Tag Archives: Ted talks

20 Excellent Online TED Talks

TED — stands for Technology, Education, and Design — is a great resource. They recently posted their top 20 most watched talks. This is a great resource. I’m happy to see that I’ve already posted, previously, several of these on this blog. And this is a great list. 

  1. Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity (2006): 13,409,417 views
  2. Jill Bolte Taylor‘s stroke of insight (2008): 10,409,851
  3. Pranav Mistry on the thrilling potential of SixthSense (2009): 9,223,263
  4. David Gallo‘s underwater astonishments (2007): 7,879,541
  5. Pattie Maes and Pranav Mistry demo SixthSense (2009): 7,467,580
  6. Tony Robbins asks Why we do what we do (2006): 6,879,488
  7. Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action (2010): 6,050,294
  8. Steve Jobs on how to live before you die (2005): 5,444,022
  9. Hans Rosling shows the best stats you’ve ever seen (2006): 4,966,643
  10. Brene Brown talks about the power of vulnerability (2010): 4,763,038
  11. Daniel Pink on the surprising science of motivation (2009): 4,706,241
  12. Arthur Benjamin does mathemagic (2005): 4,658,425
  13. Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing your genius (2009): 4,538,037
  14. Dan Gilbert asks: Why are we happy? (2004): 4,269,082
  15. Stephen Hawking asks big questions about the universe (2008): 4,153,105
  16. Jeff Han demos his breakthrough multi-touchscreen (2006): 3,891,251
  17. Johnny Lee shows Wii Remote hacks for educators (2008): 3,869,417
  18. Keith Barry does brain magic (2004): 3,847,893
  19. Mary Roach 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm (2009): 3,810,630
  20. Vijay Kumar demos robots that fly like birds (2012): 3,535,340

I post about education and particularly business education on this blog. A great TED talk is sometimes about business, often about thoughts and leadership, also about creativity, always about presentations and speaking, and always real education. 

Will Success Spoil Ted.com?

I’ve watched dozens of TED talks online and never seen a bad one.

TED stands for Technology, Education, and Design. It started in 1984. Since 1990 it was located in a conference center outside of Monterrey CA. Since 2001 it’s been curated mainly by Chris Anderson.

Most TED conferences were amazing. I’ve never been, but what I’ve seen is a collection of excellent presentations about compelling ideas and information delivered by the best and the brightest in the world. If you’ve been reading this blog you’ve seen TED talks off and on. Since I first discovered the online TED talks at TED.com I’ve been back to that well regularly. And what I’ve found has been consistent highest quality of thought, communication, and, specifically, presentations.

For more than a dozen of my favorites, from previous posts on this blog, use this link.

So far, so good. Can anybody blame TED for wanting to branch out and expand? Not me. TED is now branching out to TEDx talks that are way less exclusive. Look around for TEDx on the web and you’ll see the TEDx talks popping up everywhere. Here’s what TED says about TEDx:

Created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” the TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.

In theory that’s great, but what if the end result is that TED talk no longer means guarantee of high quality? I hope the TED tradition continues. But here’s the concern I have:  Does that mean dilution of quality? A lower bar? More people presenting to more people on more subjects in many more locations?

TED says that 231 TEDx conferences were held last month.

And meanwhile, just to make that a bit more real, this morning I clicked a TEDx link in my email to end up with this disappointing result:

Truth, Magic, Stories, and the Digital Campfire

Do yourself a favor and watch Marco Tempest on this brilliant six-minute TED video. If you don’t see it here, use this link to go to the TED site to watch it. After you’re done, I’d like to tell two true stories that seem somehow related. And before the video, I want to highlight some quotes from it. First:

Experts believe that stories go beyond their capacity for keeping us entertained. We think in narrative structures. We connect events and emotions and instinctively transform them into a sequence that can be easily understood. It’s a uniquely human achievement.

And second, Marco’s delightful definition of social networking, as…

… the digital campfires around which the audience gathers to hear our stories. We turn facts into similes and metaphors and even fantasies. We polish our affections of our lives so that they feel whole. Our stories make us the people we are, and sometimes, the people we want to be. They give us our identity and a sense of community.

And from there, two true stories:

  1. In the late 1990s there was a business plan that won almost a quarter of a million dollars in MBA-level business plan competitions that was a fictional exercise, using real people, presenting a technology that sounded plausible but didn’t exist. The contestants who submitted and pitched the plan had no intention of ever launching the company it described. They wanted to win business plan contests. And they did.
  2. I once witnessed overwhelming, loud, bawling, personal-loss kind of grief, so all-encompassing that nobody else in a carful of people could talk, over the death of a fictional character is a movie.

And I think that if you watch this TED talk, you’ll see how these two little stories are related.

Tell Your Story Well: Resonate

This last Sunday I bought three copies of Nancy Duarte’s book Resonate and sent one each to three adult children. That’s the best review I ever give a book. I’m sad to admit that it happens rarely. But I love this book.

If you ever – ever – get up to speak to a group of people, and if you give a damn about what that means, to you and them, then you want to read this book.

It’s all about the story and telling it well. The ups and downs, the communication, the results, and the caring about the people listening, plus the caring about effectiveness, entertainment, and change.

Then this morning, thanks to Petra Pollum, I discovered Nancy’s presentation about resonating at a recent TEDx East. What better summary than the author herself?

In case you can’t see the video embedded here, you can click here for the original source on Youtube.

And the book, again: Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences

5 Good Posts for Friday July 1

I need your help: Can you suggest a way to give a theme and a title to a series of Friday posts listing good posts and recommended links I’ve seen from the last week? My title here is too dull. I’m not nearly good enough at titles.

I don’t want to do this every Friday, but this is the fifth time since April 1, so I’m thinking maybe I should make it a repeated theme, with a cool title. Except I don’t have the title.

  • My absolute favorite this week is Megan Berry’s post on Mashable called 7 Tips for Better Twitter Chats. It’s a very good short piece on the step-by-step details of doing a twitter chat. Megan’s marketing manager at Klout (and yes, one of my daughters).
  • Shashi Bellamkonda of Network Solutions, alias the swami of social media, posted 6 Ways to Improve Your Online Content on the Amex OPEN Forum. Shashi knows. He practices what he preaches.
  • The SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) has an excellent short piece explaining why you need a business plan on SBA.gov. It’s not a blog post published this week, but SBA.gov tweeted it this week, which caught my attention.
  • Fred Cavazza, Why a Facebook Page is Not Enough forbes.com. I caught this one thanks to Becky McRay mentioning it on twitter.
  • The TED blog posted The 20 most-watched TED Talks (so far). How can you resist this best-of-the-best list from the amazing collection at TED.Com. Trivia question answer: TED stands for technology, education, and design.
  • (Aside: yes, I know, this is the sixth, but I can’t resist) Steve King had some fascinating demographics in his Comparing Small Business Owners and High-Growth Entrepreneurs on Small Biz Labs. 

The Hidden Power of Smiling

So it’s Friday today, at least it is where I am. Let’s all pause and smile. We can’t always be about business planning and entrepreneurship and small business. Life matters too.

Amazing facts, all from the video embedded here:

  • The width of a random smile correlates with the length of life;
  • A single smile can give you as much energy as 1,000 bars of chocolate.
  • Children smile on average about 400 times a day. Adults smile on average only about 15.

Those are just quick tidbits of research and advice shared by Ron Gutman in this 7-minute TED talk:

In case you can’t see it here, you can click here for the original on the TED.com site.

Big Problem: We Don’t Know We’re Wrong Until Later

You should find 17 minutes to watch this TED talk by Kathryn Schulz, “wrongologist,” author of the book Being Wrong, in this TED talk called On Being Wrong.

We know, intellectually, that we’re sometimes wrong. Of course we make mistakes. But when we’re wrong, while we’re wrong, we don’t know it. She says:

It does feel like something to be wrong. It feels like being right. I call this error blindness.

We’re taught, she says, that getting something wrong means there’s something wrong with us. We’re conditioned.

But here’s a real problem:

Trusting too much in the feeling of being on the correct side of anything can be very dangerous. This internal sense of rightness that we all experience and feel so often is not a reliable guide to what is actually going on in the external world.  And when we act like it is, when we stop entertaining the possibility that we could be wrong …. this is a huge practical problem, but it’s also a huge social problem.

So what do we think when someone disagrees with us?

  1. They are ignorant
  2. Or they are idiots
  3. Or they are evil

So our thinking we’re right causes all kinds of problems. It keeps us from preventing mistakes when we need to, and it helps us to treat each other terribly.  She suggests this one:

The miracle of your mind isn’t that you can see the world as it is; it’s that you can see the world as it isn’t.

This talk builds steadily upwards. I love her quote from St. Augustine: “I err, therefore I am.” And she talks about how being wrong leads to great ideas, art, stories, and, ultimately, being human.  We love being wrong in stories. And she comes to a very strong finish, that I won’t spoil here, but I will say, you should spend these 17 minutes.

And just in case you don’t see it here on the site, or if you’d rather watch it in a larger view, here’s the link back to the original: Kathryn Schulz: On being wrong | Video on TED.com.

What Does a Life Well Lived Look Like to You?

What do you think of this (emphasis is mine)?

Flextime, dress-down Fridays and paternity leave mask the core issue: certain job and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged, on a day-to-day basis, with a young family. Reality is people working long hard hours at jobs they hate to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.

Sure, you say, work-life balance is a great idea, but I’m busy. And there’s no web app for it.  You can’t do it with a spreadsheet.  Wait – can I get an app for my iPhone?

Nigel Marsh – author of the quote above, and the books Fat, Forty and Fired and Overworked and Underlaid – quit work for a year, stayed home instead, and discovered:

work-life balance is easy when you have no work.

The video here is 10 minutes of Nigel on work-life balance at the recent TED Sydney. It’s funny, it’s insightful, it’s short, and it makes a lot of sense.

(if you don’t see it here, click here for the original)

I suppose it’s ironic that I like the following quote, given that I’ve been an employer for 20 years, but I do; I think it’s good advice:

Never put the quality of your life in the hands of a commercial corporation. I’m not talking about just the bad companies, but all companies. It’s what they do, even the good, well-intentioned companies. Daycare in the office for example is so you spend more time at the office.

And he finishes with this summary (emphasis is mine again):

Small things matter. It’s not dramatic upheaval, it’s small things. If enough people do it, we can change society’s definition of success, so we can all have a better view of what a life well lived looks like.