"Big Think wants to become the YouTube for ideas. The site has experts like professor Steven Pinker, author Deepak Chopra, and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer answering big questions on topics like identity, politics and media. The video answers to these questions are supposed to kick-start discussions with people like you and me who can post responses or comments."
"In a world in which everyone’s a pundit, it’s nice to see someone recognizing the value of experts, but I just can’t see Big Think taking off. It’s just…so…heavy. Questions like “How are language and identity connected?” or “Has capitalism run mmok?” require too much brainpower when I’m multi-tasking with my computer, and the answers are snippets, so the topic can’t be more fully explored. While I haven’t watched all the videos, the only “fun” on Big Think I came across was “Writing for the Harvard Lampoon,” and “What is the most lavish party you have been to?” It’s like I’m reading cartoons from The New Yorker — clever, but fun in a way that’s elitist. Ultimately the whole thing feels like a big Ivy League club that I’m not welcome in."
Putting the writers' negative impressions aside, Big Think have a very smart segmentation, aiming to the higher-end of the population and not necessarily to the masses. When evaluating start ups or new websites, one must differentiate between the relevance for him\her and the relevance for the target segment. Although Big Think might make some people feel as if they are in a big Ivy League club to which they are not welcomed, many others might feel at home. This is exactly what segmentation is all about – specifically tailoring products and services for designated populations. Of course people who do not belong to the relevant segment might feel left out. Otherwise it wouldn't be segmentation at all. This is precisely the reason why adults might feel left out when their children play with Barbies, or action figures. Or why career driven businessmen might feel out of place in a cooking course. Good segmentation. That's why.
The segment of choice for Big think, the higher-end, is a segment that spends hours online and is always on the search for quality resources and quality content; i.e. the high-end segment is also part of the addressable market for video content. While this segment might have been consuming "light" content, it is well-equipped to enjoy more complex messages and will probably appreciate "heavy" content.
Some examples of successful segmentations have already made their way into marketing textbooks (such as manufacturing different car models to address different segments). Video content as a market has already reached the masses (YouTube, MetaCafe etc'), therefore segmentation is the natural next step. Lately we started to see some players addressing specific segments, like 5min and now BigThink. So, if you feel left out, don't worry – some player will target your segment soon enough.
This post was originally posted on The Flixwagon Blog.