Five Great TED Talks About Business

TED is a nonprofit organization that focuses on spreading powerful ideas from the world’s great thinkers. Many TED conferences feature speakers who offer great insight into the world of business. If you’re seeking a business degree, these “TED Talks” can provide an almost endless source of inspiration. Here are five that no future CEO or ambitious entrepreneur should miss.

1. Chris Anderson on Technology

“Chris Anderson: Technology’s Long Tail” features British-American author and WIRED editor-in-chief Chris Anderson, who explains the four distinct stages that any technology must go through before it is considered applicable. They include setting the right price, gaining viable market share, displacing an older technology and becoming universal. It isn’t one of the more colorful TED talks, but it’s an intellectual powerhouse full of useful advice about recent technology trends and the value and appropriate timing of innovation.

2. Sergey Brin and Larry Page on Google’s Inner Workings

Learning more about the world’s most successful companies gives you a leading edge. If you’re interested in the inner workings of Google, “Sergey Brin and Larry Page: The Genesis of Google” might be your favorite TED talk. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin share fascinating facts about the amazing Google machine, including details about Google’s philanthropic efforts, its dedication to continuing innovation and its philosophy about employee happiness. They even offer tidbits about Google’s international search patterns.

3. Ray Anderson on Sustainability

Watch “Ray Anderson: The Business Logic of Sustainability” to learn how the head of the Flor Carpet company believes that business can lead our society out of its current sustainability mess. Fortune magazine has called Ray Anderson America’s greenest CEO. However, Anderson himself claims that he is a recovering blunderer. Using the green overhaul of his own carpet company as an example, he focuses his talk on viable alternatives to business practices that are endangering the future of the planet and our children.

Related: What Can I Do With an MBA in Sustainability?

4. Malcolm Gladwell Talks About Spaghetti Sauce

In “Malcolm Gladwell: Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce”, Tipping Point author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell explores the philosophy of satisfaction and the manipulation of consumer preferences by the food industry. Gladwell’s story, which revolves around market researcher Howard Moskowitz’s attempt to perfect Campbell’s Prego pasta sauce, offers insight into the process behind product segmenting and how participants behave in market surveys. As the talk progresses, it’s clear that the larger argument is actually about the nature of choice and happiness.

5. Rory Sutherland’s Life Lessons From an Ad Man

“Rory Sutherland: Life Lessons From an Ad Man” is a popular and highly entertaining TED talk featuring the vice chairman of the leading marketing and advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. In the talk, Sutherland asserts that changes in perceived value can produce just as much satisfaction as what consumers consider tangible or real value. The false perception of value and its ability to influence opinions and purchase decisions is a concept all marketers and entrepreneurs should explore. In this funny and deeply insightful TED Talk, you’ll learn how to use it to your advantage.

Attend a TED Talk

If you’d like to attend a TED conference in person or get involved with the organization, learn more by visiting the TED website. If you apply what you’ve learned from great business thinkers all over the world, perhaps one day you’ll be one of TED’s featured speakers.