5 Inspiring & Motivational TED Talks

If you’re a startup entrepreneur, a wantrepreneur, or maybe just an ambitious individual with an idea — you’ll want to invest some time into these TED Talks.

1. Seth Godin: How to get your ideas to spread

“Is it remarkable?” This is the question Seth Godin, marketing guru, believes is the essence of successful “idea diffusion” today. Godin uses the example of the invention of sliced bread, which had an underwhelming 10 years of obscurity after its inception before it really caught on. In his TED Talk, Godin reveals his ideas — which have now spread to over 4 million other people (according to the views on his talk). Definitely relevant for any startup entrepreneur.

2. Tom Wujec: Build a tower, build a team

Through an extraordinarily professional and scientific experiment, involving spaghetti and marshmallow towers, Tom Wujec creatively breaks down the one quality every startup entrepreneur needs to have: team leadership. How do CEOs, lawyers, and kindergarteners compare when building the tallest spaghetti and marshmallow tower? I’ll give you a hint: kindergarteners come out on top. Watch this TED Talk to find out what exactly it is that kindergarteners do differently that make their teams more successful.

3. Bill Gross: The single biggest reason why startups succeed

It’s a fact that most startups do end up in failure. And of course, if you have a heart to start a business and take that kind of risk, you don’t want to see it fail. When the odds are against you, you’ll want to prepare everything you can — that’s where this TED Talk comes in. Bill gross, businessman and author, wanted to systematically find out which factor it was that made a business succeed. And the answer surprised him too.

4. Kare Anderson: Be an opportunity maker

This TED Talk is a bit different than the others — it’s more about the motivation and the idea than the business side. Kare Anderson is a business writer and a keynote speaker. Her TED Talk inspires you to take your talents and use them to create something meaningful — both to you and the extended community. If you’re lacking a little confidence, definitely watch this: it makes you believe in yourself.

5. Richard Branson: Life at 30,000 feet

Longer than all the rest of the TED Talks on this list, but perhaps one of the most interesting. This TED Talk is basically about the life, the ups and downs, of Richard Branson, the multi-millionaire behind the Virgin empire. Through his story telling talk, you’ll hear his unexpected motivations and basically his very interesting and exciting life. And truly, he’s an inspiration to all entrepreneurs.


Elizabeth Ching - KahootsHQElizabeth Ching | Guest Writer

Elizabeth is a spirited reader and writer, with an insatiable curiosity for technology and innovation. She enjoys blogging, tweeting, and slowly making her mark in the digital space.

Connecting Through Kahoots – How Two Entrepreneurs Built Their Startup Team

KahootsHQ provides the space to link young talents with relevant people and projects. It’s a platform dedicated to connecting, creating, and growing — and it’s bursting with potential. This is where you find your team members, and the people who are going to bring your idea into fruition.

This is a KahootsHQ success story.


Jon Donais was just finishing up his master’s degree in computer sciences at Windsor University. He had this idea for an app for teachers. He met Samantha Burton, another master’s student in computer science in class, and they joined forces to develop it.

At this point, Jon had made a profile up on KahootsHQ, connected with another member and began working on a project of theirs. Unfortunately, after about a month, things didn’t really take shape and their project wasn’t working out. He was about to take his profile off of KahootsHQ.

Enter Steve Hann — he had an idea, quite different from that of Jon and Samantha’s. His idea was a food delivery app with a unique twist, but he was in search of a developer. He’d tried countless sites but wasn’t clicking with their members. Two months went by with no luck. Then he posted his project, BringMeFood, on KahootsHQ, and quickly found Jon.

BringMeFood, a startup currently undergoing a name change, offers third party delivery services for students at Brock University. The best part about their story? 

Their success came after they built the right like-minded team with KahootsHQ. This is a Kahoots success story. Kahoots provides the space to link young talents with relevant people and projects. It’s a platform dedicated to connecting, creating, and growing — and it’s bursting with potential. This is where you find your team members, and the people who are going to bring your idea into fruition. 

Jon, Samantha, and Steve compared the business models of their two ideas, and decided that at the moment, BringMeFood had the most potential.

The Brock Delivery team taking quick break from strategic planning. (From left, Steve, Samantha, Jon)
The Brock Delivery team taking a quick break from strategic planning. (From left, Steve, Samantha, Jon)

They’re now in the process of incorporating their business, designing a dynamic vesting agreement to split equity, and are going to draft their shareholders agreement next month. What was once an idea is now a reality.

This is a story of waiting, of trial and error, of having to put one’s own idea on hold — but also of finding the right people and team building, of working together, and of ultimate success.

Will your story be next? Stay tuned, Kahooties!


Elizabeth Ching - KahootsHQElizabeth Ching | Guest Writer

Elizabeth is a spirited reader and writer, with an insatiable curiosity for technology and innovation. She enjoys blogging, tweeting, and slowly making her mark in the digital space.

5 Must-Read Books for the Entrepreneur or Wantrepreneur

If you’re starting your own company, you know that there are a ton of risks. You may have an amazing idea, but so do so many other people whose companies haven’t made it. What sets a good idea apart from a great company? How do you do it, and where do you go now that you’ve taken this leap of faith? These books are must-reads for every entrepreneur or future entrepreneur. They will help shape your business plans, ideas, and growth for every stage you encounter.

Book 11. Startup Opportunities: Know When to Quit Your Day Job by Sean Wise and Brad Feld You’ve got an idea, you’ve got a roadmap, and you’ve got the entrepreneurial spirit to create a startup. But there are more than five million entrepreneurs who will launch a new project each year, and only a fraction succeed. How do you know that yours will? Startup Opportunities is a practical book that guides you in evaluating your business plan and calculating your opportunity. Wise and Feld are two experienced entrepreneurs as well as investors, and they have an excess of experience and knowledge for starting a company from both points of view.

Why it’s a must-read: There is no way to guarantee your success in the market, but the knowledge and practical advice given in this book will allow you to definitely increase your chances.

BOOK 2

2. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel Peter Thiel is the co-founder of Paypal and Palantir, with a net-worth of 2.2 billion. In other words, this man is an entrepreneurial genius. Going down the route of a startup includes a great number of risks – especially with establishing yourself in the market. Thiel’s idea of a zero to one company is to create a space in the market – a niche – so that you’ve got a monopoly. Instead of doing something that someone else is doing, which is starting from 1, do something without precedent, starting from 0. Zero to One is all about innovation and creation.

Why it’s a must-read: Thiel’s tone is optimistic, his successes inspiring, and his ideas applicable. This book will make you feel like you can succeed and gives you the recipe for it.

BOOK 3

3. Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull Starting with a dream of creating a computer-animated movie, thus launched the idea of the now giant that is Pixar Animation Studios. Ed Catmull is the co-founder and his book, Creativity Inc. is all about effective management and maintenance of your creativity. The book chronicles Catmull’s years of experience and wisdom told through the history and realization of Pixar.

Why it’s a must-read: Startups are founded on a base of innovation. This book tells you how to manage that innovation and effectively establish a creative organization.

BOOK 44. Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising by Ryan Holiday With the incredible rise of technology, the web, and social media, there are now so many different ways to go about marketing and growing your brand without the traditional expenses. In other words, marketing hacks. Ryan Holiday, a media and business strategist, teaches you how to use media and create campaigns that help promote your brand.

Why it’s a must-read: When you’re starting your own company, you likely don’t have that much money. There are better (read: cheaper) ways to market yourself besides the traditional commercials and billboards. Holiday gives you the knowledge and the know-how to growth hack your way to success.

BOOK 55. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t by James Collins So you’ve established your startup, you’re doing well and turning it into a relatively stable company. Now what? You’re good… but how to you become great? John Collins, a business consultant and lecturer at Stanford, shares the results of research and data from a five-year project, on how and why some companies boom and others plateau. He takes real examples and analyzes them – what did the successful companies do differently? Good to Great gives you the what to do and what not to do from actual companies, so that you may shape a strategy that guides your own.

Why this is a must read: Collins gives you case studies of successes and failures. We all learn from mistakes, but they don’t always have to be our own. Each one of these books was personally suggested by one of the KahootsHQ team members.


Elizabeth Ching - KahootsHQElizabeth Ching | Guest Writer

Elizabeth is a spirited reader and writer, with an insatiable curiosity for technology and innovation. She enjoys blogging, tweeting, and slowly making her mark in the digital space.

Your Northern Entrepreneurs: 10 Canadian Startup Facts

Canada is home to many first-rate entrepreneurial ideas. Poutine, a treasured classic, is a culinary masterpiece of cheese curds, gravy and fries. The snowmobile, snowblower and ice hockey are clearly Canadian inventions born out of necessity. The most recent cult favourite is the Canada Goose jacket which helps you stay warm in below zero temperatures while simultaneously remaining in fashion. These ideas are all uniquely Canadian, but the majority of ideas are not so obviously Canadian. What then makes entrepreneurship in Canada distinctly, well… Canadian?

To help answer this question I am looking at Canadian Entrepreneurship, an article, which lists 10 stats about entrepreneurs in Canada that may help explain our northern entrepreneurial landscape.

1) Every year in Canada, an average of 130,000 new small businesses are created – but only 35% survive five years.

2) Small businesses account for between 60 and 80% of all jobs created in Canada.

3) Ninety-eight percent of Canadian businesses have fewer than 100 employees, 55% have fewer than four, and 75% of all businesses in the country have fewer than 10.

4) On average, small businesses with fewer than 100 employees contribute about 51% to Canada’s GDP.

5) There are over 900,000 female entrepreneurs in Canada, making up a larger share of the self-employed than in any other country.

6) Over 40% of Canadians say that starting a company or being self-employed would be the most rewarding career path for them.

7) Almost 60% of all small business owners in Canada consider themselves “lifestyle entrepreneurs” who use their business as a means of generating income to support other commitments or lifestyle choices.

8) The number of immigrants active in starting or running a company is some 60% higher compared to first- or second-generation Canadians.

9) Canadian small and medium enterprises invest in Research and Development (R&D) proportionally on a greater scale than big corporations.

10) Studies show that entrepreneurs with education in entrepreneurship, or previous entrepreneurship experience, have an 80–90% chance of success with a new business.

So now you have a better understanding of the entrepreneurial landscape in Canada. What does a Canadian entrepreneur look like to you? Because, let’s be honest, when I picture an entrepreneur, I see jeans and a plaid shirt. And if the founder started apologizing, you would definitely know that I was envisioning a Canadian entrepreneur.


AllisonPhoto

Allison Rhodes | Director of Creative Innovation at KahootsHQ

Allison is a graduate of the Entrepreneurship program at Ryerson University, is a Masters of Digital Media candidate and one of the co-founders of KahootsHQ.com.

8 Reasons Why Working at a Startup Rocks

You work at a startup and are constantly telling your friends that you love your job when they come home complaining about theirs. Share this fun list with them to help explain why your job, and working at a startup rocks! We’ve kept the list to short and fun animated gifs, since we know they have no patience after their typical corporate work day.

1) You wear whatever you want.

slob

Unless of course you have a meeting that day. Then you are suddenly unrecognizable like Cinderella going to the ball.

cinderella

2) Late nights, long days and tough investors call for beers at your desk.

Alcohol Would Be Nice

3) You love what you do everyday.

love this job

4) It is your own company, so its successes are your successes.

Self Five

5) You work in an environment of innovation, although sometimes you’re not sure exactly what that means.

innovation

6) You are truly recognized for your successes

succes

but also your failures

MyBad

7) You finally have real responsibility.

I've Got The Power

and lastly,

8) You can be creative.

Creative Genius


AllisonPhoto

Allison Rhodes | Director of Creative Innovation at KahootsHQ

Allison is a graduate of the Entrepreneurship program at Ryerson University, is a Masters of Digital Media candidate and one of the co-founders of KahootsHQ.com.