Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

Watch The Onion Hilariously Mock The TED Talks You Love

The satire site brings its biting humor to the entire ideas economy with painfully accurate send-ups of the inspiring talks you know and love.

At this point, we’ve all watched our shares of TED Talks, and have been inspired by the outside-the-box thinking that the speakers throw at us. Washing machines are the greatest invention ever! Schools kill creativity! They’re ideas that seem both so simple and yet so revolutionary, and they spread like wildfire.

Lately, though, there have been some cracks in the facade of the genius of TED’s speakers. The main gist of the criticism is that turning ideas into an industry is potentially problematic: Empty ideas that have no tangible effects aren’t usually worth so much. In launching a new series of Onion Talks, The Onion has taken this issue and turned it into comedic gold.

The first entry in the series above, features "young media professional Cameron Hughes" describing his plan for compost-fueled cars. How will it work? Hughes explains that you take compost and use it to run the cars. How you get from that pie-in-the-sky hope to a car that actually runs on compost is someone else’s problem. "The idea is there, it just needs implementation." Hughes’s talk continues in this vein full of big ideas with no follow-up plans ("Economists will tell you this impossible. I’ve already thought of that. Feasibility deals with implementation. I’m not involved in that"). If you’ve seen your share of TED Talks, the tropes will be more than familiar to you.

This is just the first in what we hope is an ongoing and continually amusing series (check out the trailer, above). TED Talks have been a really valuable way of introducing the world to important ideas over the last half-decade, but as the business and footprint has created an unquenchable demand for more ideas to fill more talks, certain more mockable elements have certainly emerged. The Onion will certainly find them all.