Last Friday I attended a TEDx event held in Tabernacle House in Notting Hill, London. For those of you not familiar with TED, TED is about riveting talks by remarkable people and all talks are free to the world. TEDx is an independently organised TED event.
How we run business today and in the future is changing. The recession has had a lot of negative effects but the general feeling in the room was that it will give rise to the birth of new ways of doing business and a whole new set of entrepreneurs. I think people now realise you cannot rely on the corporate market for a safe job, there are no safe jobs any more. If you set up your own business you might be out of money some day but you’ll never be out of work!
There were many accomplished and interesting speakers there that day with great tips and inspiring stories, and I would like to share some of them with you.
I thought the following video was very inspirational as it shows you what can be achieved with massive determination and very little resources. Have a look and get inspired today! It’s an amazing story about a man named William Kamkwamba from Africa who decided that he wanted electricity in his home and found a way.
Operating your social business
Daniel Priestly (the organiser) who is an entrepreneur with many businesses talked about how easy and relatively inexpensive it was for new businesses to set up online. He gave examples of building your brand using buildabrand.com, using the power of crowd sourcing to get your web designs completed using 99designs.com, using Facebook and Twitter to promote your business for free, and much more. He talked about the power of social media spreading the word and how small businesses now have the power to go up against the big companies. You don’t need the finance you once required. He also mentioned that Apple, Dell, Microsoft and Virgin were all started by under 25 year olds during a recession!
The Future of Enterprise is Online Networks
One area that was stressed by many presenters was that the future of enterprise was the power of online networks and how organisations are changing as a result of this. Bill Liao discussed how Nintendo were going out of business and decided the best model forward for them was to create peer to peer relationships with their customers and through these relationships online they completely turned around their company. Bill also discussed the importance of trust. Building up trust with your customers online through developing effective meaningful relationships. Also building trust internally with your employees and creating a happy work place which leads to a more productive environment. If you want to read more about trust on the web and the importance of building relationships to be more effective with social media pick up a copy of Trust Agents by Chris Brogan. This is an excellent read and well worth investing in a copy.
Do the Green Thing
Andy Hosbawm, an internet advertising pioneer talked about his company Green Thing. He believes the future of enterprise is green and has set up many initiatives to promote this. One great initiative was related to lost gloves. If you find a lost glove send it in to his office and they will wash it, match it up with another glove (non matching) and sell it on!!! They’ll even put the label ‘left’ on one glove and ‘right’ on another glove so you can tell people that they are actually a pair instead of odd mismatches. Seems a simple initiative but it’s the type of thing that could catch on and a great way of getting the recycling message out there.
Sharing your knowledge
Richard Alderston talked about his move to India to set up UnLtd India to help social entrepreneurs in the worlds fasted growing country. He told us about inspirational stories about people they have helped set up in business including a person with restricted hearing that felt he could help other people with similar issues by setting up a courier company. They now have over 30 people employed and plan on expanding across India.
There were several other really interesting speakers and it really got us thinking about how we can benefit from the changing nature of business but even more important than this how we can give back to the community. The day has really inspired me to do more to help other people that are not as fortunate as us.
To finish off this post have a look at the following video about Jim Rees who shows companies that as long as you put your mind to it goals are achievable no matter how high they are set . Jim competed in a race across America for the last several years. And yes, it was on a push bike!! The race had to be completed in less than 12 days, so on the first day he cycled 500 miles in 36 hours without stopping and each day he only slept about 1 hour a day. I think you’ll agree that he certainly proves his point.
So overall it was a fantastic day, I got to meet lots of interesting people and it made me think am I really putting in that extra effort to make a difference in the world I live in. It also helped validate my view that as an organisation if you don’t sit up and take notice of the massive shift in how customers are engaging, communicating and buying online then you will be left behind. So if you’re not sure whether you should be involved in the social business / social media space at a minimum investigate it. Do you agree?