A Brief History of Big Think: Celebrating 4 Years

It was four years ago today that Big Think was launched by co-founders Victoria Montgomery Brown and Peter Hopkins to immediate fanfare. That day The New York Times hailed Big Think as "a Web site that could do for intellectuals what YouTube, the popular video-sharing site, did for bulldogs on skateboards." A few days later, Peter Hopkins appeared on The Colbert Report, sporting what was referred to as a gravitas-evoking beard.


In the years that have followed, Big Think has achieved a number of important milestones. We were named by Time Magazine the #1 news and information site for 2011. Also last year we launched The Floating University in partnership with the Jack Parker Corporation. The Floating University offers online courses and seminars for individuals and institutions. The inaugural course, Great Big Ideas, was offered this past semester at Harvard, Yale and Bard, and it was the most popular course at each college. 

A President, A Repentant Former Governor and an Unrepentant Novelist

We have interviewed over 3,000 experts over the last four years. To commemorate our four-year anniversary, we've compiled a number of videos that have helped put Big Think on the map. These videos showcase what we believe are some of the most important qualities that make Big Think unique. Our guests are frank, intellectually open and endlessly provocative. Here are three that stand out in particular. 

The first is an interview with former President Jimmy Carter, in which Carter said it is now time for a gay president. This idea quickly spread and formed the basis of this Maureen Dowd column in The New York Times in 2010.

Watch the video here:

Was it true about the socks?

In an exclusive interview following the "Client 9" scandal, Eliot Spitzer came on Big Think for some redemption, and he shared his thoughts on love. While Gawker declared it Spitzer's "best interview yet," The New York Post was less forgiving, dubbing the former governor "Stupid Cupid" for his "cringe-inducing comments" in a "bizarre, soul-baring interview" on Big Think. What do you think?

Watch the video here:

Does Oprah Part the Seas?

You may remember Jonathan Franzen's public spat with Oprah Winfrey in 2001. After Oprah selected Franzen's novel The Corrections for her book club, virtually guarenteeing the book would be a best-seller, Franzen complained that Oprah's endorsement would affect his standing within "the high art literary tradition." Seven years later, Franzen was unrepentant. 

Watch the video here:

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