I both know entrepreneurship is equal parts creativity, critical thinking, and management savvy. You’re steeped in constant pressure.
She talks about the pressure we experience as being inherently creative as well as the way the world perceives us. The perspective she champions is powerful.
Elizabeth focuses on creativity which has striking parallels to breakout success attained through business. The secret goal of every entrepreneur. Sometimes, an idea comes barreling through us. You have to do everything we can to catch it and make it a reality. Other times, you have to get down in the trenches and do the work before the flash of genius comes.
Though our processes may differ, one thing is sure; we’re not alone in this. We’ve got an invisible entity rooting for us in the corner. When it gets too tough, they step in and give us a bit of their juice.
An inspiring TEDTalk.
John Wooden is the most successful coach UCLA has ever seen. By success, you may think it means winning. Yes, it’s that, but it’s so much more to John. In his TEDTalk for entrepreneurs and professionals, he discusses what success really means and how it affects our lives. He coined his own definition.
Peace of mind attained only through self–satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you’re capable.
John talks a lot about his coaching days. The message through the reminiscing is stand for something or nothing at all and be patient. The only thing you can control is whether you put in your all or not. If you did, hold your head high. If you didn’t then try again next time.
This presentation is short. St John distills seven years of research and five hundred interviews into three minutes. He rapid fires what it takes to be successful. Some of them I don’t quite agree with. Call me a stickler. Other ones are right on the money.
Draw your own conclusions.
Jia Jiang is a funny presenter that delivers an engaging talk about rejection. He speaks about his earliest days and how rejection shaped his life.
Later, after starting a company, he experienced a crushing defeat. He wanted to quit. Instead, he decided to help himself. Jia searched the web for answers and stumbled on a 30 day challenge to face rejection head on.
He decided to take it up a notch and committed to being rejected for 100 days. He has some interesting stories about what he asked for and how people responded.
This TEDTalk hits so close to home. I’ve received rejection after rejection. I’ve been called a scam, people ask for refunds 30 minutes after buying a product, and some are just assholes. Through it all, I’ve not given up and I hope you don’t either.
TED brings together different people from different backgrounds. They’ve had experiences you can learn from no matter who you are. I’ve put together a short list of Talks you can listen to in order to improve yourself.
Don’t stop. There are countless TEDTalks for entrepreneurs and I’d love to hear about which ones you’ve watched in the comments.