Posts Tagged ‘TED’

“The danger of a single story.”

This recent thread on Reddit highlights a few noteworthy TED talks. One of the most up-voted replies was the talk “The danger of a single story.” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Adichie makes several great points during this talk, mainly related to her theme that viewing anything from just one perspective can lead to great misunderstandings. I agree with her thoughts and this line in particular stood out to me:

The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.

One of my professors recently remarked that nearly all news outlets today have become “boosters for their own causes”. You could probably extend that to “all people have become boosters for their own causes”. Perhaps it’s impossible to avoid bias, but we are all capable of seeking additional angles. We are capable of understanding a complete story provided that we put forth the energy to seek it out.

Personally, I’ve found the threat of a great misunderstanding frequently extends into personal relationships. Gossip produces unhealthy grapevines. When you hear something through the informal passing of information, the picture is often incomplete. Thus, one of the best filters I’ve discovered for “friends of good” lately is to simply take notice of who has asked for your side of the story in a particular conflict. True friends are often those who will not stand for incomplete information; they recognize the danger of a single story.



07 2014

2014 TEDxWakeForestU

During the past six months one of my primary commitments was helping to produce the TEDxWakeForestU event. On February 22nd, 2014 I had a fun day ensuring all of the speakers’ logistics were taken care of as they shared their new ideas at Wait Chapel on the Wake Forest campus in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

I’m proud of how the talks turned out. We had a great lineup of speakers representing many new ideas from different areas of technology, entertainment, and design. You can watch them here:

Kevin Novak’s talk was selected as a TEDx talk of the week: (Data Scientist from Uber)

Thank you to all who supported this year’s conference!

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04 2014

Believing Why – The Behavior of Inspiring Leaders

Simon Sinek presented his theory on the power behind the greatest leaders in the world, past and present. This brief presentation can literally change the way you look at the highest achievers in the world today.

Essentially the idea is rationalized into three parts. Why, how, and what.

Sinek emphasizes that the most successful leaders and innovators “inspire action” by doing things that make other people believe in what they are doing. His thoughts are focused on the common theme of attracting people to believe in your thoughts and ideals. When you attract people who have a common belief, they begin to join you because they are attracted to why you are doing something, not what you are doing.

The easiest example he demonstrates with this theory is Apple:

Apple believes in making great user experiences. Apple makes great user experiences by building products with exceptional design. The products that they happen to make best are computers.

Towards the end of Sinek’s presentation, he makes note on why it is important to do things on the basis of persuading other people to believe what you believe. He explains the benefits of “starting with why” by showing the Law of Diffusion of Innovation:

First 2.5% of population:  Innovators

Next 13.5%:  Early Adopters

Next 34%:  Early Majority

Next 34%:  Late Majority

Final 16%:  Laggards

The difference between ideas that change the world and ideas that are simple fads is the 15-18% tipping point. After this tipping point, it’s highly likely that the mainstream adoption will occur, and greater than 80% of the mass market will at least accept the idea.

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Watch it in your next twenty minutes free!


04 2011