TedxWallStreet: My Notes

Today I had the priveledge of attending TedxWallStreet. The speakers varied from good to great, but there was definitely some value there. So on that idea, today I decided to share my notes with all my readers, so although you could not attend Tedx, you will get the gist of it! (forgive spelling and grammatical errors – I took these on the fly).

Funniest event of the day: someone a row up from me asked to stop typing, apparently it was distracting? My response: are you serious?

Don Tapscott

@dtapscott – dontapscott.com

  • fundamental problems will wall street at the center of it
  • is the operating model of WS viable long term? Rebuild WS around 3 principles:
    • Integrity – honesty, consideration, accountability
      • Wall street is mainly full of good people with strong values – but it needs to be built into the companies DNA (Royal Caribbean engineers found a way to bypass the controls at the front lines with sewage control)
  • Collaboration
    • Rapid changes in how we orchestrate change and innovation
      • Goldcorp gold challenge – review the geological data and offer a prize for anyone who can ‘find the gold’
  • Transparency
    • UAW biggest strike in 1947 – it was about a demand for transparency (“you don’t have money to give us a raise? Open the books and show us”)
    • Corporations will be naked – you can’t hide anymore
    • Five classes of stakeholders in bringing sunlight to wall street
      • Shareholders
      • Employees
      • Society
      • Customers
      • Partners
      • Social Beginnings: “move money away from wall street campaign”

Jim Cramer 

  • A reason for his success initially is that he traded so much in Japan and Europe because he got up so early (2:47am)
    • Early bird gets the worm
    • A creature of habit
    • Makes a distinct effort to connect to his audience, with a specific effort to hit every age group: he uses song, sport or cultural references – 8 or 9 drafts of every single piece
      • He got the “booyah” idea from a caller on his radio show à be open to ideas, no matter where they come from
      • Favourite subject is WWII

Michelle Rhee

  • Education and its future
  • All decisions are made by special interest groups – no one is looking out for the children
  • Do we really need to invest more in our schools? Maybe not
    • Americans think we invest $4,231 per student, we actually spend $10,300
    • No correlation between spending and achievement
    • Elected to fix the schools in Washington – the first big question she was asked: “where is the money going?” (given they had one of the highest spending rates per student)
      • Transportation costs (transporting students to school)
      • Educating kids was the problem (parents sue the school district, win, then the court would prescribe a remedy, which was usually private school, fees paid by the public school)
      • The solution?
        • Set specific goals for achievements, local budgets, and allocate resources so it is tied to actual student outcomes
        • Use the research (i.e class size doesn’t actually matter!)


  • The power of media – the power of connecting the community
  • Bank of America – convince the public that the bank had been around ‘forever’ (as requested by the CMO)
    • It worked – huge impact – led to ideas about how to leverage the power of media for not-for-profits
    • Started to get lots of interest from charities – invited by the UN to the entrepreneurship council
      • Started an awareness campaign for the UN – huge benefits/awareness achieved
        • All this was done by utilizing empty space (the ‘waste’ product)
        • Led to the idea: what if the waste could be a new currency (in this form, the un-used billboards)
          • My thoughts: what if you got companies to donate excess capacity or wasted product to charity, and gave them an actual tax receipt for it?
          • The concern that led to this: people, when they donate, want their donation to go to the cause – not to marketing/advertising


  • Crowd sourcing reputation for the purpose of lending money
    • NYSE is the ultimate expression of crowd source financing
    • The future of financial services is crowd sourced

Alexa von Tobel – CEO of InvestLearn

  • The biggest loser – why is there no financial equivalent?
  • Personal finance is still taboo – and there is no formal education system for it
    • 84% of college grads said they need more help with their personal finances
    • Five money principles
      • Follow a budget: live beneath your means
      • Be debt free. Pay cards in full
      • Have an emergency savings account
      • Negotiate your own salary
      • Save for retirement: now

Scott Shay

  • By dramatically changing the structure of the banking industry, we can change the outlook of the American economy
  • The number of banks in the American economy has dwindled – this is bad for the small guys
    • We have no choice but to bail them out
    • His ideas:
      • $150bn deposit max
      • Reinstate glass-steagal
      • Eliminate brokered CD’s

Matt Gould

  • Edison’s light bulb did more than create electricity – it changed how we view the dark
    • We don’t need more light bulbs, we need people to be the light

Doug Dachille

  • So much effort goes into figuring out how to avoid taxes – the distortion of incentives (you raise taxes on me, so I try to avoid them)
    • A $1 tax raise never results in raising $1
    • There’s three ways we use money:
      • Give it away
      • Buy goods and services we choose ourselves
      • Buy goods and services implicitly through the government
      • What is unique to taxes?
        • YOU fill out the bill for the services the government provides (and if you fill it out wrong, you get fined!) – Which is totally backwards!
        • Its complex – you fill out the bill
        • You get no choice on how your money is spent (or very little) – you want to decide how to spend your money!
        • Why can’t the government give a tax spender some modest choice on where there money goes?
          • For some small amount, you can decide how its allocated
          • The problem with taxes isn’t that people don’t want to pay them, it’s that people don’t want to pay them if they have no say in what that money is going towards!
            • To get efficiency, we should focus on the psychology, not the process

Rahaf Harfoush

  • Micro Influence, Entrepreneurship and the Future of Protest
  • Types of people:
    • Architech: people who can change the outlook of the world
      • You need a critical mass + economic cost (for the person you are protesting against)
      • Example: Ghandi (boycotted British goods)
  • Because of new technologies, and the rate at which they come to market, big firms simply cannot keep up – and the chasm is widening. This means that if we want chance, we are going to have to change the old architech solution
    • The new protests add micro influence
      • The NEW way – Obama campaign
        • Sarah Palin speech on community’s inability to organize themselves. Obama campaign put out a message for people to donate $5 if they didn’t agree, they raised $150MM over the course of the campaign (1 month)
        • Why did OWS fail?
          • They never offered an alternative, a way for the public to support them
          • They had some of the elements. Example: bank transfer day (650000-1000000 people) to a tune of $4.5 billion
  • That is the future of micro influence – ideas replacing the problem, rather than boycotting

Jeff Hoffman jeff@colorjar.com

  • The power of wonder
    • We lose our childlike wonder – we get busy and get stuck in a cocoon. We see the same thing every day and stop seeing them
    • “the world’s most innovative people remove all their filters and open their mind”
    • Companies die because they lose the ability to wonder about their business
    • Info-sponging
      • 20 minutes every day, look at other industries and other companies, write down things that interest you, look at top trends and top searches, look for anything, not something in specific
      • Spend time with your customers – what is relevant to them should be relevant to you
      • He puts cardboard cut outs of his customers all over his office – because no one in his office represents his customer
  • Key points
    • Harness the power of wonder: think like a 5 year old
    • Try info sponging 20 minutes a day
    • Assemble your data points and ask yourself “what can I do today that I couldn’t do yesterday?”
    • Filter data: through the eyes of your customer

David Rose

  • Where do companies come from? More people and more parts are required to make more things – it’s cheaper to bring those costs in house so the company grows and grows and vertically integrate
  • Then something happened: technology kept moving, and the need to do everything changed
  • Develop your personal brand – it’s the carer of the future
  • Success has been redefined to the personal, you NEED to be part of the conversation
    • It fosters collaboration
    • It fosters transparency
    • Ralph waldo Emerson on success quote



One thought on “TedxWallStreet: My Notes

  1. Pingback: Cramer Says: No Down Time « blairlivingston

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