For those who don’t know, TED conferences are a worldwide phenomenon dedicated to presenting innovative speakers who have brilliant new ideas or ways of looking at existing problems. These speakers operate in many different fields, from personal development to technology, art and design, music and so on.
Subsequently when TED chooses someone to speak, you know it’s going to be good. These are five of my favourites for startups and small businesses.
1. Dan Pink: The Puzzle Of Motivation
Dan Pink is a respected author of five books, a former speechwriter to Al Gore and, back in 2013, was named as one of the top 15 business thinkers in the world. Pretty impressive for someone who didn’t too well at law school. Dan’s TED talk is focused on how to run your business and his studies on how to motivate people and your team, pulling apart the assumptions that incentives lead to better work.
2. Nilofer Merchant: Got a Meeting? Take a Walk
Nilofer has pretty much worked for everyone that matters, from big business to small start-ups, including Apple, HP, Logitec and more. She’s also an author, and her book 11 Rules For Creating Value in The Social Era was voted as one of 2012’s best book by Fast Company. Short and sweet, here she talks about how dangerous our current work environments are and how we can solve those issues by getting off our butts! Also check out her talks on Star Trek if you love sci-fi.
3. Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
One of my favourite speakers, authors and ad men, Simon Sinek is most famous for his ‘Start With The Why’ concept. Born in the UK, but with a number of global homes throughout his youth, he’s written for the New York Times, WSJ and BusinessWeek amongst others. Sinek’s talk at a TEDx conference is a twenty-minute wrap-up of his core beliefs in the ‘Golden Circle’.
4. Tony Robbins: Why We Do What We Do (over 11 million views)
Who doesn’t know Tony Robbins? Possibly the only global motivation speaker to feature in a Hollywood film, Shallow Hal, Robbins teaches people in all aspects of their lives from business success to personal emotions. Filmed back in 2006, this TED talk is only 20 minutes — short in comparison to his normal weekend seminars — and focusses on why it is we do what we do. He’s also a tall, tall man!
5. Jason Fried: Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work
Jason Fried is a software engineer and founder of companies such as Basecamp and 37signals. He also has an idea called ‘rework’, which he turned into a book of the same name. His TEDx talk from out in the Midwest discusses work and why people can’t seem to get work done, at work. His core question: ‘where do you go when you really want to get work done?’ poses a lot of questions about how we actually achieve anything.