We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.
TED is a circuit of highly popular conferences that present “Ideas Worth Spreading” —which have quickly grown to become some of the most well-known conferences around the world. TED has attracted presenters such as Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Larry Page, and a large handful of Nobel Prize Winners.
Many of the presentations, known as TED Talks, present ideas that are particularly valuable to entrepreneurs. I put together a collection of TED Talks that all entrepreneurs, including ecommerce store owners, should find interesting and worthwhile. Since a lot of the presenters below have written books, I have included a link to purchase. All of the money earned from Amazon’s affiliate program will go to Acumen, a non-profit venture that supports entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Let us know which TED Talk you think should have made the list in the comments.
Rory Sutherland: Life Lessons from an Ad Man
Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Simon Sinek is an author, motivational speaker, and strategic communications professor at Columbia University. Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership that starts with his famous “golden circle of motivation” and the question “Why?”
If you like Simon Sinek’s TED talk, you should also check out his popular blog Re:Focus which is regularly updated with fascinating articles that will help entrepreneurs build businesses. Also check out his book “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.”
Dan Ariely: Are we in Control of our own Decisions?
Seth Godin: How to get your Ideas to Spread
Be remarkable. Safe is risky. Being very good is one of the worst things you can do. Everyone has heard the expression “The best thing since sliced bread” but did you know that for 15 years after sliced bread was invented it wasn’t popular? The success of sliced bread, like the success of anything, was less about the product and more about whether or not you could get your idea to spread or not.
Malcolm Gladwell: Choice, Happiness, and Spaghetti Sauce
The food industry used to determine what people want to eat by asking them – as you may have seen in the focus groups portrayed on Mad Men. Fact is, people don’t know what they want. Ask people what kind of coffee they like and they’ll say a “dark, rich, hearty roast” – in fact, most people actually want milky weak coffee.
Tim Harford: Trial, Error, and the God Complex
Unilever (they own 400 brands, including: Dove, Lipton, Becel, and more) hired some of the most brilliant engineers in the world to design the perfect nozzle to squirt out laundry detergent. No one could get it right. So they used trial and error instead. They created ten random variations of a nozzle, and kept the one that worked best. Then they created ten variations on that one, and kept the one that worked best, and so on. After 45 generations Unilever developed a perfect laundry detergent nozzle with absolutely no idea why it works.
Steven Johnson: Where Good Ideas Come From
Dan Cobley: What Physics Taught Me About Marketing
Jason Fried: Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work
The office isn’t a good place to work, meetings are toxic, and ASAP is poison. In Jason Fried’s TED Talk, he lays out the problems with “work” and offers three suggestions to fix a broken office.
Richard St. John: 8 Secrets of Success
Why do people succeed? Is it because they are smart? Or are they just lucky? The answer is neither. Success Analyst, speaker, and author Richard St. John asked over 500 extraordinarily successful people what helped them succeed. He analyzed their answers and discovered eight traits successful people have in common. His book “The 8 Traits Successful People Have in Common: 8 to Be Great” goes into further detail on each of the traits that are briefly outlined in his TED Talk above.
Looking for more great inspirational content? Check out 12 Must Watch “Non-TED” Talks for Entrepreneurs.