In my Staying Creative Over the Summer and How to Escape a Career Rut blog posts, I mentioned how attending a talk is a great way to get inspired, but most of us don’t have up to €500 to spare for an industry talk. Even as I write this I’m crying inside about missing out on the Early Bird tickets to Web Summit that I couldn’t afford. A girl can just dream about Ed Catmull talk, am I right? Thankfully there’s an amazing little corner of the Internet so sate your hunger for inspirational and thought provoking talks - TED! No, not Ted Crilly, TED talks; a whole smorgasbord of Technology, Entertainment and Design focused talks that are a digestible 18 minutes or less in duration.
There are thousands of reasons why you should bookmark TED Talks and regularly browse their extensive catalogue, but here’s just a few reasons to convince you:
1. Short ‘n’ Sweet
The aforementioned 18 minutes or less. But why 18 minutes? Well, I’m glad you asked. This isn’t a random number picked out the air, there’s a well thought out reasoning, as explained by Chris Anderson, TED’s curator:
“It’s 18 minutes is long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention. It turns out that this length also works incredibly well online. It’s the length of a coffee break. So, you watch a great talk, and forward the link to two or three people. It can go viral, very easily. The 18-minute length also works much like the way Twitter forces people to be disciplined in what they write. By forcing speakers who are used to going on for 45 minutes to bring it down to 18, you get them to really think about what they want to say. What is the key point they want to communicate? It has a clarifying effect. It brings discipline.”
Personally, I find this length perfect. I regularly listen to a podcast called Radiolab, which are information packed hour-long journeys through a particular topic. Don’t get me wrong, they’re amazing and ridiculously interesting but I sometimes find that I’m so overloaded with information that I forget stuff mentioned earlier in the podcast.
TED pick only the best speakers who can confidently and expertly talk about a infinite number of topics. Here are some past speakers and their talk:
- Jimmy Carter, ‘Why I believe the mistreatment of women is the number one human rights abuse’
- Bill Gates, ‘The next outbreak? We’re not ready’
- Monica Lewinsky, ‘The price of shame’
- Tim Berners-Lee*, ‘A Magna Carta for the web’
Now, these are only some of the instantly recognisable names I found but there are hundreds of other speakers who are all experts in their field.
* Tim Berners-Lee is Daddy of the Internet, creating the worldwide web in 1990. Take a minute to sit in awe.
3. Many topics, such interest
There’s literally thousands of topics with over 2,000 on the site and hundreds of categories. There’s 45 umbrella topic terms in A-B alone! One feature of TED talks that I really enjoy is how you can sort talks. You can search with categories such as jaw-dropping, fascinating, ingenious and courageous, or subjects ranging from dance and art to neuroscience and robotics. No matter what your interest or specialist subject you're bound to find a dozen talks to inspire you.
Now that you can clearly see that TEDtalks is an amazing corner of the internet, Go and explore!
Every month we'll be doing a TED feature, digging into the archives to find interesting talks that are relevant to your life with Griffith so watch this space!
Written by Ellie Tallon