The 10 Most Powerful TED Talks for Entrepreneurs

One of the most effective ways for you to learn is by listening. By halving what you say and doubling what you hear, you allow yourself to digest more information that can be beneficial to you later on.

As an entrepreneur, listening to the advice of mentors and employees is a good way to improve on your business methods and leadership skills.

It is also important to listen to other entrepreneurs who are on the same journey as you, as their experience and failures can push you towards success.

One place that has proven to be a wealth of information, ideas, and advice is TEDx.

If you’ve ever attended a TEDx event or watched one of their talks online, then you know that this program brings different people together, with the aim of connecting people and encouraging conversation.

The TED talks cover a range of different topics, and below I have gathered the 10 talks that all entrepreneurs should see. Whether you are still in the infancy stage of entrepreneurship, or you are a fully fledged magnate, these 10 talks have gems of wisdom that you can take advantage of.


1. Richard Turere: Innovation and problem solving is a must

The business world is fraught with challenges. Even with thorough planning, you will be met with unexpected challenges that will catch you off guard. That’s why you need to be quick on your feet so that you can come up with solutions to problems based on the resources that you have.

This TED talk is by a young Kenyan boy who was trying to stop lions from killing his family’s cows. The lions migrated from an unfenced part of the Nairobi National Park, and onto private land where herders lived with their prized cattle.

While Richard had no specialized training, he came up with an innovative solution to the problem. By being proactive, he has managed to stop wildlife from killing livestock in his community. And in the process he has stopped the human-lion conflict, as herders no longer need to kill the lions that attack their livestock.

Problem-solving is a soft skill that is not taught, but learned through exposure and experience. You will only know how to problem solve by being proactive, analytic, and creative. So the next time you encounter a problem with your business, don’t delegate it, but come up with a solution yourself.


2. Thomas Suarez: You’re never too young to start

There has been increasing support for young entrepreneurs, but despite this, the youth still get nervous about going out on their own. And I understand this; young entrepreneurs are considered high-risk, and they may not be given the same respect as older entrepreneurs get.

And to add onto that, young entrepreneurs have to work much harder to gain the trust of the people that they are working with.

However, Thomas Suarez shows us that you are never too young to start. This young developer took the time to learn programming, which he then used to create multiple apps for iPhone by the age of 12. These apps made it to the app store, where they have been met with incredible popularity.

Furthermore, he has started an app club at school, where he gives other students the chance to learn how to create an app. Because he found his passion early and followed it, he has an edge up on other programmers who are just getting started.

He could have waited for university to start exploring his passion for apps, but he started early and he will be better for it.

So if you are a young person with an entrepreneurial spirit, don’t use your age as an excuse.


3. Charles Eugster: You’re never too old to start

With an increasing number of young entrepreneurs, older members of the society might feel like there is no room for them in enterpriseenterprise. However, as we have seen above, enterprise does not take age into consideration.

Senior citizens have to deal with degeneration and chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. The fact that a large portion of the elderly population tends to be physically and mentally inactive fuels the degeneration and disease.

However, Charles Eugster proves that you can take part in continuous education and competitive sports at any age. Charles started rowing at 81 and bodybuilding at 93, and it has staved off the negative effects of aging. He said that in order to successfully age, people need to work, exercise and keep a healthy diet.

With this in mind, you are never too old to start a business. With experience and wisdom on your side, you can make the decision to follow your passion, and compete against the younger population.

Not only is this good for your finances, it also has a positive impact on your self-esteem, identity, self-worth, and health.As I said above, don’t use age as an excuse.

As I said above, don’t use age as an excuse.


4. Henrik Scheel: Create your own opportunities

An entrepreneurial mindset is what separates an entrepreneur from a non-entrepreneur. While a non-entrepreneur will look at the world and see problems, an entrepreneur will look out and see opportunity.

An entrepreneur does not sit back and wait for opportunity to come knocking on their door. Instead, they are proactive and go out looking for this opportunity.

They create this opportunity by identifying problems around them, and then approach these problems with courage. They then find a way to turn a problem into the opportunity to make an impact. An entrepreneurial mindset is not afraid of failure; in fact, failure is the perfect way to learn.

Henrik Scheel goes out and talks to people in his community, and he discusses the problems they are facing. He then comes up with ways to make their lives much easier using innovative methods. He also runs a program where he teaches students how to turn challenges into solutions.

This is the perfect example of how you can create your own opportunities for enterprise.


5. Margaret Heffernan: Challenge the status quo

When we go into business with a partner, we might be tempted to choose someone who is alike in thinking and behavior. However, it is detrimental to you and your business to have a partner who acts as an echo chamber. As the name implies, this type of partner just agrees and goes along with everything that you say.

However, Margaret Heffernan sees the danger in this. She believes that we should find partners who are different from us, as they have the ability to make us think. When you find someone who questions your decisions, you are forced to think about whether you have really made the best decision possible.

As you can imagine, this is a source of conflict. After all, no one wants to be second-guessed at every turn. But when we are not afraid of conflict, we open ourselves up to new and better ideas. When you encourage thinking in your business at all levels of management, you ensure that the best course of action is always taken.

On the other hand, if the culture is one where decisions are not questioned, you will find that mistakes are made because everyone is afraid to speak up. Constructive conflict is essential in enterprise.


6. Amanda Palmer: Ask without shame

Being an entrepreneur is scary. You are leaving what you know behind, and venturing out on your own with no security to fall back on. Most entrepreneurs need help, but they are too scared to ask for fear of being labeled as beggars. I don’t know how many of you have been told to stop your crazy fantasies, and get a ‘real’ job.

Amanda Palmer is a musician and former street performer who talks about the art of asking. As a musician, she has found herself asking her fans time and again for food, advice, a place to practice the piano, and even a place to crash for the night. These requests have been met with overwhelming responses each time.

The relationship between an artist and a fan is not so different from that of a business and their customer. As a business, you should not be afraid to ask your customers for something. You can ask them to help you raise money for a project, to increase awareness for a new service you are offering, to participate in a challenge you are hosting, and to share your posts on social media.

You will be surprised by how many people want to help you out when they feel connected to your brand. Even if you are just starting out, there will be people willing to give you a hand if you have taken steps to build a relationship.

So go ahead and ask without shame; the worst anyone can say is no.


7. Diana Nyad: Keep pressing on

Perseverance is one of the greatest qualities that you can have as an entrepreneur.

The journey of an entrepreneur is not easy, and you will need to learn how to take the hard knocks and then get back up again. While the highs of enterprise are really high, the lows of enterprise are really low.

Diana Nyad is a 66-year old athlete who has dreamed of becoming the first person to swim the 100-mile stretch between Cuba and Florida. This swim is rife with turmoil, including strong currents, jellyfish, sharks, and hypothermia. In fact, she has nearly died during previous attempts to conquer this journey.

However, at the age of 64, Diana managed to overcome the record-breaking swim from Cuba to Florida, becoming the first person to ever do so. This was her fifth attempt at the record, and even though she had failed on previous occasions she tried again. The 53 hours it took her to swim 100 extreme miles were her toughest, but she had a goal which she needed to meet.

As an entrepreneur you have a dream, and you need to find a way to achieve that dream despite the obstacles that stand in your way.


8. Dr. Ivan Joseph: Cultivate your self-confidence

As an entrepreneur, it is essential for you to believe in yourself, in what you have to offer, and what you have accomplished so far. This self-confidence should always be present despite the difficulties you face.

Dr. Ivan Joseph is an athletic director and head coach of the varsity soccer team at Ryerson University. As a coach, he is in the unique position to instill self-confidence in his players. He acknowledges that not everyone is born with great self-confidence; however, this is a skill that can be learned.

To build your own self-confidence you need to focus on repetition, positive self-talk, and positive interpretation of feedback. The truth is many of us bail after the first taste of failure. When we do this, we never get the chance to build up our self-confidence.

However, when we persist in the face of failure, we allow our confidence to grow in leaps and bounds. When we believe in ourselves, we cause the people around us to also believe in us. This is crucial for all leaders.


9. Angad Daryani: Don’t stop learning

Continuous learning is fundamental for every entrepreneur. At 8 years old, Angad Daryani started building robots with a Lego kit his father bought him. He then continued building his skills by following blogs, learning from engineers, and participating in challenges held by MIT. By the age of 13, he had built his first 3D printer.

By the age of 16, this inventor and entrepreneur had built an affordable Braille reader, as well as an ECG belt that retailed for $10. To add onto this, he started a low-cost 3D printing company, as well as a company that designed and sold affordable DIY kits to kids interested in technology.

He quit formal schooling in the 9th grade, and his home education was quickly pushed aside by his technology projects. That was when he learned that his projects were stalling because of his decision to cut down on learning.

Angad has decided to return to school to finish 11th and 12th grade and has put his projects in the hands of other people. As passionate as he is about technology, his options for success are limited because he had cut back on his education.

Similarly, as an entrepreneur you cannot afford to stop learning, and you should take every chance to gain knowledge. Continuous learning is essential for every niche, especially if you want to be the best of the best.


10. Carey Simpson: Pursue your own definition of success

Everyone’s definition of success is different. Carey Simpson acknowledges this fact, especially after seeing the divergence in answers from her friends when she asked their definition of success. She has categorized people into two main groups; who’s and what’s.

Who’s define success by emotion. These are the types of people who will say that their definition of success is to be happy. On the other hand we have what’s, who often define success by a job or a career achievement.

Most of us fall on the spectrum, and we have traits of both definitions of success. Unfortunately, each definition comes with a drawback. What’s have a strong fear of failure, as they are afraid that their relentless pursuit of a career will end up in tatters. Who’s have a strong fear of settling, as they are afraid that they will get stuck doing something they hate.

That is why as an entrepreneur you need to find the middle ground between these two qualities. You need to be able to strive for greatness while having a fantastic time during your entrepreneurial journey. You need to follow your passion and then succeed at it.

When you have found a definition of success that is who and what, then you can pursue it without the fear of failing or settling. It’s the best of both worlds.


Final Verdict

As you can see, TED/TEDx talks offer a wealth of information, advice, and ideas to entrepreneurs. There are plenty of talks that you can benefit from as an entrepreneur, and I urge you to go ahead and watch them. The talks above are the ones that have had the greatest impact on me, and I hope that they can help you profoundly as well.

Before you leave, I urge you to share these talks with your friends, family and colleagues, and continue any conversation that was started during the video. Also leave a comment below telling me which talk was most impactful to you. And don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter for firsthand updates on everything blog-related.

Have a great week, and I’ll see you next Monday.


P.S. I just got published in the HuffPost, so check out my article and let me know what you think!

28 thoughts on “The 10 Most Powerful TED Talks for Entrepreneurs

  1. Davina, I am very impressed by the youth you showed in your post. It is so good to see something positive in our youth. Especially their desire to do something positive and useful. It shows that the only thing holding you back, is sometime – you.


    1. Thank you Roy; kidpreneurs are everywhere these days. I also get excited when I see young people coming up with innovations that benefit society, and hopefully this is something I can achieve as well 🙂


    1. Hi Vicky,

      I hope you find all the talks helpful…And I’m glad you loved the phrase, it was inspired by this quote that I came across: The biggest mistakes by most human beings: listening half; understanding quarter, and telling double


  2. Never listened to a TED Talk before. I have too much month-end work to today, but I have bookmarked this for review after my month-end madness… This certainly looks like a great line-up of speakers of different ages, races and nationalities 🙂


    1. Hi Duane,

      You will definitely become a TED fan after this 🙂 And I tried to vary the speakers so that their experiences could touch a larger group of people. You’ll definitely be able to relate to each of them.


  3. Get list. Ted talks are wonderful especially when you feel like inspiration. I also love how you gave a summary of each and were dropping business knowledge along the way! (So many list post don’t do this! ).


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