THE INC. LIFE

4 TEDx Talks Southeast Asia Entrepreneurs Should Watch Now

18 minute goodness for your long-ish Pomodoro breaks

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BY Lian Kyla Dyogi - 03 Apr 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

While TED seems to be an established venue in the West for thinkers, artists, creators, and doers alike to come together and, to borrow from their tagline, spread ideas that matter, its independently organized cousin, TEDx, has gained some traction in Southeast Asia. From Cambodia to Malaysia, interesting ideas are being spread in these parts. They might not just get the same top spots on your newsfeeds as TED talks do.

Let’s try to change that.

Here are four TEDx talks from Southeast Asian contexts that are definitely worth watching:

 

1. What Airlines are Hiding From You and Probably Themselves

“Just because it is, doesn’t mean it should be,” said Hugh Jackman in the movie Australia. While not about Australia (nor delivered by Wolverine), this interesting TEDx Kuala Lumpur talk by Alireza Yaghoubi, co-founder and CTO of Singaporean start-up AirGo Design, shares and opens up a discussion on the need for giving passengers of different budgets more comfortable options.

Reasoning that choosing between business and economy class is like asking consumers to choose between two expensive vehicles that they should be able to afford, Yaghoubi says “I’m not sure what the airline industry is trying to do, what kind of business model they have in their head. But whatever it is, it’s definitely not working.

Whether you agree with Yaghoubi’s reasoning or not, it’s a good example of turning to your pain points and coming up with solutions, maybe even a business, to solve a problem.

 

2. Let’s Build More Hackable Cities

Entrepreneurs and their employees in “chaotic cities” are all too familiar with how these environments are a bane for productivity, as explored in this Inc. Southeast Asia article. But is the solution really to create more smart cities like Singapore? Market researcher and analyst Tara Hirebet in this TEDxSingapore talk says not necessarily so.

Presenting an analysis of smart vs. chaotic cities, with more questions and suggestions than definite answers, Hirebet makes a fascinating case about how governments, and citizens, should make better city environments: by looking to the people attracted to these cities in the first place.

 

3. Small is the New Big

Quoting Filipino author Nick Joaquin in his 2012 TEDxXavierSchool talk in Manila, Mark Ruiz, co-founder and managing director of Hapinoy, shares his experience and the thinking behind the social enterprise that aims to connect and empower independent small retail stores and the micro-entrepreneurs who run them.

Ruiz’s talk is a good introduction to the culture of micro-enterprises in the Philippines. A glimpse into the business model behind Hapinoy, Ruiz asserts that the small is indeed the new big. “The small have power when they band together,” says Ruiz.

 

4. Naked Autocrats of the 21st Century

“Steve Jobs might be the hidden rule, rather than the exception,” says author and leadership expert Rajeev Peshawaria in this TEDxKuala Lumpur talk. The talk serves as a call-to-action and not-so-gentle reminder that leadership is all about vision, it’s “harnessing human energy towards the creation of a better future,” says Peshawaria.

Citing historic leaders such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, Peshawaria makes a case for autocratic, top-down, leadership. While not exactly groundbreaking, Peshawaria speaks with so much passion that it’s hard not to walk away from the talk agreeing with him.

These are only a few of the TEDx talks from Southeast Asia. The rest are presented in other languages such as Thai and Taglish (mix of English and Tagalog). It might just be time to learn a new language.