TED Talks aren’t just interesting, they’re also a great way to access the insights and expertise of some of the best and brightest minds in the world. As the founder or CEO of a tech company, they can be a valuable resource for ideas and inspiration. It’s with that in mind that we’ve compiled five of our favorite TED Talks that we think every tech business leader should watch.
1. Regina Hartley: Why the best hire might not have the perfect resume
Hiring can be a tricky business. If you want to make the best hires, you have to be careful not to discount certain candidates just on the basis of their resume. In her TED Talk, UPS human resources manager Regina Hartley explains why candidates who look bad on paper can sometimes actually turn out to be your highest achievers.
Hartley says that she looks for people she calls “scrappers” — candidates who’ve had odd jobs or who have holes in their resume. While on the surface these folks might look like they’re inconsistent and unpredictable, delve a little deeper and you could find someone who has succeeded in the face of adversity and deserves a chance. Scrappers, she explains, have a sense of purpose that prevents them from giving up on themselves.
Watch this TED Talk to change the way you look at hiring and to uncover some of the great talent your company needs.
2. Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action
Author and consultant Simon Sinek examines inspirational leadership through his concept of the golden circle. In this compelling TED Talk that’s been viewed more than 48 million times, he delivers a powerful message on what makes great leaders stand out. He explains why people like Martin Luther King, the Wright Brothers, and Steve Jobs succeeded when others — with similar resources and under similar conditions — ultimately failed.
What the most successful leaders all have in common, he says, is that they don’t just explain the what and the how of their work, but also the Pourquoi. He argues that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, and notes that when leaders start articulating Pourquoi their organization exists, they’re able to inspire others and sell their vision to them.
3. Bill Gross: The single biggest reason why startups succeed
Entrepreneur, adviser, and investor Bill Gross has the inside track on hundreds of startups from the last few years. In his TED Talk, he shares his extensive research on the most important factors that determine a startup’s success or failure. He explains what he has learned from more than 200 companies, including what made the biggest impact on their journeys. Gross’s big conclusion? Timing is everything.
Watch this TED Talk if you want to know if consumers are ready for your product and why timing is so critical to your startup’s success.
4. Seth Godin: How to get your ideas to spread
Marketing expert Seth Godin used his time on the TED stage to take his audience all the way back to sliced bread, pointing out that when it was first invented, no one wanted it. In an age where mass marketing is over, the challenge is getting ideas to spread. The simple solution Godin offers is to stop trying to reach the average buyer and instead make people pay attention by doing something extraordinary. These days, he argues, playing it safe is riskier than going all out.
In his Talk, Godin gives expert advice on building a product and marketing it in a way that is not only striking, but that will get your customers talking. Watch this TED Talk if you need inspiration, and want to take a risk, but aren’t sure where to start.
5. Ludwick Marishane: A bath without water
South African entrepreneur Ludwick Marishane has won awards for his DryBath lotion, an innovative product that allows people in developing countries to bathe without water. In this fascinating TED Talk, he explains how getting his product in consumers’ hands wasn’t easy.
If you’re a tech leader looking for a dose of inspiration, Marishane delivers a compelling talk about how he used creativity and innovative problem-solving to adjust his DryBath lotion, overcome challenges, and deliver a much-needed product to millions of people around the world.
The tip of the iceberg
These are just five of the thousands of TED talks available online. If you’re in need of new ideas, a fresh perspective, or just a bit of inspiration, try checking them out. You’re bound to learn something that will help you in your work and day-to-day life.