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


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

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


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

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


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
With rendition switcher


Question: Does 37signals have a firm set of principles?

Jason Fried: Yeah. So, we have a set of principles. We don’t write them down anywhere really. I mean, they have been written down, but we didn’t set out to write them down. I don’t believe in like the whole Mission Statement thing. But we just want to build the simplest possible thing we can that solves a real problem. Like that’s it for us. We’re always trying to solve simple problems with simple solutions. And I think, in general, most things are really easy in life. Things get hard when you make them hard, but by default, things are actually pretty simple. And I think companies, unfortunately have been really good have been built to make things very difficult on themselves. So, we’ve kept our company small intentionally. So we can be a small company and do what small companies do and move quickly and come up with cool ideas and execute them quickly and those sorts of things. And that’s all around the principle of just doing the simplest possible thing we can to solve a real problem.

 One of the things I think that gets mixed up a lot. Companies are too obsessed with innovation and not obsessed enough with usefulness. So, we’re all about, what can we do that’s useful. Not what’s the latest technology, what’s the crazy new thing? But what’s actually useful, so that’s really the core of what we’re all about.

Question: How does 37signals diverge from Silicon Valley’s prevailing ethos?

Jason Fried: Yeah. Well, I think first and foremost, we’re a business. Now, that’s not always the case because there are some that are businesses, you know. Like Google is very successful, of course, and there are a few others. But for the most part, there are a lot of things that is going on in Silicon Valley today are not businesses. They may be businesses, but you’re not really a business if you’re just losing money, or if you’re not charging for things. We’re a traditionalist company, we charge for things. We have a product and we sell it.

We also have some free stuff too, but we’re all about selling things. We’re all about making money. And so I think that one of the things that sets us apart, but also, we’re not big into the idea of raising money early in a company’s history. We’re not big into what’s the latest technology that we should be using. We’re not big in the staffing up quickly. We’re not big into marketing, like traditional marketing and paying a PR firm $20,000 a month to get the word out before you even started. We’re not big into that stuff. We’re big in building really great products for real customers who want to pay us money to use those products. And that’s what set us apart quite a bit.

More from the Big Idea for Monday, March 11 2013

Modern Management

Nobody knows you when you're down and out. That was certainly the case for GM employees in 2009 when the company was saved by government loans and bailout money. Less than a year and a half later,... Read More…


The Only Mission Statement ...

Newsletter: Share: