Why Sachin Mittal Doesn’t Like TED Talks


It’s not that I don’t watch TED talks, or that I don’t enjoy it, but if I were asked to give a TED talk I wouldn’t have done it or if you ask me, if you are too much gaga about TED talks, I wouldn’t approve of it either. Reason? Simple…I am more interested in people going beyond TED and creating their own stories. Going beyond imitation to creating something unique.

TED Talks – For the uninitiated

There might be some reading this who have never seen a TED Talk on YouTube. Well, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design and TED Talks are basically the spin-offs from the annual TED Conference. This conference is attended by some of the most important people in the world who talk about a varied range of topics. The popular TED Talks are 18 minute videos covering talks from the main conference as well as satellite events worldwide on any topic. TED Talks are basically expression of new ideas backed by evidence by extremely knowledgeable and charismatic speakers on topics that are engaging for a broad international audience base. In recent times, TED Talks have become extremely popular on the web and have spread all over the social media like a wild fire.

The Necessity Question

My first area of concern as far as TED Talks go is that is it really necessary? Don’t get me wrong here…it’s not that I don’t get inspired from the TED speakers or that I don’t think these might lead to success. They sure can…but think about it, are they really necessary? Do we really need a TED Talk to tell us what we have to do? TED speakers are usually extremely engaging, inspirational and entertaining, there’s no denying that, but somewhere isn’t all the TED wave pushing many to the wrong direction? I have always felt that the TED talks let people forget their own story and push them towards what the speaker wants them to do.

Convenience Vs. Individuality

My 2nd area of concern is in the convenience Vs. individuality story. For example, in America, the popular franchisees and chain stores all over the continent have made one place look almost like the other. I mean, to me Orlando and Houston looked the same. Again, to clarify, I am a franchisee fan myself and give a lot of importance to the aspect of convenience, being in the e-business spectrum myself, but should we let it take up our individuality in entirety? I do not find that appealing at all. The creator of these stores are undoubtedly very big thinkers who made their ideas turn into big and successful projects but the result of their work has somehow created ‘sameness’, a sameness that we all are buying into. To cut a long story short, TED Talks, according to me, push people towards imitation. They simply help you to become a bigger ‘them’ and never a bigger ‘you’.

The Real Ownership

The mantra for success is simply to ‘own it’, and by that, I do not mean own what I am, as the TED talks go on to say, but more of own who you are inside. TED Talks would say ‘be like me’ but I choose to say ‘You can act like me if you want, but be yourself’.

The reason I say this with all the conviction is because I have been in this place once where people told me what to do and what would work. So I have done my share of following advice, clicking pictures of products the right way, creating marketing collaterals like I have been suggested, adopting selling techniques that they said were the best etc but only to realize at one point that whatever I was doing, wasn’t really me. Now if people tell me to do something their way I would simply ask them to shut up. I am creating my own story, why would I want it to look like someone else’s?

And that was the turning point, that is when success came to me. A business essentially needs an identity of its own and that is only possible when you stop acting like ‘them’ and realize that you need to be ‘you’.

Secret for Success

Simple…figure out your own inner core. Answer yourself questions like who you are and what you really want to do? What really makes you happy and what would you want your story to be? Figuring out your own conditions for success is crucial. For example, in my case, whatever I do, it needs to meet these 4 conditions:

  • It has to give me satisfaction
  • It has to make me money
  • It has to create employment for other people
  • It has to be an enjoyable journey for me

Ultimately whoever we are and whatever direction we go towards, all of us are selling something or the other. And I believe, the real art of selling is all about selling bigger ideas. Bigger stories that connect to the other person in a level deep down inside to get them what they want! That’s the real mantra for success.