6 TEDxUW Videos you have to watch

by Matt Lawes on 2014-02-20
Only a month to go before TEDxUW 2014! In case you want to know what kind of excellent speeches you can look forward to this year, here are 6 talks from past TEDxUW conferences that you have to see TODAY. These inspirational, eye-opening talks are a great way to give you a motivational boost, and they're a great display of the talented people in the KW region.

Why you will fail to have a great career” — Larry Smith In this incredibly popular TEDx talk, UW professor Larry Smith sets the audience straight about their dreams of a “great career”. Combining humour with harsh truths, this video warns you about the traps your own mind will set to stop you on your quest to success. The standout talk was held in TEDxUW's first conference in 2011, and inspired the next talk about a year afterwards:

Why you have to fail to have a great career” — Michael Litt While Professor Smith's talk was focused on avoiding the causes of failure, this talk is all about embracing it. Local entrepreneur Michael Litt took the stage in the QNC during the 2012 TEDxUW conference to let you know that failure isn't as scary as it's made out to be. Talking about his early years as an entrepreneur and UW student, Litt narrates a disastrous sales pitch he experienced, and tells viewers why sometimes, failure is just the thing you need.
The point where everything falls apart” — Bill Thompson Both of the above videos view failure as a stepping stone, an obstacle which has to be overcome in order to achieve success. Of course, when you're facing failure in the face, sometimes it seems less like a stone and more like a mountain. In entrepreneur Bill Thompson's career as a bartender, he met more than a few people who were down on their luck, who had hit a wall; the goal was within sight, but all of a sudden, they had no idea where they were going. In this tough love speech, Thompson encourages people to push forward, and to realize that giving up is not the answer.

Here's how you get a job at the UN” — Tanya DeMello Want to make a change in the world around you? Then you have to check out Tanya DeMello's TEDxUW talk. As a United Nations field officer, DeMello definitely knew what she was talking about when she gave this speech in 2011, which focuses on the ways you can improve the lives of others. With a title like “Here's how you get a job at the UN”, you might expect a step-by-step instructional on working your way up the corporate ladder until you land a gig with the United Nations. Instead, Demello gives a touching plea to stop focusing on impressive resumes or important references — it's all about caring, and putting in real effort to make the world a better place.

The poetry of physics, dancing and life” — Krister Shalm You probably wouldn't expect a quantum physicist to be discussing poetry and dance moves, but that's exactly what you're going to find in this TEDx talk given by Krister Shalm. This talk encompasses Shalm's transition from an English buff to a physics major, where he points out that maybe the two subjects really aren't so different after all, and they're both important in understanding your place in the universe.

Who can you trust?” — Andrew Maxwell While a lot of business lectures may hinge on products or business models, there's not enough of a focus on the people involved in business themselves. In “Who can you trust?”, entrepreneurial professor Andrew Maxwell tries to change this, by dedicating his speech towards figuring out which kinds of people you can rely on, and how to make others rely on you. Whether you want to know how to make a successful sales pitch or just be able to tell if your friends are trustworthy, there's a lesson to be learned in this TEDx talk. It also features a British accent, Dragon's Den and heavily paraphrased Shakespeare, meaning there's a little something here for everyone.