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TED Talk Vocabulary: Why Startups Succeed

Anyone working in the startup industry knows how hard it is to create a successful business—often times it might seem as though there is no secret to success when it comes to entrepreneurship. In the following TED Talk, “The Single Biggest Reason Why Startups Succeed,” entrepreneur Bill Gross shares what he believes to be the essential element when it comes to beginning a company. Through his startup studio called IdeaLab, Gross has established over 100 businesses, including both successes (like and and failures, making him an expert on the subject. In less than seven short minutes, you can discover new vocabulary and reasons why some businesses are more sustainable than others from the TED Talk below!

  1. Equity incentives (00:34) — This term refers to stocks, shares, or membership interests (in other words, equity) used to incentivize and reward employees

  2. To unlock/reach/realize one’s (full) potential (00:39) — This common phrase refers to becoming the best version of oneself

  3. To be systematic about (something) (00:52) — To do something according to a plan or in a methodical way

  4. Loudspeaker (01:10) — Also referred to as a public address (PA) system or intercom, this piece of stereo equipment is used to address large audiences

  5. Software (01:12) — This term refers to computer programs, instructions, and data that a computer uses (as opposed to “hardware” that refers to the physical parts of a computer system)

  6. The “aha!” moment (01:38) — Sometimes called a “eureka!” moment, this phrase refers to a point when a sudden discovery or insight occurs

  7. Customer revenue (02:17) — This term refers to the total income of a business from customer sales or contracts

  8. To have high/great hopes for (something/someone) (03:04) — This phrase refers to one’s hope for and belief in the success of something or someone

  9. To rank (03:08) — To list or order a series of items in a hierarchy

  10. To account for (03:30) — To provide an explanation for

  11. To gain traction (04:15) — This idiom refers to gaining support or interest

  12. The Recession (04:43) — The Recession (or Great Recession) refers to the economic downturn in worldwide markets that began in 2007 and extended into the early 2010s

  13. Broadband (05:30) — Refers to high-speed internet access (as opposed to dial-up internet access)

  14. To push (something) forward (06:18) — To make progress on something



Anna Deen is a student at Washington University in St. Louis studying English Literature, American Culture Studies, and Communication Design. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the mountains, going to art museums, and eating ice cream.


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