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: What Inspired You to Start Third Factor?

Fredrik Carlstrom: Well, I’m still one of the principals of it. It started-- how did it start? When I came to America I worked for a producer called Edward Saxon, and he then had a production company with a guy called Peter Saraf, who they’re now separate. They had produced “Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia.” When I was there they did “Adaptation,” so I was a script reader and stuff for them, and wanted to produce films. So started a production company, I guess, for many reasons. One was to start-- to sponsor my visa. And one was-- you know, it’s good to have a company. So that’s how it started. And then we started developing little projects and stuff through it, and it kind of grew.

Question: How did you fuse film production with advertising?

Fredrik Carlstrom: Well, basically, I knew a few of the partners from my days in advertising in Sweden, and they had all these amazing clients, Absolut and H&M and Nokia and Electrolux. They kind of collect big global Swedish companies. And a lot of them were moving into entertainment. You know, there’s that convergence between sort of advertising and entertainment. And we started working together, and I kind of sent an email to them asking if they were interested-- if they’d thought about opening an office here, and I think they probably had. And then we basically did a deal. So I was, for the first six months or so, Third Factor did a first-look deal with Great Works, which is very common in the film industry. But I think an advertising agency hiring or making a deal with a production company is probably the first time it happened. And then that went really well, and they asked me if I wanted to be CEO, and I figured, “Why not?” I think the old model, which is still very much in place, I suppose is a hit model, where you create something-- whether it’s a TV show or a publication, or you have some sort of editorial product, film, book, newspaper, and companies pay to be next to that editorial. So consumers buy New York Times or whatever, because they want to read news, and a brand will pay to be next to it, and sort of interrupt people when they’re reading their newspaper. And so that’s the old model. And what is changing is that people don’t really want to be interrupted anymore, and they don’t have to be. Sort of technology has made it so that you can choose how you get your information and entertainment, or how you avoid getting it. And so people need to figure out new ways of communicating. And what’s interesting about the internet, which Great Works sort of comes from is that you can’t-- I mean, you can’t really interrupt people online. You either go to a website or you don’t. It’s very difficult to do that. So you have to create stuff that people actually want to spend time with, and Great Works was very good at that. And so the process of creating something for a client, for an Absolut, for instance, or creating something for a studio or for a production company, you know, they’re similar. They’re very similar.


Recorded on: 6/12/08


What Inspired You to Start ...

Newsletter: Share: