There is so much more I want to say about Big Think, so many more patterns to
uncover, but time and space requires that we focus on just the core strategies
at work here. And from my perspective, Big
Think’s most important concept is that of stratagem #34: coordinate the uncoordinated.
There is a Chinese saying that says, “When geese fly
overhead in formation, their size is amplified by the formation of outstretched
You see, when things coordinate they become bigger things.
Fish becomes schools. Buffalo become herds. Ants become colonies.
If you understand this and apply it, then you can create far
greater power than the collection of parts warrants.
understands this. This is why Peter Hopkins and Victoria Brown have been carefully
calculating how they piece together this multifaceted community that is bigthink.com. When the team started
approaching media partners, they did not approach just anyone they could find.
Instead, they focused strategically on two characteristics.
First, they looked
for newspapers and other media platforms that had a real need. Their goals
were to “get the right eyeball at the right time,” as Peter explains.
But they also focused
on the brands they were associating with. They knew that each brand would
become a brush stroke in the painting that would define what Big Think is. So they are careful to
associate with the right brands, ones that accentuate the values and image they
want Big Think to hold.
They do the same by being careful with what “experts” they
feature on their site, bigthink.com.
Their videos are of big thinkers, not talking heads. They include artists,
musicians, politicians, scientists, and people from all perspectives. But when
you step back and look at all their smiles, waiting to tell you something
enlightening, a character and person emerges.
Big Think is, in
the end, a painting composed of hundreds of little dots – the experts, the
media partners, the technology – and by bringing these dots together, Big Think creates something entirely
companies have used this strategy, so ask yourself the questions below to see
how you can apply this approach.
- Who am I coordinating?
- Who needs to be coordinated?
- How could coordinating these groups help me create something new?