10 Must Watch TED Talks for Every Entrepreneur
By: Vijay Soni, Ph.D. | Founder & C.E.O Scipreneur
TED Talks are my favorite as they are full of vision on everything; from everyday science to advance level of scientific developments and from basic human nature to intricacies of life. They are real life experiences; motivational, informative and astonishing in a way that inspires you to become a better person and professional. TED Talks are quick, easy-to-digest videos with fair amount of important information to entertain and educate in just a few minutes. For an ambitious entrepreneur, they exist to help you to challenge your assumptions, self-confidence and force you to be the greatest leader you can possibly be. Then again, wading through those thousands of talks for the right lecturer on business development can be intimidating, especially if you’re just in the mood for a quick talk on your lunch break. That is why I have shortlisted this list of 10 TED Talks, which every entrepreneur should watch and learn:
(1) How great leaders inspire action: By Simon Sinek
This TED Talk by Simon Sinek throws light on the idea of leadership and why few individuals are good at motivating action than others. He begins his talk with an example of Martin Luther King’s leadership in the Civil Rights Movement and goes upto Apple’s leadership in the business world. Simon revealed some patterns that seemingly calculate the success rates of different leaders.
One message that this TED Talk strongly conveys to the entrepreneurs is: “People don’t buy what you do, People buy why you do it.” For entrepreneurs endeavoring to become industry leaders in their own right, basically understanding this principle is a necessity. Watch Sinek’s TED Talk for a more thorough exploration of this idea, with real examples.
(2) The single biggest reason why startups succeed: By Bill Gross
In this TED Talk, Bill Gross tries to enumerate all the reasons why one startup might be extra successful than another. Bill Gross is a mentor and serial entrepreneur for various startups, and he has vast experience in the business world. He witnessed failures of big companies and success of doubtful businesses, and this experience drove him to measure precisely why these variances exist.
Bill estimates every startup in terms of the strength of the idea, the timing of the company launch, the team leading the business, access to capital and the overall business model. He discovered the one factor which led to success more than any other — and that’s timing. It’s a must watch for any business owner.
(3) Do what you love. (No excuses!): By Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk suggests a relatively simple basis, given away by its title, in this TED Talk. If you’re the kind of individual who likes to scan through articles for a single nugget or takeaway, there’s no need to watch the full TED Talk — the title is perfect. The techniques that Gary uses to encourage you are motivating and worth a watch.
Entrepreneurs are often inspired in part by the potential for great income or are excited at the idea of owning their own businesses. But to be truly successful, you have to love what you’re doing and you have to be passionate enough. You have to be in an industry that you truly care about and do the kind of work you are keen on. Else, you’ll never be contented.
(4) How to manage for collective creativity: By Linda Hill
One of the wonderful TED Talks by Linda Hill is perfect for entrepreneurs who are trying to maximize the creative potential of their top teams. Discovering diverse strategies as they are used by some of the world’s most appreciated and most created companies, Hill examines the root causes for creative greatness.
(5) Should you live for your resume … or your eulogy? : By David Brooks
David Brooks reminds us of this point as he discusses the ongoing, internal conflict happening within each of us. He explains that there are two competing sets of virtues: the resume virtues, seeking success, prestige, and accomplishment; and the eulogy virtues, which is who you are in relation to the community; how you love and connect with those around you. Brooks acknowledges that both are important.
He encourages us, however, as driven entrepreneurs to not neglect the attention we dedicate to our eulogy virtues. Too often, as a result of our natural ambition coupled with our success-driven society, we become unbalanced in which virtues we dedicate our energy.
(6) How giant websites design for you (and a billion others, too): By Margaret Gould Stewart
In this TED Talk Gould Stewart reminds us that quantitative data, while important, only tells half of the story. Qualitative data is the other half needed for success. There’s value in pilot-testing, in listening to your audience and experiencing their realities. She has quite the portfolio, having designed for many of the world’s top websites, but understands that it’s not her designs that draw the numbers. It’s having a finger on the pulse of the audience that allows her to create, edit, and re-create successfully.
She goes on to explain that in order to design to scale, you must be able to meet the users where they are — even if that means through dated technology. When designing for Facebook, she can’t just consider the millennials of America with their smartphones and Wi-Fi. She also has to consider users in other countries in rural areas who may not even have access to electricity to charge their flip phones.
She challenges us to allow the users to guide our decision-making and to honor their obstacles and discomforts as changes and updates take place. Gould Steward’s talk is an excellent reminder of who we should prioritize as we make decisions for our businesses, and how we balance our customers’ obstacles while still being innovative and progressive.
(7) Creative problem-solving in the face of extreme limits : By Navi Radjou
This TED Talk by Navi Radjou is all about minimalistic applications in the field of problem-solving. Problem-solving applies to everything, since it’s necessary for innovation, scientific discovery and even social constructs. Radjou introduces the demands and advantages of extreme limitation when it comes to problem-solving.
For the entrepreneur, this means working with limited capital, resources and time. The constraints are high, so it seems more difficult, but it actually drives greater degrees of innovation. This talk is perfect for when you feel like you’re up against the wall with almost nothing to work with.
(8) How to get your ideas to spread: By Seth Godin
Seth Godin is a marketing genius. He offers those rare gems of simplicity that make us all think, “Well duh! Why have I not thought of that?” In this TED Talk, Godin explains how incredibly underwhelmed your audience is. Inboxes are full of static and spam, and your messages are just another fish in that overpopulated sea.
So what about choosing the right audience? Don’t we want to reach as many people as possible? Seth challenges that presumption. He challenges us to initiate the radicals—those way to the left (including innovators and early adopters) and those way to the right (who are considered laggers).
(9) Embrace the near win: By Sarah Lewis
In this TED Talk, Sarah Lewis distinguishes mastery from success as being able to reproduce a victory again and again. Mastery is a constant pursuit. It’s a race with no finish line. It’s like a mosquito bite between your shoulder blades that you can’t quite reach. It’s exhausting and elusive, but also the driving force behind competitive entrepreneurs.
The pursuit of mastery is what drives you forward when you just barely missed out on first place, when your product is not quite right, or when you can’t seem to replicate perfection. Lewis describes, in those moments of “near win,” that once you accept the silver medal you can allow that near win to motivate you as you pursue your next race. Near wins allow us to see our future victories with a new sense of clarity and precision. If you’re OK never reaching that finish line, you may be ready to begin the race.
(10) 8 secrets of success: By Richard St. John
How did successful people get to be that way? Luck? Intelligence? Good old-fashioned hard work? Turns out, it’s none of those things. In this TED Talk, Richard St. John shares information gleaned from conversations with 500 extraordinarily successful people. He asked what helped them succeed, and distilled from their responses eight traits that all of them had. Want to see success in your life? Follow their path.
If you haven’t already seen these TED Talks and you either are or plan on being an entrepreneur, add these to your queue right now. There’s no excuse not to.
Do you like these presentations as much as I do? And as entrepreneurs, which TED talks have been most influential to you? I welcome your additions to this list in the comment section below.