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Short articles - inspirational videos for your success journey

Every day, it’s becoming more and more clear that we’re living in an innovators’ world – still, as Yves Morieux notes in the TED Talk he delivered in San Francisco, we are slower to integrate new procedures to go with that new world shaped by our pioneers. Instead of resorting to the old systems of management, which bank on the two-pronged hard and soft approach, we should be overhauling them altogether. Listen to what the well-spoken Mr. Morieux proposes below and check back after the jump for more:

Acting as both consultant and director of the Boston Consulting Group’s Institute for Organization, Morieux has been studying what makes companies tick for years and found they’re not keeping accurate time. To prevent them from losing precious ground, manpower and profits, the six rules for greater inter-play which he thinks should replace our current, outdated, pillars of management are as follows:

1. Understand what others do within the company, beyond the surface
2. Reinforce integrators – existing managers – so they have discretionary power to make others cooperate
3. Increase total quantity of power, empowering everybody to use their judgment
4. Extend the shadow of the future, by creating feedback loops that expose people to the consequences of their actions
5. Increase reciprocity, by removing the buffers that make us self-sufficient
6. Reward those who cooperate and blame those who don’t.

If every one of us, as kids, asked about the stars, and the world, and life, and daisies and everything in between – why didn’t we stay curious throughout our adulthood? Did a parent or a teacher put paid to our innate curiosity with a scoffing “Give it a rest already?” Or did society change us bit by bit into a lean mean working machine that doesn’t have questions wired into its programming?


Warren Berger asks a lot of these questions, and trying to come up with more, in his latest book, “A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas.” “What if companies had mission questions rather than mission statements?” he asks, as his wide-eyed pursuit for less superficial sureties takes him down the yellow-brick road to Business Central. Out since the 4th of March, this book should surely make the must-read list of any would-be innovator – of which Berger himself, host of the “Innovators” lecture program at the University of Colorado, is an expert on. But even experts question, themselves, their knowledge, the world around them – stagnating is never an option.

Photo courtesy of © Dan Wallace | Dreamstime Stock Photos

How would you travel across China? By plane or by… uhm, foot? Some people seem to prefer the second option!

This millennium seems to be all about going places by shank’s mare – we’re walking for all sorts of causes nowadays  and walkathons are a sure-fire trick employed by many fundraisers to get more money and more followers. We’re getting our inspiration from movies about walking (The Way Back) or about hitchhiking (Little World. People love a good “walking story”!

Falling squarely within this rising trend is Christoph Rehage, who’s gone and done the seemingly impossible: he’s hoofed it from Beijing to Ürümqi, in China, in just under a year – and he’s documented this cross-country walk in a bestselling travelogue, The Longest Way. Just how long? Check out his video and find out all the mind-blowing details about this hike… which is also, in equal measure, about growing out a beard!

So why did he do it in the first place? While most the interviews he’s given are in German, some insight into his reasons might be distilled from Christoph’s  recount of his day-to-day while on the road: “It was just the way it would be on any normal day. Sometimes you think. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you worry about passports, dangers, pains, relatives and loved ones, and at other times your steps are light and you sing songs in the desert. Sometimes it is boring. And sometimes you feel at peace.” It might have been all about the haphazard moments of peace, about the magical vistas or just about letting his hair down… pun intended!

Forget conquering the skies, forget mapping the Milky Way, the next big challenge for the human race is getting out and walking! It’s no joke, look out your window and all those cars lining your street will surely give you a clearer picture of just how insurmountable this “dare” may turn out to be!

TED Talks became an online presence to reckon with as soon as they began “netcasting” their resulting videos for free, in June 2006. It’s almost 8 years and over 1700 talks later and, thanks to TED, the world has become larger, bursting with ideas from all its four corners, and at the same time, it feels more interconnected, its dreams – more within reach. As part of a new series of inspiring video lists here on VictorStuff, we’ve combed through the business-related TED Talks over the years and chosen the best, most go-getting, inspiring calls to action!
These will help you start what you’ve been considering or finish what you’ve started – or just get you through the day with a smile.

50. Tom Wujec is a Fellow at Autodesk and, in that capacity, has been working with companies to show them the way to a better-operating, tight-knit team. That way is called “business visualization” and Tom’s talk, embedded below, touches on some of the Gordian knots that design and technology can do away with at the office:

49. Nigel Marsh is the author of “Fat, Forty and Fired” and “Overworked and Underlaid,” as well as the Regional Group CEO of Young and Rubicam Brands for Australia & New Zealand. Putting aside the work he does in the high-profile position he occupies, he talks about attaining that precious balance between the office persona and the private sphere we’re all working in the service of. Even though that ultimate goal sometimes slips our mind.

48. Dan Ariely is a behavioral economist who has come upon a few truths about our “irrational” decisions, both in terms of our (impulse) buys and the calls we make in our personal lives. He’s written a bestselling book on the subject, Predictably Irrational, and you can watch him below holding court at TED with a related topic, illustrated by two mind-blowing experiments.

47. Bill Gates needs no introduction. He’s already such a popular figure thanks to his standing in the Forbes lists of billionaires, it’s hard to distance that high-flyer image from the brains that made it all come to be. In this TED Talk, he approaches a few of the head-scratchers that still have us all baffled and introduces us at the same time to a novel type of innovation-driven philantropy.

46. Seth Godin is a marketing guru who’s discovered that the old way of doing business is best left aside, in favor of marketing to those possessed of what he calls “otaku.” He means the hardcore fanbase of an idea, and he’s bent on opening companies’ eyes to the great marketing potential of switching from kowtowing to the masses to targeting the right, i.e. already obsessed, consumers.

45. Amanda Palmer has come into a lot of heat over the way she spent the money earned through crowdfunding – but the feminine icon’s overcome the haters and is now closer to her fans than ever. She was among the first artists to go over the head of agents, labels etc. and, instead, reach out directly to her fans through Kickstarter. This talk addresses that cultural shift she helped launch and the benefits of quashing the old business models in the music industry.

44. Richard St. John wrote a book on success and cut it all down to a 3-minute expose on the most brilliant and triumphant pioneers of our age. In this short speech, he reveals the results of 500 interviews he’s conducted with successful people. It reads as a who’s who of very quotable bright ideas, issued by the people who’ve come up in the world, from rags to riches, as it were.

43. Dan Pink, a career analyst and former speechwriter for none other than Al Gore, aims to make a case for overhauling the way companies are run. He’s bringing the relevant evidence to the table, by way of experiments conducted objectively, and will prove that the creativity needed for the very survival of capitalism isn’t achieved, rather it’s constrained, by the old rewards-based business model.

42. Simon Sinek is the author of “Leaders Eat Last” and as well-informed an expert you might imagine from that title. An adjunct of the RAND Corporation, he’s also a university professor and a pretty enthralling public speaker – below you’ll find him outlining the patterns of leadership he’s observed by studying businesspeople in top management positions over the years.

41. Susan Cain is rooting for the underdog in her book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” meaning anyone who’s less valued in our current culture for being an introvert. She takes the TED stage to explore what introverts have brought to the world, despite being sidelined by it every step of the way – maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t put that much store by someone’s words just because they’re shouting the loudest.

40. Andrew McAffee enunciates one of the hardest pills 21st century people have had to swallow – the same way industrialization required independent producers to rethink their profession and go into mass production, so too nowadays computerization may threaten the livelihoods of many. Despite that, the research scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management singles out a sunny path for the workforce of tomorrow.

39. Noreena Hertz is a well-known and well-respected economist who has blazed a trail for the AIDS-relief project (RED) as well as actually predicting the financial meltdown that took us all by storm in 2008. Below, you can hear her explain why the overreliance on experts, in any field, can lead to our undoing and why the insight of the ground-floor worker-bee should be equally, if not more, valued.

38. Chade-Meng Tan has been at Google for donkey’s years – and now he’s uniquely-placed to heap praise on the company that many hail as both forward-thinking and staff-oriented. As Google’s “Jolly Good Fellow” (aka, their head of Personal Growth) reports, among other things, the company’s search service has inspired him to work on creating a tech-based way to bring about world peace.

37. Paul Collier delivered his TED Talk below back in 2008, but the points he made are just as salient in today’s global economy – as we’ve seen at Davos this year, poverty is very much a thorn in the side of many developed countries and no amount of closed-door conferencing seems to make a dent in it. Like Collier’s book of the same name, “The Bottom Billion,” this powerful speech outlines how this financial gap can be done away with.

36. Roger Stein drew a parallel between the models used in finance to predict risks, and nip them in the bud, and those used in pharmaceuticals, for funding drug research. He found the latter one lacking and that was all the more frustrating as his father was diagnosed with cancer. A researcher originally, now chief analytics officer at State Street Global Exchange, Stein explains how the bold new financial model he proposes can pair large amounts of money with the drug research that badly needs it.

35. Gary Vaynerchuk is the kind of guy who won’t take “I can’t” for an answer. A successful entrepreneur, Vaynerchuck also acts as a consultant for other start-up founders who might lack the self-confidence to solider on. His dynamic (some would say hyper) talk touches on social media in particular and the Internet in general to inject a strong adrenaline shot into the hearts of the meek.

34. Pankaj Ghemawat, an economist and researcher on all things related to globalization, brought a bunch of data and a rude awakening to those gathered at TEDGlobal 2012. Contrary to popular belief, the connectivity and market benefits of the computer age, touted by everyone (in the developed world), aren’t nearly as prevalent as we might think.

33. Ray Anderson isn’t quoting data, he is, by his own admission, a “carpet guy,” and the head of the Flor company who sells carpeting. He lives (or rather lived, as he passed in 2011) in the real world and, being so grounded in it, he’s well-placed to understand its woes – it’s why he’s developed a way to make his business sustainable and keep his “promise to eliminate any negative impact our company may have on the environment by the year 2020.” Hopefully, his successors will continue living by these words. RIP.

32. Howard Rheingold is one of the greatest creative minds of our age, who prophesized the ever-tightening bonds the Internet would eventually engender and is now actively supporting community building online. Drawing inferences from fields far and wide, he connects anthropology, economics, even biology to explain why the evolutionary rung we’ve just stepped onto is indicative of a new reality: sharing (or open source) isn’t caring as much as it’s good business.

31. David S. Rose gives us a straight-up 10-item list of things an entrepreneur needs to check off when pitching to a venture capitalist. A VC himself, he knows the ins and outs of the business of proposing ideas and expecting a big payoff – inasmuch as being persuasive is inextricably connected to personal growth, this here talk is pure gold!

30. Lisa Gansky has authored a book called “The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing,” which she delves into, in just about a quarter of an hour, below. She is an entrepreneur with a vision – or maybe even some kind of prescience – who’s looked at the lay of the land and concluded that the future of business will bank less on establishing ownership of goods and more on gaining access to them.

29. Alex Tabarrok is an economist seeing our present times through rose-tinted glasses – and we tend to agree with him when we hear him lay out the coordinates of the inter-connected, open-minded world we live in. He – along with fellow blogger Tyler Cowen – is the mind behind marginalrevolution.com, one of the most popular economic blogs out there and his claim to fame is borne out by this illuminating talk:

28. Robert Newirth is a researcher of the informal economy known as “System D” (from the French “debrouillard,” which roughly translates to resourceful, ingenious). He spent four years investigating every nook and cranny of this black market and written a book about his findings, “Stealth of Nations.” This eye-opening talk below is all the more enthralling as the figures relating to System D alone are a tell-tale sign of the unstoppable rise of an alternative to on-the-books employment.

27. Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com and, back in 2003 at the time of this speech, he was gauging the Internet by employing a revelatory parallel with the God Rush and the advent of electricity. His conclusions are for you to discover below, suffice it to say that, by his account, the web was primitive 11 years ago. With Amazon’s “drone delivery” now ready to be unrolled, we wonder if Bezos would now rethink his assessment to reflect we’ve passed the net-anderthal stage.

26. Baba Shiv is a neuroeconomist whose main area of expertise is human decision-making, as well as how that bears on marketing practices. He speaks about how helping his wife through a harrowing fight with cancer has led him to surmise that constant decision-making is the hardest part of being in a touch-and-go situation and calls of that magnitude are best left to someone else (preferably, an expert).

The folks over at Patreon, You-Tubers extraordinaire, have made another smashing hit of a video, this time by tapping into the new viral craze that’s sweeping the Internet right now. Remember the famous helmet-camera footage of the infamous dive off the 1 World Trade Center that went off without a hitch (except for the authorities’ overreaction in the aftermath)? Well, now cameras of all types, and GoPros in particular, are being mounted on body parts all across the world and resulting materials – uploaded online like there’s no tomorrow!

This video below will show you that Warner Bros. Pictures and Zack Snyder have nothing on Average Joe’s resourcefulness. Like us to see the world through Superman’s eyes, thanks to a GoPro camera mounted on the hero’s head! It’s the type of eye-opening upgrade that should be featured in Man of Steel 2, wouldn’t you agree?

Watch out, entrepreneurs! There’s a new incubator in town, and it’s based… behind bars! At San Quentin’s prison, the inmates are being encouraged to go into business by consultants who hark from the cream of the Internet crop: LinkedIn, Quora and other Internet giants. The Last Mile program was first introduced in 2011 and unrolled over a six-month period in the slammer – at the end of which, on “demo day,” the enrollees got to pitch their idea to the big-leaguers they’re hoping to one day become.

By all accounts, working towards setting up a start-up makes more sense than earning a degree or turning your hand at whatever menial jobs inmates can do day in, day out, in the hopes of using that skill once on the outside. That’s because pitching a start-up is all about the – ehem – killer idea, not the criminal record of the person behind it. In the age bursting at the seams with information, the Internet’s actually serving as a different kind of sponge too, the wiping-your-slate-clean kind!

Photo courtesy of ©  | Dreamstime Stock Photos

“The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool,” Stephen King once said, and it should be enough to put you on your guard when it comes to creating a team for any venture, business or otherwise. That’s not to say that trusting someone else to jump on your bandwagon and steer it the way you intend it to go is wrong – it’s just that weeding out the “liar” is not everyone’s forte. That’s where psychology and body language experts come in, with yardsticks and indicators to help you peek behind the prettified screen most people hide behind.

David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, has devoted the better part os his career to finding the best ways of flushing out untrustworthy people. Here’s a video of him explaining the dos and don’ts of trusting, so, if you think you’ll ever find yourself on the horns of a should-or-shouldn’t-trust dilemma, bookmark this for future reference:

Essentially, Mr. DeSteno is drawing up a four-step guideline for deciding who is only tooting their own horn without anything to back it up and who’s really deserving of your trust. Just remember the points he’s made and choosing your next team member or business partner should be a breeze:

1. Integrity can vary

2. Power does corrupt

3. Confidence masks incompetence

4. You can trust your gut

Photo courtesy of norynn

We’re so used to hearing about globalization and the Internet’s big pool of togetherness we’re all splashing about in on a daily basis – so much so that we tend to forget not everyone in the world is so closely connected. In fact, one third of earthlings don’t have access to the so-called “world-wide” web (acc. to a report by the ITU). That’s why, in an effort to better spread the wealth of information, the biggest movers and shakers are now thinking up ways of building a sort of Net dome over the world that would link us all up, circumventing all obstacles, including landscape-related ones that have stumped Internet providers so far.

If Larry Page has any say in it, everyone will be served up a slice of the Internet pie through the introduction of… balloons – they’d be shot into the stratosphere and left there to waft in the wind, all the while Internet would be beamed down to the Net-deprived people walking the earth below. [Check out Page’s full exposition on this unconventional idea that we’ve already covered HERE]

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg though, has another type of machinery in mind when it comes to empowering the world with all-you-can-click Internet. He just announced yesterday that he’d be setting up a lab, and equipping it with 50-odd aeronautics experts, in the service of developing drones that dole out wi-fi from above. The newcomers to the Facebook HQ will be working tirelessly to find the best MO for putting up drones or other “connectivity aircraft” – all of which ties in nicely with FB’s Internet.org project.

The premise of “Startup Spotlight” : a show launched by Entrepreneur with a view to picking the brains of up-and-coming business owners for everyone’s benefit. The four musketeers in question haven’t actually gotten “there,” at the billion-dollar mark, yet, but they’re made it farther than most of us: from brainstorming get-rich-quick schemes to founding a company that meets a need or plugs a hole in the market.

Let’s see what Adam Braun (Pencils of Promise), Kim Kaupe (ZinePak), Nikhil Arora (Back to the Roots) and Walter Driver (Scopely) had to say about their road so far:

The wisdom to derive from all this can be summed up as follows:

1. Find one thing that you tremendously believe in and get out of your comfort zone!

2. Being scared or anxious is a necessity for constant innovation and sustained motivation

3. College is only useful as a hotbed of ideas

4. Writing stories can provide a solid foundation for being an entrepreneur – building a character compares to building a product/service.

5. At some level, an entrepreneur is the product of both nature and early experiences making him/her feel uncomfortable and come alive in the uncertainty of entrepreneurship

Did you know that car accidents kill more young Americans (under the age of 34) than anything else? Larry Page is well-aware, and it’s a pandemic he’s aiming to quash by introducing self-driving Google-automated cars. As we previously reported, the CEO of Google spoke at TED’s yearly event last week, and now we’ve got the full video of his 20-odd minute talk to bring in as evidence of the over-the-topness of some Google projects that, if we’re to take Mr. Page’s word for it, are now in the works. From the benefits of using balloons, over satellites, to beam Wi-Fi world-wide, to getting users to volunteer even more personal data that will boost medical research, and so much more. Watch it below and check back after the jump:

Does all this seem not only far-fetched, but also scatter-brained? According to this recent article from MIT’s Technology Review, that’s because the brains at Google are actually scattered! Quoted in the article, Google’s head honcho of research Alfred Spector explains the lack of a traditional lab-like work space thus: “There doesn’t need to be a protective shell around our researchers where they think great thoughts… It’s a collaborative activity across the organization; talent is distributed everywhere.” Is having no actual research HQ and banking on employees’ brainstorming prowess just setting Google up for endless rounds of spitballing ludicrous ideas? However shaky a business model this might seem, the fact is it’s worked for Google so far – if it’s not broken, why fix it?

I realize Mr. Obama’s probably up to his elbows in geopolitical crises, but I reckon he could take the time – over breakfast, for instance – to sign a scrap of amnesty for Edward Snowden. For one, The NSA leaker is back in the headlines this week, after appearing, without prior warning and via satellite, at TED on Tuesday. He spoke to a hall chock-full of techies, youths, and innovators, i.e. fans of him and other daredevils like him, and he was called a “hero” by the forefather of all netizens, Tim Berners-Lee. If our political heads don’t join in with the right response to all this pressure building up in his name, they might soon realize that there’s nothing “virtual” about the power of all of us combined.

Look on to see how the PRISM story continues, and rightfully so, then tell us what you make of what we think is Snowden’s most salient point. Namely, that the big Internet companies robbed of metadata by the NSA should make a point of standing up to these so-called analysts who effectively (ab)use them and the services they provide as a means to an end. The transparency we used to perceive as one of the greatest assets of the inter-webs is a thing of the past – and it’s sad that the powers that be put an end to our feeling secure in our browsing. But the time for sticking our heads in the sand is gone, and counter-action must be taken by the companies who were breached or browbeaten into cooperating to the toxicity now invading the Internet.

What do you think, should the CEOs of Google, Amazon and the like take immediate steps to “enable [...] web encryption on every page that you visit?”

This brave new world we’re living in may be defined by endemic financial woes and crippling youth unemployment – but it’s also against this background that entrepreneurs are moving away from the profiteering pigeonhole. Is the current state of affairs the perfect breeding ground for growing a conscience? If so, maybe we can turn “dire” into “dare” and yank the keys to the kingdom away from the talkers, to let the doers have a spin in the driver’s seat for a change!

In case the BIG news hasn’t blown you away, here’s the best stat of the year yet: people’s confidence in businesses has reached an irrefutable high, while the trust we afford our politicians is dwindling in step with the worsening times. The data comes via the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer, which has been putting out its findings on a yearly basis ever since 2001 – now it’s found that never has Average Joe’s opinion of the business sector been so manifestly pro, with respondents in the study asserting their belief in the dual self-centered-cum-altruistic “schizophrenia” of business.

Nobel Prize winner and coiner of the microloan Muhammad Yunus christened this shift from purely materialistic goals to more people-oriented, socially-responsible business plans – he terms it “social business” and here’s what he had to say about it at Davos earlier this year:


That being said, the business trend toward effecting social change right now is two-fold: not only are bit businesses acting more responsibly, startups too are striving to make a difference. Even with the need for money looming ever larger, the place we are in now is conducive to mindsets that prioritize doing good turns over lining one’s own pockets. For an inspiring story of how a former cog in the machine can brave hell and high waters in order to build something that matters AND turns a profit, hit play below:


Roselinde Torres has made a career out of consulting, by her own account, numerous CEOs, which has placed her in the unique position of using what data she’s garnered over the years to understand the true meaning of leadership in the 21st century. It’s not, as you can see above, as easy as following the steps laid out by leadership programs, business courses or even emulating your greatest idol.  Roselinde spells out the ways in which wannabe leaders should rewire their brains by putting just three questions to themselves.

So, for any of you would-be torchbearer watching the clip – the new world order dictates that leaders not dig in their heels in the face of adversity, they should instead think on their feet and make whatever U-turn their good sense, or their sixth sense, dictates. Consider these findings she’s zoomed through in her talk and commit them to memory before (beelining to your board and) making a play for the top-dog position:

“Great leaders [...] see around corners, shaping their future, not just reacting to it.”

“Great leaders understand that having a more diverse network is a source [...] of solutions.”

“Great leaders dare to be different – they don’t just talk about risk-taking, they actually do it.”

We’ve touched on spoken word-driven inspiration here in the past – and it’s high time we injected some more insightful and rousing rhymes into our fuel tank! Why now? Because, while the sun’s finally shining outside after one of the worst winters in recent memory, most youths are indoors, hunched over their textbooks right now – the coming of spring is poisoned for them, as the season of the infamous standardized tests is rolling out in schools all around the US (and the world). 

A recent article in the Washington Post pointed out 13 ways in which these types of tests – namely, the type that doesn’t take into account students’ unique set of genes, skills, interests, or the scientifically-proven fact that some people just don’t test well! – cripple the next generation they’re supposedly trying to educate. Testing doesn’t further education, what it does is promote pigeonholing, increase stress levels, snuff out dreams and even (irreparably) damage the susceptible kid’s self-esteem.

Suli Breaks says it better, as he speaks directly to students who find themselves cornered by the educational system and systemized grown-ups who’ve given up on their aspirations instead of putting up a fight against other people’s “pie-in-the-sky” definition thereof.

In 1989, the revolution wave hit Europe to liberating effect, while America was sinking its teeth into a revolutionary idea – the Internet was just a twinkle in its father eye on March 12th, but Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s wide-eyed web proposal would soon grow into the worldwide phenomenon we now rely on so heavily. Some of us work online, most of us shop online, while a few even live here, glued to our many screens 24/7. How far is too far? The Internet’s reach is always expanding and shows no signs of stopping, least of all not in order to ask or answer these types of questions.

But there are detractors who readily indulge in nettling us net lovers with all sorts of conundrums and looming apocalyptic scenarios arising, assumedly, from our ever-growing (over-)reliance on the web. Launching swipes from his typewriter (or, dare we even, his computer?) or from more and more lecterns that are opening up to his ideas, here’s a man attacking Silicon Valley in particular and the net-crazed Capitol Hillers of the world, in general. He’s Evgeny Morozov. Watch this video of him giving a talk earlier this year where he takes issue with the developed world’s habit of turning to technology for solutions:

Named by no less a mag than The New York Times “the most prominent, most multiplatformed critic of the utopian promises coming from Silicon Valley,” Morozov might sound like a quack to those of us who can’t wait for the newest gadget, the coolest app and even the BAFTA Games winners – but, maybe, just maybe, his nagging cries for a world where we don’t outsource all our problems to technology hold some water. I mean, when thinking just in terms of apps, do people really need, say, an online make-up service to communicate better?

What do you think? Is there any reason to keep the Internet’s unfettered freedom in check as it enters its late twenties? And even there is, can it even be done?


Equal distribution is a concept His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is very fond of, as he’s recently explained in an interview for HuffPost...