Entrepreneurs are constantly learning, and TED Talks are a great source of business smarts. But with so many TED Talk videos out there, how do you know which ones to watch? We put together a lost of indispensable TED Talks for entrepreneurs.
Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action
What do Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers have in common? Their value proposition begins with the "why". Author Simon Sinek explores an idea that seems very simple, yet makes a huge difference when implemented. Sinek tells us why It's all about starting with the why:
"Why do you get out of bed in the morning, and why should anyone care?"
Identifying this, both to yourself and to others, will result in loyalty from both your customers and your employees, because "people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it" and "what you do proves what you believe." If you only watch one video in this list, this should be it.
David Logan: On Tribal Leadership
If Simon Sinek focuses about the "why", David Logan focuses on the "how" - how to be a leader who moves people forward. Logan's notion of tribal leadership can really be applied anywhere from your business to your local volunteering organization. Logan describes the five levels of tribes, or social groups, and how their focus can move them from stage one on to the highest level. He argues that tribal leaders move the people in their tribe through these stages, having the potential to build world-changing tribes. A must-see for entrepreneurs who want to lead their teams to new heights.
Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation
In this TED Talk, Dan Pink explores one of the most consistent findings in social science, yet one of the most overlooked: contingent rewards are not a good incentive and might even hurt motivation. Pink's talk can really influence how you reward your employees and can lay the building blocks for a complete revolution in your work place. One of the best quotes in this talk:
"There's a mismatch between what science knows and what business does."
Stefan Sagmeister: The power of time off
New York-based designer Stefan Sagmeister of Sagmeister & Walsh makes the case for taking a year off every seven years - a sabbatical. In a world obsessed with productivity, this might feel counterintuitive, but Sagmeister points out how it can regenerate passion, boost creativity and generate ideas - in his case, enough ideas to keep him working for the next seven years. Interestingly, he also points out that Google gives its software developers 20% personal time to work on cool projects - and that accounted for 50% of the products it launched in the second half of 2005.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: Women entrepreneurs, example not exception
Journalist and author Gayle Tzemach Lemmon has covered women entrepreneurs around the world - and has seen the hardships they run into as they try to take their businesses from micro to medium. She considers some the overlooked key to economic development, but the stories she shares are not inspirational because they are about women in business; beyond that, she tells stories of entrepreneurial resilience in which women business owners thrive in spite of operating in conflict or post-conflict zones.
Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success
I know I said that if you're only going to watch one video in this list, you should watch Simon Sinek's, but Alain de Botton's talk is too much of a treat to pass on. De Botton, a writer, philosopher and entrepreneur himself, writes like he talks and talks like he writes. This is one of the reasons this TED Talk is so engaging: it's witty, intelligent and quick-paced. His premise is that we are facing a crisis at an unprecedented scale. This is the individual's career crisis:
"It's perhaps easier now than ever before to make a good living, it's perhaps harder than ever before to stay calm, to be free of career anxiety."
Why? Not only because of the pressures of achieving success, but because our notions of success are not our own. This talk is really for every entrepreneur, as De Botton forces us to take a sobering look at our definition of success.
What are some of your favorite TED Talks? Share them with us in the comments below!