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20 Essential TED Talks For Entrepreneurial Students

Although a strong education is by no means a requirement for business acumen or success, many still saunter off to college and further hone what they've already got. Those walking on or logging onto campus with visions of profits and genius dancing in their heads shouldn't relegate their learning within those boundaries exclusively. They should drink up any potentially valuable insight they can, and the venerable TED offers up one such conduit. One of the world's most beloved and stimulating repositories for human knowledge available, it certainly explodes with amazing business, marketing and inventing advice. Try a few of these for starters!
  1. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on aid versus trade

    As Nigeria's former finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala understands how trade, aid, private investment and government support all impact an economy differently. She wraps up TEDGlobal 2007 opining on what they all mean for business-minded Africans and what still needs doing to stimulate their minds.
  2. Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media

    Just because a video lasts less than five minutes, that doesn't mean it has little to offer budding entrepreneurs. Considering effective social media use often translates to much better business and promotion, any advice on improving Facebooks, Twitters and blogs is extremely valuable (maybe even game-changing for some).
  3. Anil Gupta: India's hidden hotbeds of invention

    The Honey Bee Network provides opportunities for some of the world's most marginalized peoples to channel their creative, inventorial and entrepreneurial inclinations. In doing so, it nurtures both humanity and economy and ultimately might very well create a more prosperous and equitable planet.
  4. Cameron Herold: Let's raise kids to be entrepreneurs

    Cameron Herold notices a correlation between many undesirable educational and behavioral traits, such as poor grades and spastic attention spans, and entrepreneurial potential. He argues for teachers and parents alike to recognize such characteristics and nurture rather than squelch or control them.
  5. Dean Kamen on inventing and giving

    Entrepreneurship might conjure up images of current and future capitalist fat cats, but such drives undoubtedly carry considerable philanthropic applications as well! Segway inventor Dean Kamen shares some innovations meant to give developing nations a necessary boost: an undoubtedly inspiring lecture for charitable students.
  6. Joseph Pine on what consumers want

    The most sustainably successful entrepreneurs know how to market their goods and services to the intended (or, sometimes, unintended) audience, maybe even filling a niche nobody even knew existed. So making an effort to understand how consumers choose might very well mean the difference between a failing or triumphant business initiative.
  7. Majora Carter: 3 stories of local eco-entrepreneurship

    Students with entrepreneurial inclinations should find inspiration in Majora Carter's fascinating tales of some impressively enterprising individuals from Chicago, Los Angeles and Whitesville, West Virginia. With the green movement swelling in popularity, many opt to keep their ideas local and sustainable, and the incoming results proved absolutely spectacular.
  8. Tim Harford: Trial, error and the God complex

    This economist actively encourages innovators, inventors and creatives to fail and genuinely embrace the results! His inquiries into how wildly successful ventures pop into existence reveal that the entrepreneurial individuals behind them often enjoyed a steady stream of not-so-greatness before achieving their goals.
  9. John Gerzema: The post-crisis consumer

    When the world's economy collapsed, it completely overhauled the ways consumers approached purchasing goods and services, which John Gerzema dubs "The Great Unwind." Faced with new challenges, they now take a more active role in budgeting and planning — and future inventors and business owners must consider this mindset before marketing anything.
  10. Nigel Marsh on how to make work-life balance work

    No matter how brilliant one's ideas might be, he or she must not cave to the pressures of workaholism, even though society actively encourages such potentially dangerous addictions. Ponder some of the tips offered here and strive towards striking a better balance between the financial and the filial.
  11. Euvin Naidoo on investing in Africa

    Desiring "to separate the rhetoric from the reality" when it comes to the African continent, the South African Chamber of Commerce's president weighs in on investment and entrepreneurial opportunities. Euvin Naidoo's TED Talk revolves around encouraging businesses to consider what these oft-misunderstood nations have to offer, since it might very well prove mutually beneficial.
  12. Itay Talgam: Lead like the great conductors

    Even the entrepreneurial with absolutely squat for musical ability or knowledge may still glean excellent leadership advice from six amazing conductors. As a conductor and businessman, Itay Talgam intimately understands how the two disciplines overlap, and he shares his observations and lessons here.
  13. Caroline Casey: Looking past limits

    All her life, this speaker and activist yearned for an action-filled adulthood, only to spend her 17th birthday finding out she's legally blind. Her parents, who knew, never provided her with any special assistance, which she considered absolutely refreshing. Current and future business owners might find her philosophy towards roadblocks a great inspiration.
  14. Saul Griffith on everyday inventions

    An idea doesn't have to change the world or completely shift paradigms to be considered awesome and profitable. Sometimes a simple concept making daily chores and phenomena easier, such as the smart rope, is all an entrepreneur really needs.
  15. Robert Neuwirth on our "shadow cities"

    Marginalized peoples, like the billion currently occupying squatter, might very well possess some of the most spontaneous, innovative and inventive minds on the planet. They just need more resources to phase their concepts into reality, which some entrepreneurs might want to invest in. Though, of course, they must avoid exploitation and other inhumane acts.
  16. Dan Cobley: What physics taught me about marketing

    Viewers who love science and business as much as Dan Cobley will undoubtedly appreciate his observations about the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, Newton's Second Law and plenty more. All of these, he argues, hold some surprising marketing and business methods for those knowing where to look.
  17. Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from

    Like the complex "trial and error" patterns mentioned earlier, innovation and inspiration typically involves a slower process than most people assume. Sometimes, ideas that simmer instead of flash fry end up extremely profitable — and occasionally even game-changing.
  18. Frank Gehry asks "Then what?"

    This lauded architect talks career and professional philosophy with Richard Saul Wurman here, emphasizing how failure eventually molded him into the man he is today. Among other valuable lessons, of course, but entrepreneurial individuals should probably pay close attention to that particular nugget.
  19. Jessica Jackley: Poverty, money — and love

    Kiva.org partners philanthropists and lenders with impoverished and marginalized innovators to create some amazing, sustainable business opportunities. Here, one co-founder shares her experiences, philosophies and mindset shifts, hopefully encouraging entrepreneurial students towards social and economic justice.
  20. Alex Steffen sees a sustainable future

    Whether economic, environmental or a combination thereof, sustainability exists as more than just another empty buzzword — it's a business philosophy aimed at creating a healthier, equitable society. The more innovators and inventors apply sustainable initiatives and ideas to their practices, the more consumers will concern themselves with ethics and eco-friendliness in kind.
This article was first posted on BachelorsDegreeOnline.com.

This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.

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