The top 10 TED talks for startups

TED talks – Technology, Entertainment, Design – are a goldmine of knowledge and motivation for startups. Entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs can benefit from the knowledge of the world’s most innovative and influential thought leaders across a huge range of fields. Even better, talks are limited to 18 minutes, so you can easily fit one (or more) into your day. 

It’s an amazing resource – but frankly it can also be a bit overwhelming, with over 1,900 talks available. So we’ve picked out the top TED talks to watch when you’re starting a business, providing concrete tips as well as a dash of inspiration.

When you need help creating a good new habit

Want to learn something new, do something differently, or kick a toxic habit to the curb? Matt Cutts, software engineer and former head of the web spam team at Google, talks about how trying something new for 30 days can have positive impacts beyond what you might expect.

When you need to fit in exercise (and approach things differently)

Nilofer Merchant is a corporate director who discovered that holding ‘walking meetings’, as opposed to sitting in a stuffy boardroom, made a big difference – both to her activity levels and how she and others in the meeting approached a problem. Putting yourself in a different situation can get new ideas flowing as well as helping you look after yourself better. Flexible startups can incorporate quirky ideas like this to work more efficiently.

When you want to avoid the common pitfalls of starting up

Bill Gross, co-founder of Pacific Investment Management, has been there to see the beginning of over 100 businesses. He decided to look back across his experience and pinpoint the factors that the successful startups have in common – and where startups often fall down.

When you want to get better at what you do

Failure is an integral part of being an entrepreneur – if you’re failing, you’re trying and you’re learning. A huge part of this is believing that you can improve, or possessing what leading motivation academic Carol Dweck calls a ‘growth mindset’. In this powerful talk she discusses how since childhood we get into thought patterns that dictate how good we can be at something, and how we can retrain ourselves.

When you need a quick-fix

Success expert Richard St John’s classic TED talk is just three and a half minutes long, but it packs lessons he’s learnt from literally hundreds of experts into just eight secrets for success. Short, sharp, and efficient.

When you’re thinking about marketing strategy

Amazingly, nobody actually bought sliced bread for the first fifteen years of its invention. It took a brand communicating its benefits efficiently to actually turn it into a revolutionary product. Marketing genius Seth Godin talks about how you can get your ideas to spread.

When you’re concerned about patents and legislation

Few things send fear into the heart of startups more than legal matters. If you’re concerned about things such as patents, watch this story of how entrepreneur Drew Curtis dealt with what at first seemed to be a panic-inducing lawsuit.

When you need help pitching your business


You might not yet be at the stage to seek VC funding, but learning how to pitch your business is a skill you’ll need right from the start. Learn how to pitch like a pro with this talk from serial entrepreneur David S. Rose.

When you need new ideas

Everyone gets stuck from time to time – and more heads are better than one. Harvard professor Linda Hill shares the innovative tactics and techniques used by some of the world’s most creative companies, including Pixar, for getting ideas flowing at every level of your business.

When you want to get right back to basics

It can be easy to get caught up in running a startup and lose sight of why you started in the first place: your mission, the thing at the core of your business. Life coach Tony Robbins talks about getting to the bottom of what drives you to start up, so you can understand your business better and stay focussed.


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