For entrepreneurs, so much of the creative process that comes with building a product or leading a team comes from inspiration. And when people share deep personal experiences with a national (or even international) audience, inspiration abounds.
That’s why we asked 14 entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) about their favorite TED talks for fellow startup founders.
Q. What’s your favorite TED talk for entrepreneurs and why?
1. Gaming Can Make a Better World
“Gaming Can Make a Better World” by Jane McGonigal is a great talk for any entrepreneur who wants a reminder of the importance of play in daily life. Video games, other forms of games and gamified systems can not only be great motivators, but also great educators. To realize the potential, we should embrace them.
– Christopher Pruijsen, Sterio.me
2. Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career
I think “Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career” from Larry Smith is a brilliant discussion of what entrepreneurs go through when making the decision to build a new company. I believe it’s important for them to deeply understand risk, why they’re building their company and what outcomes are going to provide personal fulfillment.
– Jonathan Berkowitz, Thinktiv
3. Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
Amy Cuddy did groundbreaking research on how much your body language can not only change how others perceive you, but also how you perceive yourself in in “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.”
– Vanessa Van Edwards, Science of People
4. Looks Aren’t Everything. Believe Me, I’m a Model
5. What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?
Looking to inspire meaning in your employees? Look to Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist, and his talk about experiments with LEGO blocks and motivation in “What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?”
– Sam Saxton, Salter Spiral Stair and Mylen Stairs
6. Let’s Raise Kids to Be Entrepreneurs
In “Let’s Raise Kids to Be Entrepreneurs,” Cameron Herold says kids who can’t focus well in school may excel at starting or running their own businesses. He emphasizes the importance of encouraging these kids who may likely provide good jobs for other people down the road.
– Bobby Grajewski, Edison Nation Medical
7. Build a School in the Cloud
Sugata Mitra improves the lives of very poor children through his hypothesis that learning is fueled by curiosity. He demonstrates in “Build a School in the Cloud” that we all can change the world. For me, the impetus of innovation is curiosity and the desire to make the world a better place — not money.
– Ha Phan, Porch
8. How to Start a Movement
Derek Sivers’ “How to Start a Movement” talk is phenomenal. Understanding the value of the first one or two followers to kickstart a movement really changes the way you think about building a brand. – Wade Foster, Zapier
9. The Future of Search
Entrepreneurs present all the time. Because of this, the thing I love about TED talks is the presentation styles. Watch German-born marketer Marcus Tandler’s “The Future of Search.” He’s famous for rapid-fire presentations, and he doesn’t disappoint as he shares his predictions.
– Brett Farmiloe, Internet Marketing Company
10. What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?
I would always choose Dan Ariely’s “What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?” It’s easy to assume that money is the sole driver of motivation, but Dan Ariely explains that we must add the key factors of creation, challenge, ownership, identity and pride to build true happiness in the workplace.
– Phil Dumontet, DASHED
11. How to Get Your Ideas to Spread
Seth Godin’s talk “How to Get Your Ideas to Spread” brings up great points about spreading your idea. As an entrepreneur, you need your idea to spread whether it’s through superior product design or through the positioning of your business. Either way, you’ll need to understand this concept to really stand out.
– Russ Oja, Seattle Windows and Construction, LLC
12. The Power of the Introverts
I like Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts.” Being an entrepreneur does not only require hard work and being persistent, but also finding solitude and listening to yourself. I think introverted leaders are more successful than extroverted entrepreneurs, and extroverts can learn from them.
– Evrim Oralkan, Travertine Mart
13. The Puzzle of Motivation
It is very important for a leader to be able to motivate. Dan Pink’s talk “The Puzzle of Motivation” is on the money with experiences I have had as a leader. I am intrigued by his case for autonomy, mastery, purpose, and the corresponding results they create within organizations.
– Joseph P. DeWoody, Clear Fork Royalty
14. Eight Secrets of Success
Richard St. John’s talk “Eight Secrets of Success” has been viewed by almost 5 million people. He discusses how he interviewed hundreds of TED attendees, including Rupert Murdoch, Frank Gehry, and more, and ultimately provides key takeaways that lead to success.
– Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.