Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
November 22, 2012 4:15 PM

9 TED Talks That Will Stretch Your Business Mind

It doesn't take long to find inspiration. It takes forever to figure out how to do something meaningful with it.

I've been fortunate enough to be able to attend the famed TED conference since 2008. Within that timeframe, I have also helped out on a few of the TEDx events. It's always a treat. I am privileged to be able to speak in front of audiences many times throughout the year, and I count the TED conference as one of a handful of events that I attend for the sole reason of personal development. It's my time to learn, think and attempt to do some serious reflection. A few days ago, Mashable ran an article titled, Tim O'Reilly: 9 TEDTalks That Stretched My Mind. Well, it inspired me to put together a list of TED Talks that have forced me to rethink and reshape my vision of business. I hope you enjoy these, and please feel free to add your picks in the comments below.

9 TED Talks That Will Stretch Your Business Mind:

1. Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity.

I don't think you can have a healthy business without understanding the value of education and creativity in our community. I don't think anyone has ever presented a more powerful case for how the education system is letting down a vast majority of our young people and, because of it, has created a stigma about what education means and how important creativity is in our society...

2. Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability.

Think about the work that you do - each and every day. Do you bring things like true vulnerability and authenticity to the work that you do? People say, "it's nothing personal, it's just business." I hate that line. I love the work that I do, and I take it all very personally. Some may see this as a weakness. Fine. Their choice. I'm also thrilled that brilliant minds like Brene Brown are out "in the wild" and sharing this type of information that would have, typically, been perceived as a sign of weakness. It's not...

3. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action.

I've had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Simon Sinek on more than a few occasions (in fact, we just presented at The Art of Management this past Tuesday in Toronto). Simon believes that leaders can (and should) do more. He also believes that when leaders do more, it means that businesses can do a whole lot more. It's a rare breed to find someone who can blend both motivation with business practice into something tangible and real. Simon Sinek is that rare breed of business excellence and what we should be striving for. He also happens to be an exceptional speaker...

4. Seth Godin: The tribes we lead.

The legendary Seth Godin talks about the merits of not just a great idea, but how to find the right people to help that message spread. It's easy to look online and find every social media pundit blogging or tweeting about community management and building a strong brand evangelist platform, but many get it wrong. What we're looking to do is to build tribes of like-minded people. Nobody explains the power of new marketing and new business thinking better than Seth... 

5. JJ Abrams: the mystery box.

Brands think they understand the power of great storytelling. The majority of them are just blasting a message that say "look at me! look at me!" Famed television and movie writer, director and producer, J.J. Abrams knows a good story when he sees it. In this amazing TED Talk, he deconstructs the story behind telling a great story. I wish more business executives would pay attention to this one...

6. Clay Shirky: Institutions vs. collaboration.

I can't say enough good things about Clay Shirky. I do think he is the Marshall McLuhan of our time (big statement, but I stand by it). He gave this talk in 2005... nearly eight years ago. What he talks about is not supposition but fact. Now, ask yourself: how well is my business networked and collaborating in this kind of world?...

7. Ray Kurzweil: The accelerating power of technology.

It's not just technology that is moving at an exponential pace. I believe that in this prescient talk, Ray Kurzweil is demonstrating that business is now (finally) at this unique moment in time that is moving from a linear to exponential pace of change. What does this mean? In short, all bets are off. We must rethink the very shape and fabric of business in this very different landscape...

8. Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?

Now that you have seen what people like Godin, Shirky and Kurzweil think, it's time to take a step back, take a deep breath and  ask yourself if all of these connected and networked societies are truly making us better people. Right now, we ignore the person in front of us to tend to our Facebook updates. What does that say about us as human people. If you think that the Internet and social media are some of the best things to happen to business, please take a moment of pause and watch what Sherry Turkle has to say about it...

9. Susan Cain: The power of introverts

In Susan Cain's book, The Quiet, I found myself. I used to wonder if it was normal that I enjoyed going to concerts and movies alone. I used to wonder why I took so much pleasure in reading a book is a quiet corner. As my work evolves, I take great pleasure the solitary space of thinking, reading, writing and problem solving. Seems strange for someone who speaks publicly, blogs and more, doesn't it? It isn't. Watch this.......

Now, it's your turn. Don't share the TED Talks that have great speakers, but please feel free to share the TED Talks that have changed the way you think about business...

in case you are curious about the TEDx talk I gave, you can watch it here...

By Mitch Joel


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