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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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The Answers are Out There - What We need are the Questions

August 25, 2011, 9:13 AM

Content on the Internet is growing like weed. Every minute there are 48h of video uploaded to YouTube. One year ago at a conference, Eric Schmidt shared that every two days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until  2003.

 While lots of this content is of course trivial with no or little educational value there is still an immense amount of valuable knowledge hidden in those video clips, blog posts and articles. The problem is that they are hidden and  risk to get lost amidst all the content and chaos we create.

A classic example are instructional videos for people who want to learn how to play the guitar. There are thousands if not tens of thousands of them on YouTube. If you now started to search for those lessons as an absolute beginner, you would not know where to start unless a video has this specific information in the title or description. The next problem is that many videos are simply not good enough to learn. You cannot see the fretboard clearly, the musician plays too fast, doesn’t repeat the riff or is simply not a good teacher.

All this makes it quite difficult to learn something on the Internet based on the knowledge that has been shared already. Only a handful of educators took the time to set up an entire course and if they did, those courses are usually the paid ones.

Therefore, I would like to talk about two startups I came across recently which focus on this untapped content and want to turn it into valuable courses.

The first one is called MentorMob. MentorMob is following a crowdsourcing approach of sorting out the best videos and other content in a certain topic, organizing them into a timeline and create an entire course this way.

Those “Learning Playlists” are going to be available for free, the business model is based on CPM advertising.

The second startup is called Veri. Like MentorMob members of the community are invited to create questions or entire courses based on content on the Internet. If you would like to test the experience of a Veri based course you can either take one of four Crash Courses at the American Express OPEN Forum.

Or try out “Wine Tasting and Serving” which is based on the famous Winelibrary TV show by Gary Vaynerchuk as I think this a great example of how much knowledge is hidden in the more than 1000 episodes Gary made in the past 5 and a half years. And although he officially retired from making wine videos two days ago, his back catalog can now be turned into a unique course on wine.


The Answers are Out There -...

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