.@TEDxLBS #intersections: key takeaways from a great event

On Friday, I was at the very well-organised TEDxLondon Business School. Key takeaways and quotes from speakers are below:

Stuart Kirk, Global Editor of the Financial Times Lex column spoke about today’s commenting culture in online news and how that is leading to the ‘loss of mystique, authority and common sense.’ The Huffington Post apparently has 30 full-time comment moderators who work on 100 comments an hour! His viewpoint is that comments, while economically beneficial to publications online (more views, wider audience etc.) aren’t ideal if a media outlet is looking for authority. He quoted Goldman Sachs, McKinsey and Berkshire Hathaway as examples of companies that maintain their aura (lock out comments basically) but I’d argue they are the very epitome of rigid, bureaucratic organisations!

Alice Taylor
Alice Taylor

Alice Taylor was delightful as she regaled us with stories of toys and 3D printing, reminding me I should work on a new look for my Makie. Interesting tidbit: toy stores don’t decide what toys go on their shelves, they operate a lot like real estate agents where manufacturers like Mattel buy up shelf space and decide what toys to put on them, much to the detriment of small independent toymakers.

The internet of meaning
James Monighan

James Monighan, Head of Marketing, Strategy and Product at the Machine-to-Machine division of O2 spoke about thinking of it as an ‘internet of meaning’ instead of ‘internet of things’. Quotable quote: ‘Nest is the supermodel of the tech world.’

Glen Suarez, Deputy CEO of Knight Vinke Asset Management delivered a call to action for all bank shareholders, i.e anyone who has a bank account: we have a responsibility in ensuring our banks remain creditworthy. He spoke about shareholder activism and how journalists don’t really write about the credit of companies from the depositor’s point of view because it isn’t traditionally considered important. Quotable quote, of a bank’s skill levels at shareholder meetings: ‘the executives at the meetings lack the skill and those who have the skill lack the time.’

Shoshana Clark Stewart, CEO of Turquoise Mountain and a student at London Business School got a well-deserved standing ovation for her talk on her work with Turquoise Mountain in Afghanistan, where she lived for 6 years rebuilding the economy through crafts, regenerating society through health clinics and reconstructing destroyed buildings. Genuinely moving and incredibly inspiring.

Gabrielle Adams, an Assistant Professor at LBS, spoke about her work in behavioural economics, specifically how relating cheating to nouns over verbs has a bigger impact in changing behaviour. For example, saying ‘don’t be a cheater’ is more likely to achieve results than ‘don’t cheat’.

Erich Joachimsthaler, Founder and CEO of Vivaldi Partners spoke about how creating brands of substance matters more than creating brands of love (or trying to get customers to love you) in today’s world. Quotable quote: ‘People are tired of talking lizards and babies – that model has run its course’.

Sarah Bishop, another student from LBS, spoke about creating authentic connections in today’s world. How does someone go from an acquaintance to a best friend? Her answer: ‘it’s not about how much time you spend, it’s how you spend your time.’

Mahyad Tousi
Mahyad Tousi

Mahyad Tousi, CEO & Co-Founder of Boomgen Studios spoke about ‘transmedia historytelling’ and how it is important to tell stories about history that make people want to learn about it, using different media.

Orsola de Castro, Creative Director at From Somewhere told the fascinating story of her mission to make sure all the waste apparel from factories is put to good use. Quotable quote: ‘Nothing is created. nothing is destroyed. Everything is transformed.’

Samir Ceric, Founder & CEO of Debut Contemporary spoke about how he escaped a disintegrating Bosnia, landed in the UK and after an incredible journey now works to make independent art discoverable and affordable.

All the other speakers were equally interesting. All in all, a day extremely well-spent and very thought-provoking. Hats off to the organising team.

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