Risky Business: Is it all that bad?
Everyone wants to understand the minds of the creative investors—the hedge fund traders, the bankers, the ones most people think are at the bottom of our current economic meltdown. Venkatesh looks for some clues in un-conventional places. He spent a decade with traders in the legitimate economy and traders of a different kind—hi ranking drug dealers. They have not only have more in common than you think, but by looking at both, we can get some new insights into how investors and hi-risk capitalists really think about risk and business success.
Leadership Secrets to Performing in Hi-Risk Situations
How do great business leaders cope with high risk and uncertainty? To find their secrets to success, Sudhir Venkatesh spent time with more than 100 business leaders—from the tech sector to old-fashioned manufacturing to the FBI. He provides insights about the strategies that help executives stay calm and get the most of themselves and their team when situations become stressful and pressure-filled. He integrates stories of leaders who surprised themselves by performing beyond expectations.
Ten Things Great Leaders Do
In this story-driven talk, Venkatesh talks about the surprising qualities of great leadership. For example, great leaders will have a confidante—like Shakespeare’s “court jester” who tells the King the things no one else will say. Great leaders stop and reflect on their failures, and they tie their greatest successes to acknowledging their mistakes. The most active and busy leaders also manage to take a lot of naps. The talk is meant to change our view of the most accomplished executives by showing that successful leadership means being human, making mistakes, but learning how to redefine failure for yourself and your team.
The New American Worker
We’re in the middle of a jobless recovery, so we’re told. Behind the media punditry, there’s a real change in how Americans work. Americans are more and more likely to be self-employed, self-made, and moving between two and three jobs. For over a century, your economic position—union worker, CEO, etc.— determined how you voted and what causes you supported. Well, no more. Politics and political action now have strange bedfellows: Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are the new signs of the political voice in America. Venkatesh sheds light on who we are, what we do, and what it means for the election. He draws on his own study of American workers and his own research into Occupy Wall Street protests.
Additional Speech Topics
Sudhir Venkatesh is a Lead Researcher in the Protect & Care Org at Facebook, where he focuses on how companies and consumers can more effectively and creatively use the site as a global communication tool, and on safety concerns such as combating terrorism through social media. Previously he was a William B. Ransford Professor of Sociology, and the Committee on Global Thought, at Columbia University. He recently served as a Senior Advisor to the Department of Justice, Washington, DC.
Venkatesh is currently Chair of Policy & Budget, in the Committee on Global Thought. He is also Faculty Director of the MA in Global Thought, at Columbia University. He is the Co-Editor (along with Lance Freeman) of City & Community, the journal of the Community and Urban Section of the American Sociological Association.
Venkatesh served as the Academic Director of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, an MBA program for the creative industries. Previously, he served as the Director of the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, and the Director of the Center for Urban Research and Policy, both at Columbia University.
His recent research projects include a study of the transformation of the modern advertising industry. And, with Phil Cook, Jens Ludwig, Harold Pollack, and George Tita, he directs the ethnographic research component of a multi-city study of gun markets.
His most recent book is Floating City (Penguin Press). His earlier book, Gang Leader for a Day (Penguin Press) received a Best Book award from The Economist, and was translated into Chinese, Korean, Japanese, German, Italian, Polish, French and Portuguese. His previous work, Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor (Harvard, 2006) received a Best Book Award from Slate.com (2006) as well as the C. Wright Mills Award (2007). His first book, American Project: The Rise and Fall of a Modern Ghetto (Harvard, 2000) explored life in Chicago public housing.
Venkatesh’ editorial writings have appeared in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Fast Company, and the Washington Post. He writes for Slate.com, and his stories have appeared in This American Life, WIRED, and on National Public Radio.
Venkatesh’s documentary film (for PBS), Dislocation, followed families as they relocated from condemned public housing developments. He directed and produced a three-part award winning documentary on the history of public housing for public radio. And, he recently completed At the Top of My Voice, a documentary film on a scholar and artist who return to the ex-Soviet republic of Georgia to promote democracy and safeguard human rights.
Venkatesh received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. He was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows (Harvard) and an NSF CAREER award recipient in 2000. He is a voting member of the Institute for Research in African-American Studies.