Saturday, March 12, 2011

Best of TED: Business

The TED talks that have really stuck with me, really gotten under my skin, that deal with the realm of business:

Dan Pink talks about how to motivate people in jobs that require creativity. The "monetary rewards fail miserably at motivating people to be creative" theme recurs among several talks at TED, including Tom Wujec's analysis of the Marshmallow Challenge:

The Marshmallow Challenge (one of two marshmallow-centered TED talks; not to be confused with the other one) forces people to collaborate constructively in a very tight timeframe, and there are all sorts of interesting lessons to be gleaned from who tends to do well at the challenge and under what circumstances.

Here's my favorite talk that's specifically about marketing and branding:

Simon Sinek makes a lot of sense. Still, it's hard not to be cynical about his mention of Apple Computers. "Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo." Simon Sinek gave this talk in 2009, I'm writing this in 2011, and while Apple would dearly like to have us believe that they are challenging the status quo, the truth is that for the last few years they have been the status quo.

Finally, Jason Fried's great talk. I've had a lot of fun showing this to Taiwanese office workers. Ordinary office workers generally agree with everything he says. One student of mine, a senior VP at the Taiwan Stock Exchange, found quite a bit to quibble with, but it was great to see he still engaged with the talk fully.

I like Fried's style. Not a single PowerPoint slide, or indeed any visuals whatsoever. I think this talk should be required viewing by everyone in a position of authority at large organizations. You can disagree with points he makes, but at least you'll have to think about his message.

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