12 Must Watch Non-TED Talks for Entrepreneurs


Late last year, we published "12 Must Watch TED Talks for Entrepreneurs" which proved to be a really popular post. But as inspiring as TED talks are, we thought to ourselves there must be a great deal of amazing content for entrepreneurs being produced outside of TED that's still "worth spreading". 

So we took the onus of putting together a list of talks from some of today's most brilliant thinkers and doers that would be of value to anyone looking to start their own business.  

Just like our other post, since a lot of these presenters are also authors, we've included links to purchase their books. All of the money earned from Amazon's affiliate program will be going to Acumen Fund, a non-profit venture that supports entrepreneurs in developing countries. 

Be sure to let us know which other non-TED talks should have made the list in the comments.


Guy Kawasaki: The Art of the Start

Here you'll learn everything from coming up with a "mantra" instead of a vision statement for your company to picking the right reasons for starting something in the first place, all the way to hiring and retaining the best talent while continuing to innovate on your product.

This talk offers Guy Kawasaki's tips and insights for entrepreneurs looking to get started based on his own journey. Starting his career in technology as a software evangelist for Macintosh, Guy has gone on to run his own venture capital firm, Garage Technology Ventures, in addition to starting and advising a number of startups including Alltop, StumbleUpon, and Paper.li.

Though he's published many best-sellers, I'd highly recommend reading "The Art of the Start" and "Reality Check" if you're looking to really think through the nooks and crannies of running your own business.

Reid Hoffman: Entrepreneurship Rules of Thumb

Every entrepreneur knows that mindset is everything. This talk lays the foundation by presenting six rule of thumbs to help anyone looking to create new products and build organizations that scale. 

Reid Hoffman is currently a Partner at Greylock, a leading venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, where he works to grow the firm's portfolio of companies that include the likes of Facebook, Airbnb, and LinkedIn (which he co-founded in 2003). In 2012, he co-authored a book with Ben Cosnocha titled "The Startup of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career"

Sheryl Sandberg: The Importance of Authentic Communication

Ever wonder about how important communication is in scaling your business relationships? This talk will teach you the key components that make up better information sharing both on an individual and organizational level. Also, learn why taking full responsibility of your actions is a crucial building block regardless of which stage you are in.

Hailed as one of the 100 most influential people by TIME in 2012, Sheryl Sandberg has served as the COO of Facebook since 2008. Recently she sparked a flurry of attention for encouraging and enabling greater female representation in leadership roles across the board and specifically in technology with her book "Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead".

Brian Wong: How To Keep Getting Lucky

It's easy for entrepreneurs to look at success stories and attribute the rise of others to being in the right time at the right place, or being simply lucky. So if you're of wondering how you can get lucky yourself building the business of your dreams, this talk lays out the foundation that shows you how. 

22-year old Brian Wong shares anecdotes from his own life that showcases his "lucky moments", including raising $15 million for his startup Kiip, a mobile-rewards platform that's transforming the way brands think about mobile advertising. 

Jack Dorsey: The Future Has Already Arrived

Where do great ideas come from? What's the difference between sparking a disruption and a revolution? Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and founder of Square, highlights why putting a greater emphasis of what happens after something is founded is more important than glamourizing just the founding moment and founders alone.

In this talk, you'll learn how to build multiple "founding moments" and how the people using your service can add and build on top of what you've already created. He also challenges us to rethink our preconceived notion of an entrepreneur as someone who takes significant risk to build something new, not just confining the idea to being a CEO or necessarily starting a company. 

Ruchi Sanghvi: From Facebook to Facing the Unknown

Change is the only constant and uncertainty in inevitable. So then, how do you make decisions? Are you led by social conventions and fear or your own intuition? Facing the unknown is a skill honed by experience and imperative for any entrepreneur to master.

Ruchi Sanghvi, COO at Dropbox, was the first female engineer hired at Facebook. In this talk, she shares her journey from growing Facebook to later quitting and doing her own thing. More importantly, she shows how you can continue to defy and surpass your own expectations. 

Daniel Kahneman: On Thinking Fast and Slow

Behavioural economics has revolutionized the world and turned conventional thinking about human judgement upside down. The field has become flooded by books that continue to pile research on top of research that prove one single premise; we're not as rational as you think. Learn the history, biases, and heuristics that will give you an inside look into your consumer's minds. 

Who better to guide you through the maze of decision-making models than the father of the field himself? Daniel Kahneman, who won the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics for his findings and research conducted over the past several decades consolidates all his findings in his most recent book; "Thinking, Fast and Slow"

Eric Ries: The Lean Startup

Money, talent, time, and other resources are at a premium when you're first starting out on your entrepreneurial path. Especially when you're building products and services that you want people to use, love, and evangelize. Contrary to conventional wisdom of "build it and they will come" the lean startup methodology teaches the exact opposite, bootstrap your way to building a minimum viable product (MVP) and release it to the world to get feedback from actual users in a continuous cycle of "build-measure-learn" loops.

Eric Ries authored the book "The Lean Startup" and helped start a movement that would see the lean startup methodologies be used in leading startups like Dropbox, municipal governments across the U.S. through Code for America, and taught at Harvard Business School. Currently, he is a General Partner at Neo, a product innovation company, and was previously the CTO of popular 3D social chatting world IMVU. He also blogs regularly at startuplessonslearned.com and was a 2012 Shopify Build-A-Business mentor.

Dan Heath: Made to Stick

Ideas have expiry dates too, some however manage to have a life-cycle the predates civilization. Some spark revolutions, while others fizzle out with so much as a second look. Regardless of whether you're educating consumers, building your company's brand, or looking to get people to change their behaviour, understanding what makes ideas sticky will enable you to increase your chances of success. 

Dan Heath, a Senior Fellow at Duke University's CASE Centre and his brother Chip Heath, a professor at Stanford Business School have been making waves ever since the publication of their first NYT's best-selling book "Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die". I also recommend checking out "Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard", and their latest work "Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Work and Life".  

Ferdinando Buscema: Magician Leadership

Reality is volatile, uncertain, and ambiguous at best. As a leader then, isn't it dangerous to just rely on what you can see and hear to chart a course for your organization? A magician leader is one who can tap into something outside the realm of facts and numbers and see beyond the comforts of boiling the world down to models and theories. This talk highlights the importance of bringing together the "art" along with the science of being a 21st-century leader, a reality Steve Jobs embraced with his quest to bring the humanities and technology together, to become someone who can tap into both hindsight and a cultivated foresight to make magic happen.

Deemed a magic experience designer, with a diverse background that includes being a mechanical engineer, humanistic psychologist, and magician with credited performances at venues the likes of Magic Castle in Hollywood, Ferdinando Buscema consults with multi-nationals around the world on the topics of innovation, communication, and leadership. 

Alexandar Osterwalder: Designing Business Models

There's a saying that "a business plan doesn't survive the first customer contact", yet with so many failed startups year-in and year-out that burn out the cash they receive after pitching their market research and opportunity, it might be time for a different approach. Looking to draw parallels from the car design process, this talk highlights the importance of sketching, prototyping, and testing your business models using the Business Model Canvas, composed of nine building blocks that walks budding entrepreneurs through thinking about everything from customer segments to value proposition and customer relationships. 

Alaxandar Osteralder, a PhD in Management Information Systems, co-wrote "Business Model Generation" triggering a fundamental shift in how people approached business planning across the world. He's also co-founded the Business Model Foundry, and is a speaker, consultant, and advisor on how startups and organizations as big as 3M, GE, and P&G can use his business model canvas for how they approach problems. 

Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Antifragile 

What's the opposite of something that's fragile? Most people will answer with something that's robust or something that's stable. However, what you'll learn through this talk is the idea of antifragile, or something gaining and benefiting from outside stresses, random events, and disorders. Citing examples from fields as diverse as human biology all the way to the financial markets, entrepreneurs should take note of why building "antifragile" into their businesses is a must in today's rapidly changing marketplace.

Best known for predicting the 2008 financial meltdown before it happened, Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a financial derivatives trader turned academic. His books include "Fooled by Randomness", "Black Swan" in addition to his latest book "Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder", all of which would be worthwhile reads for anyone taking risks in an uncertain environment and that definitely includes you, the entrepreneur.   

Looking for more great inspirational content? Check out 12 Must Watch "Non-TED" Talks for Entrepreneurs.

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