Business Advice, Startup Advice

Four top entrepreneurial TED Talks you might have missed over the past decade

Emma Koehn /

A viral TED presentation can garner millions of views, but across the world each week there are thousands more experts offering their insights on everything from flying cars to sliced bread.

If you’re settling into an end-of-year break but don’t want to put a pause on entrepreneurial thought, the public presentation platform has curated a “deep cuts” list of 12 top talks you might have missed over the past decade.

Here are four top picks for business founders looking to get some broader context on the creation of common products and how consumers act in everyday life.

1. The art and craft of baking bread

Back in 2009, baker Peter Reinhart delivered an ode to bread and its status as a staple product that draws on the most simple of ingredients to succeed.

2. The lost art of letter writing

The fight against large volumes of email is a constant source of pain for entrepreneurs and has been for decades. In this 2008 talk, writer Lakshmi Pratury argues the handwritten word can sit alongside digital communications if people step back to think about the storytelling power of the letter.

3. The birth of the computer

You fire up the laptop every morning, but chances are that when called upon, you’re not able to recite a 300-year history of the humble computer. This 2008 speech from technologist George Dyson gives context on the product development of computers, from their 16th and 17th century origins to the current era of tech.

4. The extraordinary power of ordinary people

The hospitality sector is a complex beast, but have you ever thought about how so many businesses are able to source food to create their products each year? Architect Carolyn Steel uses this 2009 TED presentation to discuss how cities are built to accommodate food production, business and transportation. Check it out to contemplate food facts you may have always taken for granted.

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is SmartCompany's senior journalist.

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