The Big Throughput Camera (BTC) recently celebrated its first anniversary as a user instrument on the Blanco 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory (CTIO), where it collects more photons per second than any other nighttime astronomical camera in the world. We offer a look at the successes and lessons learned during the first year of operation. After an overview of the hardware, we describe the software from the user's point of view, and then offer examples of the observing targets and strategies used. BTC has become very popular among CTIO observers -- more than one- third of dark time is now assigned to BTC -- but the large field of view leads to some new data reduction challenges which we discuss in the final section.© (1998) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.