The Best Business Talks of 2019

Every year TEDxUniversityofNevada brings together a truly amazing and inspiring group of people from both within the Reno community and beyond to share big ideas worth spreading. This year’s event was a complete success with 22 talks and performances delivered in front of a sold out audience of more than 1,700. These events are fundamentally special, sparking connections and ideas that reverberate throughout our networks, dinner table conversations, discussions, and meetings for many months and years to come. Because the ideas are so timely, the talks so passionate and focused, it’s really hard NOT to consistently be reminded of their impact, purpose, and wisdom. So, what can we learn from this year’s event?

TEDx 2019 (2)

Now that all of the videos from our 2019 event have been posted, I wanted to take a moment to share a few of the most relevant talks pertaining to business with you! Among this subset of selected talks include thoughts from a board-certified clinical child and adolescent psychologist; a leading talent management expert; the first U.S. employee for Panasonic Energy (a partner in the Tesla Gigafactory); a powerhouse management thinker in the tech industry; a former FBI hostage negotiator; an experimental social psychologist; and an Olympic gold medalist.

If I had to pick an overarching theme tying all of these talks together, it’s that the traditional measures of success, power, and dominance are in the midst of being deeply challenged, debated, and discussed. From this discord, a new definition of success is emerging within our culture, and it looks nothing like the traditional one. 

In watching these talks, you will certainly find yourself questioning what it really means to be popular, whether or not the leaders we’re promoting in our organizations have the required skills to be effective, and whether or not everything we thought we knew about age and innovation was wrong. You’ll leave with a renewed sense of how to spread powerful ideas through a traditional network, why tactical empathy is the key to successful negotiation, and perhaps most importantly, how to spot the difference between BS and lying. Through the final talk in this list, you’ll see how having a long-term orientation (vs. focusing on short-term results) is the key to true wisdom and success.

Below follow a few of my favorite quotes from event, together with their accompanying talks. Do yourself a favor, and make sure to set some time aside to watch these talks this week!


Does our High School Popularity Affect Us Today?

“A lot of people today say that they don’t care about whether they are popular or not. But science tells us that we deeply are concerned at a biological level about what other people think about us.” ~ Mitch Prinstein (@mitchprinstein)

Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?

“There is a pathological mismatch between the attributes that seduce us in a leader and those that are needed to be an effective leader. If we want to improve the performance of our leaders then we should start by focusing on the right traits.” ~ Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic (@drtcp)

Innovation Has No Expiration Date

“What if everything we thought we knew about age and innovation was wrong? And what if I could show you, that not only does innovation have no expiration date, but that it gets better with age?” ~ Mark Andersen (@NevadaIE)

How Power Powers Ideas

“If the people around you don’t support your ideas, maybe even shut them down all together, don’t change who you are, change who you’re with.” ~ Nilofer Merchant (@nilofer)

Never Split the Difference

“We make our decisions based on what we care about, which makes decision-making by definition an emotional process.” ~ Christopher Voss (@VossNegotiation)

BS: Defining, Detecting, Disposing

“Susceptibility to bullshit is best explained by our failure to ask important questions about the content we encounter … we want to believe we know things we don’t, that we’ve made the right decisions.” ~ John Petrocelli (@JohnVPetro)

Why Understanding True Success Means You Cannot Fail

“Society defines success in terms of moments and highlights, but I believe that true success can only be seen in the long view.” ~ David Wise (@mrdavidwise)

To watch all of the other fantastic talks from the 2019 TEDxUniversityofNevada event, please visit the website here. And while you’re at it, please let our speakers know what you thought of their talks by commenting on or liking their videos on Youtube! You can also view all of the photos from this event here.

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