Larry Smith

Economist & Storyteller

On Sunday March 11, 2012, Larry Smith’s TEDxUW Talk was featured on the front page of TED and included in their archives of great ideas worth spreading.

Since then, we have been delighted to see the remarkable spread of this video as people have gone on to share it, comment on it, agree and disagree with it – where Larry’s talk has now reached well over 600,000 views!  Watching this all unfold from the sidelines has driven home to us the sheer scale and reach of TED as a global platform for ideas worth spreading, as well as the vibrancy of the community that powers it.

We would like to thank everyone who made all of this possible for us –  the team, our partners, our attendees and our supporters right here at the University of Waterloo, as well as the awesome team at TED and TEDx.

Thank you.

- The TEDxUW Team

You can watch his official TED Talk here:

“Phenomenal! This will be shown (along with Michael Jordan’s video on failure) to my first year seminar students!” – John Bennett

“Oh man. I think I’m going to play this at my TEDx event; bunch of law students will love this.” – Claire Durocher

“This was definitely one of the best talks I ever watched on TED. A great and very passionate talk (performance) on passion and life. Thank you!” – Muratcan Akcay

“Thank you for the greatest motivational speech I have ever seen. I really needed this wake-up call.” – Victor-Vartan Pambuccian

“A brilliant call to action, and a hilariously quirky and animated speech to boot. Love it.” – George Kong

“This talk has touched my heart. As a job seeker I see so much fallacy in some job descriptions and I wonder should I be that desperate to work there? I am still miles from accepting my real passion and pursuing it without fear and with total zeal. Truly I need to break free (I can see the Queen Song and video with the same name!)” – Dorothy Kilonzo

“Wow. This video came out just as I’m in the middle of an impossible decision- accept an offer of my ‘dream job’, one that I’ve taken years to realize I am passionate about and to actually find, that is in a different country to my long-term partner, or put my passion on hold for a few years until my partner and I can find ‘dream jobs’ in the same location. I’ve been agonizing over this decision for a week. I am not scared of failing; I am scared of distance killing my relationship, which I treasure beyond words.  This video brought tears to my eyes. It has made me realize I will be a better person, for myself and my partner, if I follow my passion. I am confident my relationship is strong, so I have decided to take the job!
I am an educator, and I want to be a person who can say to my students, with authority, follow your dreams. Thank you so much, Professor Smith”
- Brenna McNeil

Check out some of the generous media coverage of our video  - we’re really excited to see how this idea has resonated with many communities around the world:

A little more about Larry…

Throughout his three-decade career here at the University of Waterloo, Larry Smith has inspired legions of students to take up the mantle of economics with his passionate and homespun tales of economic wizardry. A renowned story-teller, teacher and youth leadership champion, Larry has also coached and mentored countless numbers of students on start-up business management and career development strategies.

Having taught introductory microeconomics, macroeconomics and entrepreneurship classes, he recently celebrated assigning his 29,000th grade earlier this year.

Recipient of the Distinguished Teacher Award, Larry has also coached several of his former students to help them position and develop their businesses, the most famous of which is Research in Motion (RIM), maker of the revolutionary BlackBerry wireless mobile smartphone. Larry also sits on the advisory panels of start-ups to provide his guidance on financing and negotiation with investors and venture capitalists.

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