TED Talks

“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”

— Simon Sinek

TED Talks are a great way to learn about new ideas and new technologies in short (less than 20 minute) talks by leaders in a field. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Ramesh Raskar: Imaging at a trillion frames per second
    • Ready to have your mind blown? "Ramesh Raskar presents femto-photography, a new type of imaging so fast it visualizes the world one trillion frames per second, so detailed it shows light itself in motion. This technology may someday be used to build cameras that can look 'around' corners or see inside the body without X-rays."  The future is now, and it's being developed at research institutions like MIT.
  • Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action
    • Simon's talk inspired me to buy his book on the same subject, Start with Why. His talk really helps show how when you get people who believe in WHY you do things, they'll work their ass of for you. Rather than starting with What gets done or How it gets done, we need to focus on Why we do things in our daily work life, our personal life, and even how we market ourselves and our products.
  • Ian Dunbar on dog-friendly dog training
    • I love dogs, I'm sure most of you know that. It's why three of them look to us to feed them. Please learn to train your dogs the right way. Focusing on the dog's perspective allows us to build their love and trust. We can't get mad at a dog for doing something that we've trained them to do when they were younger.
  • Dan Ariely asks, Are we in control of our own decisions?
    • I've read Dan Ariely's book Predictably Irrational and this is an extension based on the book. It's amazing to see how often humans make poor decisions in situations where we'd like to think we know what is best for us. He gives several cases for how companies and governments present information to us can change outcomes. For example, the DMV is where we choose whether we are organ donors. In one place, there was an opt-in policy. The customer had to check a box saying they WANTED to be an organ donor. In another location, there was an opt-out policy. The customer had to check saying they DIDN'T want to be an organ donor. The location with the opt-out policy had a large amount of organ donors because the simple act of reading and checking a box can be challenging for us.
  • Dan Pink: The puzzle of motivation
    • I first saw this talk just a few weeks ago while reading Jeff Atwood's book Effective Programming when he talked about motivating employees. It relates to Simon Sinek's talk from above. Money doesn't motivate people for complex tasks.
  • Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity
    • Sir Ken's humorous talk gives the case to increase creativity in schools by actually acknowledging the different types of intelligence. My wife's a teacher and loves this talk. Rather than just to teach towards standardized tests, let us find ways to teach kids art, music, and dance in addition to the 3 Rs.
  • Michael Specter: The danger of science denial
    • "Vaccine-autism claims, "Frankenfood" bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public's growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress."
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