TEDIndia

TEDIndia Session 2: Not Business as Usual

Posted by: Shanna Carpenter

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Dr. R.A Mashelkar at TEDIndia, Session 2, “Not Business as Usual,” November 5, 2009, in Mysore, India. Credit: TED / James Duncan Davidson

A round-up from the second session of the first-ever TEDIndia:

Lakshmi Pratury begins Session 2 by asking, “Why was TED destined to come to India?” She says it’s because 18 is a special number in so many areas of Indian culture, and also the length of a TED Talk. Lakshmi also explains that business is not just a means to make a living, and that this is what the session is all about.

Srivatsa Krishna has spent a lot of time looking at infrastructure. Every day, he says, you and I fight an invisible war to bring ourselves to a reasonable standard of living. India is beginning to make some headway in that war. Home to many thriving technology businesses, Hyderabad keeps growing, Infosys is highly successful and the fastest broadband cable in the world connects Singapore to India and is owned by an Indian company. Huge leaps are also happening in other parts of the world, like Dubai’s huge urban plans, the skywalk above the Grand Canyon, and we may even be able to vacations in outer space soon. You and I comprise the system that we complain about. We can sit by the wayside or make that small change wherever we are working and be a part of a bigger change in the world. Read more about Srivatsa Krishna here >>

Dr. R.A. Mashelkar studied under streetlamps as a child, as his family could not afford electricity. He says that business as usual is about value for money, but we need value for many as well. He delves into the business plan of the Tata Nano and says that innvation, compassion and passion are the key ingredients in Tata. This is a prime example of his motto of “Getting more from less for more,” meaning that it makes a difference not just for a few, but for everyone at a low cost. Mashelkar shows demos of innovations that are changing people’s lives, like new low-cost prosthetics and psoriasis treatments. Mahatma Ghandi said that the earth has enough for every man’s need, but not every man’s greed. Read more about R.A. Mashelkar’s work here >>

Anneke Jong is a 25 year old who has been involved with a non-profit on the side of her full-time job. She explains that she’s part of Generation Y and that companies want their support. Having a comprehensive online presence is a great thing, but we want transparency and problem-solving, Jong says. We want to know exactly where our money is going and we want to solve core problems. Do those two things and we will accept your friend request.

Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos, and although we know them as an online retailer of shoes and clothing, he really aims to create happiness in customers and happiness in employees. He’s talking about happiness as a business model. He underscores passion, quoting Puff Daddy: “Don’t chase the paper, chase the dream.” He highlights the importance of company culture. And as everyone’s ultimate goal is happiness for he spends a little time talking about the science of happiness and different types of happiness. Great businesses combine pleasure, passion and purpose, Hsieh concludes. Visit Zappos here >>

Tom Rielly takes the stage to discuss the TEDFellows Program. TED was mostly North American, wealthy over 40, Reilly explains, and the TED Fellows are the opposite. At TEDIndia, there are 100 Fellows from all around the world. He shows a selection of Fellows form all different fields and has them stand to be acknowledged. Learn more about the TED Fellows here >>

Scott Cook invented a new business for developing world. Farming is the biggest profession in India, and he discovered that farmers did not know how the prices they received for their crops were set. They would bring goods to the market where buyers and agents are, but the farmers lack all price data. They didn’t know where best prices would be offered and didn’t have a basis to negotiate from. Cook’s employees document the prices as they are determined them and text them as report that farmers can receive on their cell phones. This brings farmers together as a force and changes the game. Read more about Intuit here >>

Mohnish Pabrai was the highest bidder competing to have lunch with Warren Buffett. In life, he says, we come naked, we leave naked and we have to figure out what to do in the middle. From Buffett, he learned about how to give his money away gradually, so that he really does live this world with every dollar going to a good place.

Harsha Bhogle says he has the Iatest on the world’s longest running soap opera — cricket. He covers the evolution of the game from timeless test matches to Twenty20 or 20 over cricket. In the past, he says, cricket in India was organized, but now it is promoted. Everyone was aghast when the cheerleaders arrived. The new owners of Indian cricket were people who ran serious companies and loved cricket. It changed the way Indians looked at cricket. They could fly in people from other countries. People in the movies started owning clubs. Song and dance started to appear in Indian cricket matches. Our population, which had always been a problem, suddenly became a big asset. All of a sudden, India was a land of opportunity. Read Harsha Bhogle’s columns here >>

Read more TEDIndia coverage >>