A Few Entertaining And Enlightening Alternatives To TED Talks

TED, a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading information in the form of short and powerful talks, has hosted conferences since 1984, with talks that cover everything from science to business to important global issues.

Thanks to the information age and social media, TED Talks have soared in popularity and some “talks” have gone viral on the web.

But as great as these TED Talks can be, due to their increasing popularity and ubiquity, they have started to become too similar to each other. And not all of them are as enjoyable.

So if you’d like to enjoy discussions that are smart, engaging, and compelling, here are some alternatives to TED Talks.


PechaKucha was founded by a pair of architects from Japan who wanted presentations that were concise, simple and inspiring.

It started as an open event in Tokyo for young designers to meet, network, and share ideas, but it has since expanded to over 900 cities.

Here, the presenters only have a short amount of time to speak, charging them with the difficult task of delivering a message that is both concise and impactful in the limited amount of time that they have, which has some powerful and amazing results.

Big Think

Big Think has talks and videos that are enlightening and entertaining.

Featuring presenters like Bill Nye, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Mary Aiken, and Glenn Cohen, Big Think provides talks on a variety of scientific, social, psychological, and intellectual topics with a big focus on technology.

Talks at Google

Google regularly hosts talks on a variety of topics on its corporate campus, for both employees and guests.

Sometimes the talks are inspirational and informative, and other times the talks are simply working sessions on how to do a better job in the workplace, or how to use a specific kind of tool.

Either way, the talks can be quite interesting and are definitely worth checking out.


PopTech is a global community of experts, entrepreneurs, and “thought leaders” with the goal of sharing information beyond the lines of industry.

It wants to help spur innovation by bringing people with different backgrounds together to share ideas and inspire one another.

Getting people to talk about big ideas is always a great thing, and PopTech has these talks in droves. Talks cover a variety of topics in science, medicine, public policy and education.


The Canadian version of TED, IdeaCity is more informal, and is inspirational and open. It is also broader in terms of topics and ideas that are presented.

IdeaCity is a three-day conference that is a parade of visionary entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists, journalists, social activists and more. Each talk will leave you more intelligent and more enlightened than you were before.


Ignite allows presenters only 20 slides and five minutes of talk, forcing them to condense a big idea into a bite-sized chunk.

Talks must be fun, quick, engaging and memorable in only a couple of minutes, and the results are some really enlightening, entertaining and impressive talks that you won’t see anywhere else.


99U hosts a variety of talks on topics that range from creativity to careers.

They are full of vibrant speakers, including individuals you might not have heard from in traditional conferences (meaning the voices and ideas are fresh and new), and perspectives that are both interesting and insightful.

The Moth

The Moth is less about lectures and more about personal stories that you can learn from, empathize with and rally behind.

The site and its series of talks range from a variety of topics like peace, faith and the worst surprise party ever.

Here, there are few high-minded concepts and no techies peddling stories of controversy or disruption. Instead, real people are telling real stories that we can all relate to in a genuine and understandable way.


One Reply to “A Few Entertaining And Enlightening Alternatives To TED Talks”

  1. There is also a non profit association called WikiStage, that has the same concept. They organize conferences with small talks about different topics, like Creativity, Entrepreneurship, Students Mobility, and more.
    Check it out if you want: http://www.wikistage.org

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