The internet’s accessibility makes it a great resource for learning. In the past, those in search of knowledge had to wade through long blocks of texts. These days, pictures, videos and a host of interesting graphics keep our attention focused on the content.
Some of the most valuable online resources in recent years have been TED talks. Here are my 10 must-see TED talks for entrepreneurs.
1. Cameron Herold: Let’s raise kids to be entrepreneurs.
According to Cameron Herold, founder of COO Alliance, the traditional academic system doesn’t cut it for a lot of younger students these days. They’re prone to boredom, conflict with peers and lapses in confidence due to poor performance. The problem, according to Herold, is the system. It’s time to revamp traditional teaching methods to embody a more career-oriented approach. In this talk, Herold describes how that could happen.
2. Maya Penn: Meet a young entrepreneur, cartoonist, designer, activist.
Occasionally you come across an entrepreneur who possesses both business savvy and impressive artistic and expressive range. Maya Penn has those qualities in abundance. She chose an entrepreneurial career to enable her to explore all of her interests and share her skills with the world. In this talk, she describes how she assists her customers and the global community while staying true to her artistic calling.
3. Nirmalya Kumar: India’s invisible innovation.
We often overlook the inspiring and universal nature of entrepreneurship and innovation. Nirmalya Kumar embodies the deep connection between these two qualities. In this talk, Kumar discusses the potential of India as a center for innovation and presents his ideas about a “four set” invisible innovation that exists in India. The shift he describes from manufacturing jobs to management positions is based on his developmental model of entrepreneurship.
4. Majora Carter: 3 stories of local eco-entrepreneurship.
As the title of this talk implies, Majora Carter deals with the environmental role that local entrepreneurs play. The arrival of green energy is fast outstripping the costs associated with energy derived from burning fossil fuels. Carter suggests that responsible entrepreneurship should take the environment into consideration and adopt the necessary protective initiatives. She explains this in three touching and impactful stories.
5. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action.
The CEO of a company is the shot caller. He or she is the person who hands down all the important decisions and guides the company to success. All great leaders have a common trait: they approach problems relevant to their operations in creative ways. In this talk, Simon Sinek suggests using a visual and comparative approach in evaluating why other companies may be more successful than your own. Room for improvement revolves around solving the key question “Why?” and acting accordingly.
6. Regina Hartley: Why the best hire might not have the perfect resume.
A rampant reliance on credentials is a serious issue affecting the ability of companies to hire the most suitable workers. Regina Hartley’s discussion of the vagaries of resumes is important because it highlights the unwritten parts of an applicant’s fit for a job. According to Hartley, the underdog with passion, purpose and grit may end up surprising you over the applicant with a stellar resume.
7. Philip Evans: How data will transform business.
It’s no use arguing or denying it — technology and data analysis are the next big things in business. In this talk, Philip Evans addresses the shifting nature of strategy and its relationship with technology. These changes and the uncertainties that come with them are threats to the stability of the current models of business strategy.
8. Josh Luber: Why sneakers are a great investment.
While this topic might appear peripheral to the issue of successful entrepreneurship, Luber’s perspectives on long-term investment and developing expertise through research embody some of the most essential attitudes an entrepreneur can have. By focusing on the niche area of sneakers, Luber offers timeless advice about return on investment. His advice is underscored by the success of his market-analytics company, Campless.
9. Dan Cobley: What physics taught me about marketing.
In this talk, Dan Cobley notes that marketing is primarily a numbers game. Just as physics relies heavily on mathematical logic, understanding marketing requires a profound engagement with the numbers. The real point here is that the relationship between physics and marketing cannot be understated, and Cobley’s mathematical approach to branding is a testament to that.
10. Didier Sornette: How we can predict the next financial crisis.
Entrepreneurs can become myopically focused on their business, to the exclusion of wider trends. Sornette’s talk gives entrepreneurs a perspective on the economy as a whole. In the United States, cycles of recession and prosperity are usually cyclical. It’s been 10 years since the last financial crisis, and Sornette thinks we might be able to predict industries that lean toward unstable growth in order to minimize possible losses. Sornette insists that maintaining awareness of macroeconomic trends is key for any entrepreneur.