“Ideas worth spreading” is the notion behind TED – an initiative that lets you steal ideas from some of the smartest, sparkiest business minds in the world.
We jest, but it’s true. With TED talks, amazing speakers with equally amazing ideas are being shared in a viral way all over the world.
The best part is that there is a goldmine of information for small and medium businesses buried in many of these TED talks. If you’re an entrepreneur or you’re hoping to build your mini-empire, you can listen to some of the best people who’ve done it themselves, or can tell you empirically how to do it.
We’ve siphoned some of the best and most popular talks that are perfect for entrepreneurs and budding start-ups – read on.
1. “How too many rules at work keep you from getting things done” | Yves Morieux
Bored of endless targets and budgets? In this talk, Yves explains how an overload of metrics keeps us from getting our best work – suggesting a way of collaboration that is the ultimate productivity fix.
It’s a little reminiscent of the attitude in recent high-performing work cultures, where endless paperwork and approval processes only succeed in slowing things down.
Watch and get ready to rehash all those tedious sign-off processes.
2. “Why we do what we do” | Tony Robbins
Many people seek motivational speakers to be inspired to get things done. Tony Robbins states quite clearly that he is not a motivational speaker – but he is an expert in getting things done.
Robbins dissects the reasons why we get stuff done. Most of the time it’s not down to ability, but the force of internal drive – essentially, the emotions that can push us to make decisions and take action. Try not to feel empowered to take your future in your hands after watching this.
3. “How to get your ideas to spread” | Seth Godin
Did you know that sliced bread was around for 15 years before it actually started selling successfully?
Godin has been described as a marketing genius, and breaks apart how ideas and products succeed. It all boils down to one word with a lot of oomph: is it ‘remarkable’?
You’ll need to watch the video to find out how you can act on Seth’s ideas, but it helps to pin down the difference between having a great idea, and having a great idea that people actually know about. And that’s how an idea becomes a success.
4. “8 secrets of success” | Richard St. John
A three and a half minute rollercoaster that covers the secrets of success in a nutshell.
It almost sounds too good to be true, but it really is a condensed collection of secrets and recollections, built from hundreds of interviews with successful people. Richard rattles through eight key points, each backed up by wise and witty quotes from the people who have been through it themselves.
You can be enlightened in the time it takes to brew a tea.
5. “Trial, error and the God complex” | Tim Harford
Some people are convinced that they naturally understand the way the world works – but the world is far too complex to simplify like that.
This is what Tim Hardford means when he refers to the God complex, which hasn’t proved effective for getting much done. Instead, you should abandon this generalistic way of thinking and try a dummy-proof/ problem-solving technique that works.
Trial and error may not be a new technique – but you’d be surprised by how some of the biggest companies use it to methodically refine problems. This talk encourages that you accept the fact you will make mistakes, as well as training you on how to make “better mistakes”.
6. “The puzzle of motivation” | Dan Pink
Money is the biggest incentive there is – right?
Wrong. In fact, this kind of reward approach only works in a very few select situations. Social scientists know this, but many business managers don’t.
Dan Pink is a career analyst, and explains that for very simple, rule-led tasks, incentives can work very well. However, as soon as a problem requires creativity or cognitive thinking, rewards like money have no effect – and sometimes even a negative effect – compared to control groups. Find out the psychology of it all in this video.