This was Nithin’s third TEDx talk and part of TEDxHartford.
Nithin George Eapen is a Speaker, Entrepreneur, and Investor celebrated for his expertise and eloquence as a Three-time TEDx Speaker. His topics are as varied as they are intriguing, delving into decentralization, NFTs, cryptocurrencies, technology and finance. He has been a keynote speaker or panelist at over 100 global events. Nithin is the mastermind behind ChanceRiver, a successful multi-million dollar technology services firm. His personal journey is a tale of transformation, from a diverse career path to a flourishing entrepreneur, all while managing the joys and challenges of a large family with five children along with his spouse Priyanka Joseph.
His professional odyssey has seen him dabble in multiple sectors, including sales, manufacturing, software programming, and investment banking. Notably, Nithin is part of the victorious team in the prestigious 56 (AmbathiyaaRu) International Championship.
As an entrepreneur passionate about nurturing new talent, Nithin has founded and invested in various startups, guiding aspiring entrepreneurs along their journey. His interests are diverse yet interconnected, spanning finance, technology, and card games such as poker and 56. He is deeply passionate about virtual constructs like money, religion, gods, and borders.
Currently, Nithin devotes much of his time to educating the public about cryptocurrencies, free markets, and the philosophy of money. He leverages multiple platforms to disseminate his extensive knowledge and insights in these areas.
What are TED or TEDx talks?
TED is a non-profit media company founded in 1984. Originally conceived as a four-day conference in California focused on technology, its mission is to disseminate ideas that deserve widespread attention. The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Vancouver and invites the world’s leading thinkers to speak for 18 minutes or less. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Adam Driver, Elon Musk, Hans Rosling, Sal Khan, Shashi Tharoor, Shah Rukh Khan and Daniel Kahneman.
TED has created a program called TEDx, a local, self-organized event program that brings people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection.
These talks are posted online on the TED/TEDx YouTube channel.
The TED Talks channel boasts an impressive 23 million subscribers, while the TEDx Talks channel commands an even larger audience with 39 million subscribers. When your talk is delivered and subsequently uploaded online, it can reach millions of viewers, with the chance of even going viral. Across these platforms, there are over 250,000 talks available, attracting a global audience. However, less than 1,000 of these talks have achieved the milestone of a million views.
TED speakers are not compensated for their presentations. The numerous individuals involved in TEDx events, including organizers, speaker coaches, marketing teams, and graphic designers, offer their services voluntarily. Their dedication stems from a strong belief in the TEDx community’s ethos and the value of generating impactful content centered around thought-provoking ideas.
Why do a TED talk or why did you do these TEDx talks?
The first question is do you feel that you have a message or an idea that can transform the world or your local community. Then TEDx is the right platform because by default it has 39 million people as its audience .If you really do not care about people viewing it just take a smart phone video of you doing the talk and uploading it on YouTube in your own channel. It is difficult to get traction in today’s digital world with so much garbage content out there. This is where platforms and channels or influencers with a following can help get traction for your message.
Philosophically it is like If a tree fell in the forest and it did not make a sound. Did it really fall?
Being a TEDx speaker will also give you amazing credibility for potential future events or even for a job interview, and depending on your experience, TEDx may even provide referrals and recommendations for future (paying) gigs.
I am an immigrant in America. My professional expertise is in finance and technology, and I have a deep passion for virtual constructs and freedom. Every immigrant departed from their homeland primarily due to socialist policies and governmental interference in the markets, which resulted in fewer job opportunities, limited freedoms, and a diminished quality of life.
America stands out as a country that has delivered a higher quality of life and prosperity for its residents more than any other place, primarily attributed to its strong embrace of free market principles.
From an early point in my journey, I was driven to understand why America is more prosperous and why immigrants often thrive more in the U.S. than in their home countries. Common explanations like the abundance of land were considered, but this still needs to fully answer the question, as countries like China also have vast land, while nations like Switzerland and Japan have much less.
Ultimately, it became clear to me that the critical factor is the freedom for individuals to pursue their life, liberty, and happiness without state interference. The Austrian School of Thought and Mises Institute helped me understand this fact through their various articles on mises.org.
But I see a significant threat against this prosperous way of life by primarily misguided youth indoctrinated by the leftist liberal academia. The other day, while walking by the University of Connecticut campus in Stamford, a bunch of kids came to me and told me they would talk to me about the great socialism and communism ideology. These were kids who had never lived in a communist country, and all I could say to them was, do you know why people like me or people from Cuba, Russia, and China leave their homeland and live here?
The evil trend of expansive government control and their excessive money printing, burdening students with lifelong debts for degrees that often lack practical value, has led to widespread despair and hopelessness among the youth. This has left me concerned about the future of my children. I wonder about their prospects in an America that might one day resemble countries like China, Russia, or India when it comes to economic policies by interfering governments in the name of welfare and warfare.
I can empathize with the perspectives of both white and black Americans who view socialism as a potential solution to their problems. The grass looks greener on the other side. However, I find it troubling when immigrants, especially those from my home state of Kerala, attempt to reshape America into a replica of their native lands but they choose to live here.
Throughout history, the struggle for freedom from oppressive rulers has been constant. In the past, this oppression came from monarchies or kings, and now it manifests through bureaucrats and politicians who change every few years.
There’s a prevailing assumption that a ruler, often someone who hasn’t significantly contributed to others’ welfare, is better suited to determine what’s good for us and deliver justice than the free markets and voluntary exchange among participants.
This echoes Edmund Burke’s sentiment, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to choose to do nothing.”
This is the reason I spread the message of decentralization and privacy and anonymity when it comes to information and money. These are two avenues through which a government controls its subjects.
What are the steps to secure a TEDx talk?
- The thought: are you ready to do one, and do you dream to do one?
TED is not for professional coaches or motivational speakers. They already have a platform and are paid to do what they do. You don’t have to have written a book or have followers on social media. Books, knowledge about a subject, and followers on social media help because this is a content-based channel, and they get revenue when people view content.
Do you have a message to give the world, and do you desire to do it?
My first talk was about bringing our Gods on the Blockchain.
I am passionate about virtual constructs. They originate in the human mind and have value only to humans, like Gods and Money. A monkey will never give you its banana for a million dollars anywhere in the world or share it for the promise of heaven. These are things humans do, like exchanging a banana for 5$.
- Pick a Topic or an idea that you would like to share to the world.
What do you want to talk about? Every one of us will have something that we are passionate about. You really need something you are passionate about or people who listen to you will not feel the energy that has to come from within you.
Do research on that and see what has been spoken about that subject earlier.
Now there are few people out there who can speak about anything. Don’t make your subject how to be successful, there are tons of motivational talks out there.
In my case what I am most passionate is about human freedom from middlemen. So my topics will be about decentralization and virtual constructs.
Here is what will disqualify you as a speaker from the TED website
- Your idea is backed by questionable science, you have a clear religious or political agenda, You are not emotionally ready to give this talk. (e.g. Your talk is about a traumatic event you have not adequately processed.), It feels overdone or generic, too broad, you are not really an expert, It is only of interest of value to a small niche, e.g. an obscure scientific trend that would only be interesting to cardiologists., you have a promotional agenda.
Key point is no selling a product yours or anyone else’s on stage, no selling yourself or showing how you overcame adversity. You can use your case as an example for some idea but try to make the talk about the idea.
The whole thing becomes different when Shah Rukh Khan or Adam Driver does it, they can and will be allowed to talk about their life and journey. TED or the organizers know that their fans will watch in millions and end of the day this is a business for them and generating content that is viewed by millions make sense for them.
You need an idea and expertise and it has to offer valuable insight for the audience. Write down multiple ideas, share it with people who can give you critical feedback and then decide.
- Get a stage or apply.
There are multiple TEDx events every year across the globe. Some will have requirements that you have to be local to the area. For example TEDx Portsmouth has this as a requirement that You must live or work within a 30-mile radius of our event. When I spoke at TEDxHartford on Dec 3rd, 2023, of the eight of us, five were from different parts of the country, and only three were from Connecticut state.
Not all TEDx s’ are equal.
I have done three talks. Only at TEDxHartford did they have coaches. TEDxHartford was organized by Lee Simmons, who runs an event management company, so the stage was highly professional.
There are different kinds of TEDx like TEDxSalon and TEDxUniversity, and some are done exceptionally well. All this requires a lot of funding to get a ballroom or hall, set up props, make flyers and advertisements, and create high-quality videos.
Exceptional events will have good coaches (we had Ryan Mazurkivich and Jeremy Brewer) who can help you by asking questions, tightening the talk, and giving you feedback.
Some events will have a theme. So, make sure the subject can be part of the theme when you apply your talk. Ensure you check their previous talks online and check the video and audio quality. For my second talk the theme was Bridgeport the city. I used the idea of S curves and innovation and applied it to cities and brought insight to it. You can listen to that here.
- Once you are selected, start writing the script.
Plan an intro, an opening that will get your attention of your audience.
When you applied, most likely you would have only an idea and a rough draft. Now write the detailed script. Think of the takeaways and examples and think where you would want pauses for the message to sink in for the audience.
Always tell a story, connect to an audience emotionally. Look into story telling tactics. Take improv lessons, go for toastmasters to practice and get feedback. It’s free most likely. These are things you can do with or without a TED talk. It makes you communicate better and you can use this in your meetings in regular life also.
- Practice with a coach, show it to multiple people who can give you feedback.
A good number of TEDx’s will not have a coach. If they don’t have one, get a coach who can help you. Ryan and Jeremy helped us online, I can get you in touch with them. They have coached people for years. Or find one in your community or among your friends. But get someone professional. It makes a tremendous difference doing one with a coach and without one. Even Roger Federer and Michael Jordan had a coach. Why shouldn’t you have one?
- Make a great visual.
Hire a professional to make a powerpoint with great designs. I used GetStandingOvation.com to help me with my powerpoint after making a basic one.
A visual help should not have too many words. It should only have images and very few words.You can see me here doing my first talk without a powerpoint. A powerpoint helps you remember all the points you need to say.
After my first talk, Vinoo Chacko of GetStandingOvation.com, who makes brilliant presentation material reached out to me and said one of the mistakes of my presentation was that it did not have a great power point. Next one when I got a chance to talk at University of Bridgeport, I reached out to him to get a power point done. You will see a stark difference among these talks.
When I refer to the current system of financial services are broken
When I refer to money is the creation of the human mind
- What clothes to wear.
Do not wear whites and plaid. I did that mistake for my first talk and again for my second one since I did not do the research. Remember your content and marketing the talk matters more than the clothes you wear. For men a jacket or sweater is better. You can wear whatever you like that brings you true self out. Just try not wearing a pajamas and doing keynotes unless you are Vitalik Buterin or Mark Zuckerberg. Nobody will take you seriously then. Brighter colors are better when it shows up on a video, keep that in mind. It is a black background so try not to wear black colors that can get washed out.
- Practice, Practice and Rehearse on Stage.
Stand and practice—practice in front of the mirror. Practice in front of your camera or cell phone camera, take a video, play it back and check if this is what you want to see about yourself. You can do this for any presentation, even at work. Rework the idea, the tone and the sound if you have to. The nonverbal cues you use make a difference to the talk. If you have never gone on a larger stage, try to be there early and do one or two rehearsals with other speakers listening.
Attend the local Toastmasters event in your area and give the talk. Do it with disturbances also around so that you understand if a distraction occurs, you should not fluster. You can see the difference in my first two and third talks. My coach Ryan would call me every week, and we would do one. And I had to get ready by doing at least one for him. They all help to rework and get the talk crisper.
- While you deliver the talk
Breathe, give pauses when you are making a point. People need to grasp it and have it in memory. If you miss a point or two it’s ok, only you know your talk, the audience will not know you missed something. All three talks I did, I missed something that I wanted to convey.
- After the talk
Savor the moment, make friendships with other speakers, be a part of the community and get ready to market your talk once it comes online. It could take anywhere from a month to six months to come online.
Just because you made a talk and it is uploaded on the TEDx channel does not mean you will get a million or even 100,000 views. There are already 210,000 talks on the channel and less than 1000 that have more than a million views. If you are a celebrity or influencer, your followers will come and view it and like it. But otherwise, for mere mortals, You need to market it and send messages to your friends via email and social media; they have to share and engage by liking or commenting on it.
Send emails and ask for feedback. Do not hold on to your egos like How will I ask them to do such a thing? If you cannot, why even bother to take all this trouble and make a TED talk?
No amount of marketing alone will help if the content is not that great. It’s like a restaurant, you need a great location, good service but end of the day your food has to be awesome for the restaurant to be a successful one. Location and service are also required once you have great food to serve in a restaurant.