Top 5 TED Talks for Businesses and Start-Ups

Top 5 TED Talks

TED Talks have been successful since 1990 where technology, entertainment, and design – the fields behind the TED acronym – and many more, like music, philosophy, and science were approached.

Since the launch of its free access on the web in 2006, TED has acquired at least a billion views worldwide with over 2,400 available videos, and more than 500 one-on-one interviews altogether.

‘Ideas worth spreading’ is the TED slogan – Are you ready to have a look at some ideas worth spreading in the field of business?

1 – The Best Ted Talk Ever Sold – Morgan Spurlock

‘Embrace Transparency’. After his movie Supersize Me!, Morgan Spurlock decided to go further into the transparency topic by making an ad-supported movie based on product placement; the movie being, itself, an ad campaign.

He talks about how, little by little, every company initially in went back, not willing to take the risk of investing in some movie for which they couldn’t visualize the final product. Eventually, he still managed to gather 17 companies who were willing to take part.

Morgan Spurlock emphasizes how working in a mindful and playful way grants success. A too-conservative vision eventually leads to failure. ‘We need to embrace fear’, ‘train employees to take risks’, he says.

Try to apply this to your business. Especially in a startup environment, remaining too cautious won’t make your business stand out and grow. Accept to lose control at times. Like Alexis Ohanian explained it in his TED Talk, the Internet is playful, it likes challenges, and trends. Therefore, it is much more effective to interact with your audience in a playful way rather than in some kind of moral, or need-for-justice way. Trust them, they know about it.

2 – 8 Traits of Successful People – Richard St. John

From an anecdote, Richard St. John recalls a teenager’s question: ‘what really leads to success?’. Unable to answer it, he started a worldwide, 10-year research program meeting more than 500 successful people and asking them the same question the teenage girl asked him.

Eventually, by gathering all the data, Richard highlighted 8 common characteristics these successful individuals from all professions have in common, and shares them in his 7-minute TED Talk.

Have a look at your own professional life. Do you have passion in your work? Are you working hard, are you persistent? Do you focus on one goal at a time in order to achieve it? Are you thinking about new ideas, new perspectives for your business? Are you improving yourself after each experience? Are you doing this only for yourself or do you serve a purpose? Have you tasted failure, and even so, tried again, gave it another shot?

These are all traits successful people have in common. As St. john explains:

  • They have the passion;
  • They work hard – success isn’t about the result, it is about the journey itself;
  • They focus on one objective at a time, taking their overall wish gradually to success;
  • They are always thinking about new ways to reach the top – strategies are various and creative;
  • Not only do they try to improve their business’ performance, but also their own skills, and, most of all;
  • They serve a purpose that in the long run, also benefits other people.

It’s your turn to give it a shot.

3 – What Consumers Really Want – Joseph Pine

Joseph Pine brings up the change in society’s way of consuming. He reviews every ‘stage’ of the economy – from commoditization to a service-based economy, and explains that another shift is occurring: from a service-based economy we are gradually moving to an experience economy, where what customers are really seeking for is authenticity.

He summarizes his speech with 3 basic rules:

  1. Don’t say you’re authentic unless you are;
  2. It’s easier to say you’re authentic if you don’t say it, and;
  3. If you say you’re authentic, you better be.

Don’t make your customers want to buy your product, but rather buy the experience of using your product. There is a slight difference in the word use, but it actually changes everything.

Take Nespresso for example, or Apple. Sure, when you think about them, coffee or computers pop up to your mind; but not only. There is also all this sophisticated, magical, and luxurious aspect of which you are thinking of. Their products are expensive, but not too much – they make it valuable to try it, experience it. It is not only a matter of usefulness anymore; it is also a matter of pleasure, and convenience.

Make your brand an experience – not only a product.

4 – How to Make Choosing Easier? – Sheena Iyengar

Losing your customers into a too broaden range of products is quite frequent. As brands are eager to innovate, they tend to propose to their customers way too many choices, which often results in a decrease in engagement.

Sheena Iyengar, therefore, gives a new alternative to the art of making choices.

First, cut your products. They don’t need 10 different color tee shirts do they?

Second, materialize them. Let your customers clearly visualize them – let them try it on!

Third, categorize them. The more categories, the better the choice, as the customer directly knows what type of product he or she wants. Tee shirts, pants, coats…you know about it.

Fourth, increase complexity. Make your customers learn how to choose by offering them little choice, and increasing the number in the course of the questions. 4 clothing categories? 5 different types within each? 6 colors? Good; you’re doing it right.

Making choices easier will increase you customers’ engagement. As proven, overwhelming them with too many leads them to make none at all – which is not what you want.

Give them some air; give them some choice – but not too much, or at least well structured.

5 – Building Brand: The Power of Social Media – Daryl D’Souza

Daryl D’Souza explains that what builds the relationship between a brand and a customer is the comfort the customer will acquire when appealing to this particular brand. For instance, you have a certainty, 100% probability, that when you ask for a Coca-Cola, regardless of where you are, you will get it. There is a consistency between both, and a form of trust that increases customer engagement.

To create this engagement, first, you have to create the brand by giving it a considerable competitive advantage. To do so, inform your audience about who you are, and what you do; share your culture and core value. Furthermore, defining it will help you focus on what you are, and dismiss what you are not.

Social media is a strong asset in building your brand, and, therefore, this type of relationship with your customers. Remember that ‘[social media] is a direct link to your consumers’; it is a ‘real time, global, and free reaching’. You must take advantage of it, by creating events, thanking, informing, and welcoming your audience.

Don’t forget along the way to align your company with your core value: every partnership, every move, etc. must reflect who you are as a business. Keep it in mind: your identity is your greatest value.

BONUS – The Single Biggest Reason Why Startups Succeed – Bill Gross

Bill Gross assessed different insights of a business in order to identify the cause of startups’ failures. The first insight was the idea, then the business model, followed up by the funding, and last, the timing.

He realized that, actually, business model, and funding are not the essential part of success. Indeed, they do matter, but will come naturally if:

  1. You have the idea – which is the core of your business, and;
  2. The timing.

Many start-ups failed mostly because they did not have the good timing.  You don’t want to be too early – no one will find your product as interesting as it should be – and you don’t want to be too late – too much competition. Take time to evaluate your environment, and assess your audience’ real needs in order to make it stand out at the right moment.

Conclusion

TED Talks are impressive, and well-conceived speeches from professionals, geniuses, and innovators around the world. ‘Ideas worth spreading’ are enriching; but are often forgotten after a first and unique view.

Remember these tips, and lessons you got from these amazing conferences, and try to apply them to your business in order to make it succeed. Thank you very much.

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