6 Must-Watch TED Talks for Startup Founders

Busy the startup life may be, there will be times when you hit a wall or come up blank when it comes to ideas. When that happens, listening to other people talk on the topics they’re passionate about can be a good break. It can give you the boost you need or even set you off to the breakthrough you're looking for. We've put together 5 TED Talks on topics that you can find especially helpful when you're planning or running a startup.

Where Good Ideas Come From | Steven Johnson

When we think of ideas, especially the big ones or the ones that changed the world, we think of them as coming from a single "aha!" moment. But what if an idea is not a single thing, but a network? Looking at patterns, Steven Johnson finds that history tells a different story. Exploring concepts such as the "liquid networks" in London's coffee houses, slow hunch, and the power of open systems, Johnson gives ideas on how to set up your startup for innovation.


Takeaway quotes:

"Ideas are more often than not cobbled together from ideas that happen to be nearby. We take ideas from other people, stitch them together into new forms, and create something new."
"Chance favors the connected mind."

How Great Leaders Inspire Action | Simon Sinek


What makes Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers different from the other leaders in their day? Simon Sinek presents a golden circle that has WHY at its core. With this simple and yet powerful model, he demonstrates how great leaders inspire action. A really good talk to listen to if you're wondering what makes a good leader.


Takeaway quotes:

"People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it."
"The goal is not to do business with everyone who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe."

Build a Tower, Build a Team | Tom Wujec

What makes kindergarteners better than business school graduates in solving the Marshmallow challenge? Having incorporated the challenge in his design workshops, Autodesk fellow Tom Wujec presents his learnings on the nature of collaboration. A wonderful demonstration on how the iterative process of prototyping and refining make for strong success in teamwork.


Takeaway quotes:

"The capacity to play in prototype is really essential."
"Design truly is a contact sport. It demands that we bring all of our senses to the task, and that we apply the very best of our thinking, our feeling, and our doing to the challenge we have at hand."

Creative Problem-Solving at the Face of Extreme Limits | Navi Radjou

What kind of innovation is born when there's a scarcity of basic resources and basic services that Western innovators take for granted? Indian-born French national Navi Radjou talks about frugal innovation. He says that this innovation, diametrically opposed to the way people innovate in the North, approaches the art of doing more with less.


Takeaway quote:

"When external resources are scarce, you go within yourself to tap the most abundant resource, human ingenuity. You use ingenuity to find clever ways to solve problems with limited resources."

10 Things to Know Before You Pitch a VC | David Rose

What is the single most important thing a VC is looking for when you come to them pitching for your new business idea?  How long should your pitch be? What is the ideal trajectory or flow of a VC pitch? What are the most important things to convey?  Serial entrepreneur and investor David Rose packs a treasure in this talk. A must-watch for those who want to nail their VC pitches.


Takeaway quote:

"The entire purpose of a VC pitch is to convince them that you are the entrepreneur in whom they are going to invest their money and make a lot of money in return."

The Single Best Reason Why Startups Succeed | Bill Gross

What's the single best reason why some startups succeed and most fail? What makes Airbnb, Uber, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn successful as startups? Idealab founder Bill Gross looked across more than 200 companies. He identified five factors that matter most for success and came up with what might be the best reason why startups succeed.


Takeaway quotes:

"Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the face." - Mike Tyson
"So much about a team's execution is its ability to adapt to getting punched in the face by the customer. The customer is the true reality."


There you have it. We hope this list makes you rethink your perspective in running a business and give you insights when it comes to leadership, teamwork,  strategy, and management. Bookmark or add them to your playlist, and let those ideas flow!



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