What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

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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Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

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Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

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November 20, 2012, 6:07 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Google is the latest company to offer a way for content sites to provide material to their users while not losing their financial shirts: A site using its Wallet system can reveal the first few paragraphs of an individual article and then offer to reveal the rest for a small fee (usually less than a dollar). Fortunately, if the reader wants their money back, they have 30 minutes to get an instant refund to their account. Oxford Reference is one of a small number of sites that are using this system.

What's the Big Idea?

Most sites that charge for content set up a paywall, which tends to push readers away. News sites with lots of exclusive material see more success with paywalls, but journalism think tank director Charlie Beckett says other news sites aren't as fortunate: "There's a myth that people ever liked news. [It's] entertaining - but it's not as entertaining as a pop video." There's also the interaction cost, says usability expert Jakob Nielsen: "What is the extra hassle for the user?" He suggests that in order for micropayment systems to work, they must be as simple as turning on a light: "[I]mmediately it starts charging you. But you don't have to log in to turn [it] on."

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