Inkvine’s Favourite TED Talks

TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short talks. TED began as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged (thus the name, TED). Today however, a TED Talk could be about absolutely anything. The main TED takes place in California but independent groups called TEDx bring the event worldwide. 

At Inkvine, we love a good TED talk. We asked some friends of Inkvine to share their favourites. This includes Marketing Week Columnist Colin Lewis, Chief Economics Writer at The Currency Stephen Kinsella, a number of CEOs of fast-scaling tech firms and members of the Inkvine team.

We’ve provided links to all videos below along with a quick summary of why they chose it. If you’re ever in need of some inspiration or are stuck for something to watch, the below suggestions are a great place to start. Enjoy!

P.S. This list will be added to over time as we ask new friends to share their favourites. We encourage everyone to check back in when you need a pick me up.

Claire McHugh, CEO and Co-Founder of Axonista

The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown | TEDxHouston

Axonista is a video commerce technology company powering interactive video shopping experiences for global enterprises including QVC, HSN, WaterBear and Oxfam. Axonista’s technology is the engine behind some of the world’s most popular video streaming apps, used by hundreds of thousands of people every day around the world. Claire recommended a talk by Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston who studies human connection. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity,

Chris Byrne, CEO of Sensorpro

What makes a good life? | Robert Waldinger 

Chris Byrne is CEO of Sensorpro, an EU-made email marketing firm. Chris recommended this talk from Robert Waldinger. Robert Waldinger is a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and Zen priest. He is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and directs the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the longest-running studies of adult life ever done. The study tracked the lives of two groups of men for over 75 years, and it now follows their Baby Boomer children to understand how childhood experience reaches across decades to affect health and wellbeing in middle age. Here he shares his insight on what makes a good life. 

Stephen Kinsella, Associate Professor of Economics at University of Limerick and Chief Economics Writer at The Currency.

The mind behind Linux | Linus Torvalds

My favourite TED talk isn’t really a TED talk. It is an interview at TED with Linus Torvalds, the inventor of both Linux and Git. Linux evolved from his master’s dissertation and has changed the world. Git has improved the quality of software everywhere. In terms of people who have a claim to being the most influential person almost no one has heard of, Torvalds is up there. He is interviewed by TED curator Chris Anderson, and his achievements are explained using his own family and life. Torvalds is not easily characterised. He comes across as complicated, difficult, arrogant, and simple, easy, and humble. He is changing the world by solving problems for himself at a very deep level. He is also self-reflective enough to know he is not the easiest person to be around, even though he might be one of the most interesting.

Ian Ross, Creative Director at Inkvine

Why you should make useless things | Simone Giertz 

Simone Giertz is an amazing inventor who is known for designing and building completely crazy robotic tools to do stupid things, for no reason other than for the laugh. It is brilliant in its own weird way and shows you how to learn about robotics and build stuff. She became a viral star for her silly machines and has gone onto do some cool stuff on YouTube etc. Giertz has also just gone through a huge personal crisis after discovering she had a brain tumour, which she has reported and shown with humour on her YouTube channel. An interesting and sideways look on design and how to learn and a great watch for all the family.

Emily Ross, CEO and Founder of Inkvine

The art of being yourself’ | Caroline McHugh 

Good for: Confidence, Authenticity, Speaking in Public. 

This is quite a hidden gem of a TEDx talk from an author by the name of Caroline McHugh, where she talks about self awareness, ego and authenticity. She looks like a Bene Gesserit witch and sounds like Scottish mist. I have come back to this video time and time again and I often share it with people who ask me for advice about speaking with confidence. The secret is to just be yourself, which as this talk explains, can be harder than it sounds. It’s such a thoughtful, considered and gentle talk, full of brilliant wit and humour. It’s both humble and wonderful in equal measure. She’s a superb storyteller.

The art of asking | Amanda Palmer

Good for: Crowdfunding, Community Building, Fan Engagement. 

Amanda Palmer is a Marmite person. Whatever you think of her music, feminism or politics (all three are raw, hairy and unapologetic) this one TED talk is an essential viewing for anyone who has ever wanted to understand community building or crowdfunding. Her record label dropped her for poor sales. She then crowdfunded her next record, free of commercial control, after raising the most money any band had ever raised from her fans. Her Kickstarter sought $100,000, but ended up earning just under $1.2 million. Her book of the same name is also brilliant. Her Patreon community is a masterclass in authentic fan engagement. 

Stephen Walsh, CEO and Founder of Keeper Solutions

Welcome to the new internet | Muneeb Ali | TEDxNewYork

One of my favourite TED moments comes from Muneeb Ali, Co-Founder of Blockstack talking about his vision of a new internet. I like his vision and the fact that he went out there and put the infrastructure in place for DAPP developers to make it happen.

Colin Lewis, Award-Winning Marketer and Marketing Week Columnist

Is the world getting better or worse? A look at the numbers | Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker, a Harvard and MIT professor, has written some incredible books: ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature’, ‘Enlightenment Now’, ‘The Language Instinct’, ‘How the Mind Works’, ‘The Blank Slate’. Pinker writes about progress — why people are healthier, richer, safer, happier and better educated than ever in his books, Enlightenment Now and Better Angels of our Nature. He gives page after page of detailed technical data about the world is actually better than it has ever been. Across every measure – murder, war, poverty, pollution and more, better than 30 years ago. Compared to 100 years ago, the average person with a mobile phone is better off in almost every single respect than the Kings, Queens and Emperors of 100 years ago. Indeed, the average person has more knowledge and expertise in their hand than the most powerful CEO did 30 years ago. 

The key to transforming yourself | Robert Greene | TEDxBrixton

Robert Greene is the author of numerous best selling books. His books are incredibly well researched, very dense. His TEDx talk is about the fact that we humans tend to fixate on what we can see with our eyes. When we look at the changes and transformations in other people’s lives, we see good luck. We see the book or the project that brings the money and the attention. But this is like trying to grasp an illusion. What allowed these changes to happen are what occurred on the inside of a person and are completely invisible. The slow accumulation of knowledge and skills, the incremental improvements in work habits and the ability to withstand criticism. Any change in people’s fortune is merely the visible manifestation of all of that deep preparation over time.

Ruth Burnside, Head of Public Relations at Inkvine

My Lucky Fin | Ellen Keane | TEDxGriffithCollege

There are so many TED Talks that often find it hard to cut through the noise. The ones that have stuck with me are either those that were recommended by a friend, or those given by people that I’ve seen speak in person and then found out that they also gave a TED Talk. The talk I was thinking about the most recently is one given in 2017 by Ellen Keane, who won gold in the Paralympics just a few months ago. I was thrilled to line out with my family in Clontarf when Ellen returned from the Paralympics and did her drive-by parade. I heard Ellen speak at a Google Compass Leadership event in 2019. Her courage and determination to be who she is and to achieve her own goals is incredible. She has shown what is possible and is a super role model for all children in Ireland, or indeed grown ups!

Speak like a leader | Simon Lancaster | TEDxVerona

A second talk that stayed with me is one that’s directly relevant to my work. Simon Lancaster talk was recommended by my sister after she participated in a course led by Simon. It’s about how to communicate effectively, with practical tips. It’s delivered in a highly engaging and memorable manner – as you’d expect from an expert! I think it’s wonderful that we can access so many experts and stories online but for me, it’s impossible to replace the powerful connection that you make when you’re in the same room as the person or watching them live. It’s over 25 years ago now but I still remember clearly the emotion and positivity I felt watching President Clinton on TV as he addressed crowds in Belfast city centre in 1995 to talk about the continuing peace process.There was a sense of hope, uplift and commitment from his words and presence.

Ben Dillon, Head of Content at Inkvine

How to sound smart in your TEDx Talk | Will Stephen | TEDxNewYork

In pretty much all things, humour is the genre I tend to gravitate towards. My favourite books, movies, TV shows, plays, essays are all steeped in humour. Rather sadly, TED talks are no exception. I love this snappy TEDx Talk from Will Stephen. Anyone who can go on stage, say absolutely nothing and still enchant their audience is a winner in my books!

Inside the mind of a master procrastinator | Tim Urban

Tim Urban’s talk on procrastination is the most watched TED Talk of all time. It’s funny, relatable and oddly profound. 

This talk was also recommended by Ian Ross of Inkvine who said – “This is incredibly funny. And, as someone who works best under pressure, it is also very true.”