If you take their New York Times profile at face value, it seems that Big Think hasn’t thought a lot about all the pre-existing web video venues for smarties.

In creating a “YouTube for ideas,” site founders Peter Hopkins and Victoria Brown (who were developing the site while they both were working on the ever thought-provoking Charlie Rose) and ex-Harvard President Lawrence Summers (who left the prestigious Crimson after he caused all hell to break loose in the world of female academia) seem to operate under the assumption that the internet is at a loss for intellectual vids. This isn’t the case.

Since 2006, Fora.tv (Tilzy.TV page) has been collecting, organizing, and distributing video coverage from the kind of public events you see on CSPAN or advertised in the back of phrenic-conscious publications featuring “poets, authors, activists, madmen, government leaders, and visionary thinkers.” For nearly a year, TED Talks (Tilzy.TV page) has made its primary focus to showcase presentations from the invite-only TED conference, so the visionary messages of its speakers can reach far beyond its 1,000-person audience of intellectual elites. Even YouTube has smart stuff, if you know where to find it.

So, Big Think isn’t the first thought-centric video site, but it might be the slickest.




###All the footage on the site, at least so far, comes from exclusive, original interviews shot in a way that accentuates the interviewees to the fullest. Their words are the only things audible and they pop with a clarity amplified above a white void of background noise. It makes politicians, musicians, scientists and other esteemed minds appear that much more prolific, offering their insights from an abyss of pure knowledge.

Vids are also parsed and organized by the site’s editors for easy consumption around tangible themes (Art, History, Technology, etc.) and metaphysical ideas (Identity, Life & Death, Wisdom). Its slim pickins for now, but once they use some more of their investment money to beef up production, I envision a highly useful, pointed directory of people smarter than me thinking about whatever they think about.

Until that happens, I’m sticking to other sites to satisfy my intellectual curiosity. As on-topic and visually appealing as Big Think tries to be, there’s still a lot of value in watching intelligent minds wander while speaking to the public.

Above: Moby gives advice to young artists. Unsurprisingly, “not selling out” doesn’t come up.

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