TED, Personal Finance, and a Little Creative Thinking

A couple of my co-workers recently introduced me to TED. Who the heck is Ted?

If you still haven’t heard of TED (“Ideas Worth Spreading”), it’s worth checking out. It’s gained a great deal of popularity, but a quick poll around the office showed that no one really had any idea it existed, so perhaps this will expose at least a few of you to a really neat concept.

What is Ted?

TED, short for Technology, Entertainment, and Design is, at the core, a conference that brings together lots of really cool people to talk about lots of really interesting things.

Started in 1984, TED has expanded through the Internet to offer free videos of many (more than 400) of their presentations.

The coolest thing? All presentations are 18 minutes long – no ifs ands or buts about it.

The TED conference is held annually in Long Beach, CA and attracts so many people it usually sells out a year in advance. 50 fantastic people take turns over four days to speak their mind.

What’s This Have to do with Personal Finance?

Not a whole lot, until you realize that TED’s concept is in that the world’s ideas are intricately interconnected. Plus it makes you think about some very unique, controversial or difficult ideas that you may not otherwise be exposed to.

I would encourage you to check out some of the following videos, which are my favorites:

  • The paradox of choice – Barry Schwartz on why an abundence of choice, a basic founding principle of modern free society, may be too much of a good thing. As you watch this video, just think back to the last time you tried to pick an online brokerage or bank, or when you went shopping for something.
  • Juan Enriquez shared mindboggling science – Juan talks about the economic crisis, the problems with bailouts, and how cell production, tissue production, and robots will change the world forever.
  • Mena Trott on Blogs– The founder of Six Apart (Movable Type, TypePad) talks about the early days of blogging, and the importance of personal blogs.
  • Success is a continuous journey – A short 3-minute clip in which Richard St. John talks about the vicious cycle of success-failure and how to overcome it. A must for all business owners and really, anyone who wants to go places.
  • Don’t eat the marshmallow yet – Personally, one of the things I love talking most about when it comes to money, that is – delayed gratification. Joachim de Posada shares this much talked-about experiment about how delayed gratification can predict future success. Unmissable and the videos of little kids are priceless.
  • Child carseats – If you liked Freakonomics, you will love Steven Levitt’s talk on why the typical carseat in no better at preventing children fatalities than a simple seat belt. Makes you think about everything we buy in a new light.

Image: TED Conferences, LLC