The Structure of Big Think

The Structure of Big Think

BIG THINK is a YouTube channel with a simple premise: All the brilliant minds around the world are interviewed against a white backdrop, and asked to speak about cutting-edge ideas.

That's it. It's just the idea-person's talking head, a lav mic, & a few minutes.

Yet the channel is wildly successful with over 2 million subscribers.

There's a lot to say about how & why this channel caught on. But I'm only going to focus on a small aspect of it: the essence of Big Think.

What is the essence of Big Think?

Well, it's a YouTube show that happens daily. The poster image uses stock imagery with bold text to capture the attention. 

There's a unifying intro instrumental jingle lasting only a few seconds. It's tingly like electronic bubbles, signifying a corporate modernity. 

The interview of many of the subjects get cannibalized into multiple videos. 

So, it's common for somebody like Slavoj Zizek to have 2-8 videos constructed out of one interview session. These multiple videos are then rolled out around once a week. Sometimes the videos are dispersed across several months.

big think zizek.jpg

And that's Big Think! In essence.

Of course, like I said, a lot of other stuff goes into effect.

But that's the structure of the thing.

Like Herschell Gordon Lewis told me - people crave continuity right now.

So a depressed & anxious intellectual would take solace in a 'free' YouTube video everyday that helps them feel smart & also rewards them with new knowledge.

So, to re-cap, here's what I think Big Think is doing right now that really works:

1. The continuity of the daily videos.

2. The eye-catching poster art.

3. The unifying intro/outro title+jingle.

big think elon.jpg
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