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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

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.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

David Pogue: That’s a really interesting question. We [i.e. the USA] are behind Asia and Europe on cell phones in large part because of the way these networks were built originally. So in Europe for example, the government decided where to put the towers in such a way that everybody would have coverage.

In this country, there is no government telling us where to put the towers; it’s a neighborhood by neighborhood fight between the cell phone companies and the people of Greenwich, Connecticut or whatever. “You’re not putting a tower where we can see it.” So coverage remains lousy because it’s a not in my backyard thing.

Also we have the horrible problem of two competing network standards. AT&T and T-Mobile use one kind and Sprint and Verizon use the other kind, and the phones don’t inter-operate and the networks don’t inter-operate. And again, it’s just because there was never a standard; there was never an organizing body. And also the country geographically is much bigger than say Japan or a European country; so we have much more area to cover.

And the last factor is the calcified conservativeness of the carriers--up until the iPhone came out--that they wanted to control and micromanage the development of the phones themselves, which was not conducive to innovation. So everything took longer to arrive here than it did overseas.

But that is going to change. It will change starting this year [2008] because of what the iPhone unleashed; this idea that you can make a lot of money if you embrace creativity and innovation in the design of your cell phone and if you permit people to add and customize their own programs on their own cell phones instead of taking the same hand-me-downs from the cell company every month.

 

Recorded on May 15, 2008

 

The Gap in U.S. Mobile Phon...

Newsletter: Share: