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

Question: What strategies have you used to weather this recession?

Russell Simmons:  This recession has kind of affected me and I’ve learned to button up a little tighter and be a little bit more innovative.  I think in my case, it’s about being more innovative and people around me in some cases who helped to operate their first ideas. My first idea is to be more creative, to spin a kind of dance between these two kinds of philosophies.  There’s a lot of people who know so much so that there’s room to grow and I want to be my next company to be a little bit more adventurous or creative and in almost every case, that’s what I’ve done, but still there’s tightening up some things and I hope when the marketplace opens up that we’ll be so well positioned because we haven’t given away all the real estate, given away all the potential, or run scared.  We haven’t run scared.

Question:  How do you keep your workforce motivated in a downturn? 

Russell Simmons:  In this downturn it’s so bad a lot of people’s motivation is, I don’t want to be fired.  I’m sorry to say it; it’s just that reality.  People are struggling and companies are not growing as quickly as we all projected and so sometimes we just need to buckle up just because we want to hold onto what we have.  That’s not my philosophy about life or that I recommend my employees take but we are more creative and we work harder and we keep our head down at all times.  But in a difficult market like this when you see people losing their jobs, sometimes you just want to protect yourself.

Question: What are the qualities you look for in a new hire? 

Russell Simmons:  Well I like to hire people who I think are motivated to be good servants.  I don’t really like bosses.  I’m not a boss, I’m a servant, and so I want people to know that if they watch out for everyone else and they are a great team player, then they ascend.

My favorite Presidents were interns, I watched them grow.  They act like interns when they’re presidents.  They still want to get everybody’s coffee.  They want to get their hands dirty.  I like people who don’t really recognize the difference between themselves and the people that they are part of a management team for.

Recorded on October 27, 2009

More from the Big Idea for Friday, May 27 2011

 

Why the Best Managers Act l...

Newsletter: Share: