30 Apr 2013

Five fascinating TED presentations for business people

TED has been sharing ideas worth spreading for more than almost thirty years. Here are five of their best talks for businesspeople. Find out why prisoners have good business skills, how managers impede productivity, and how much cash you lose by passing on the chance to build the world’s first web-browser.

Jeff Smith: Lessons in business … from prison

Two out of three offenders in prisons re-offend. But it’s not because they lack the skills to make it in the business world – it’s that there’s no clear road from one to the other. When academic and former Missouri Senator Jeff Smith was serving a one-year sentence for breaching electoral laws, he found prisoners whose business instincts were as sharp as CEOs. But what was missing were pathways to legitimacy.

Rachel Botsman: The currency of the new economy is trust

Collaborative consumption has changed the way we relate to each other as private individuals, opened up assets like spare rooms and unused skills for profit, and most importantly, given rise to an economy of trust, where your reputation is your capital. And it’s being driven at a frantic pace by mobilisation, social media and peer-to-peer business. In this new economy, what people say about you is at least as important as what you can buy.

Jason Fried: Why work doesn’t happen at work

Jason Fried has been asking people where they go when they really need to get something done for ten years, and there’s one answer he’s never received: the office. While managers think of telecommuting as encouraging distraction, some of the most dangerous distractions – managers and meetings – are located in the office, and they’re unavoidable if that’s where your staff are.

Ray Kurzweil: The accelerating power of technology

Biological and technological advancement are both types of evolution, and they’re both accelerating towards a singularity point. As each advancement builds on the successes of the last, predictable patterns emerge, like Moores Law, the price of a processor or transistor, the speed of DNA processing or the growth of the internet. At this rate, Kurzweil says, we will have reverse-engineered the human brain by 2030.

Ian Ritchie: The day I turned down Tim Berners-Lee

Eminent Scottish scientist and educator Ritche, one of the inventors of hypertext, gives a deep history of the web, stretching back to 1945.  He tells how, as a hypertext pioneer, he made the $700million mistake of passing up the chance to writer the world’s first web browser.