1.2. The Network of John x Network of Mary
Simple Formula of Networking: My Net X Your Net
Bob Metcalfe, inventor of the Ethernet, is known for pointing out that the total value of a communications network grows with the square of the number of devices or people it connects. (Metcalfe's square law ) This rule applied to telephone companies as they extended the number of subscribers to the telephone network, and now applies to the Internet in the same way. The global interconnection of networks we call the Internet has created huge and increasing value to all its participants.
The mean number of connections on LinkedIn is 5.
Three people with five connections make a network of 125 possible pathways.
5 x 5 x 5 = 125 (Metcalfe's Law)
David Read has identified another factor, the ability of people to choose the groups they belong to, and that people with similar interests will choose join similar groups. Read's Law applies to group forming behaviors in some networks. A group forming network has functionality that directly enables and supports affiliations (such as interest groups, clubs, meetings, communities) among subsets of its customers. Group tools and technologies (also called community tools) such as user-defined mailing lists, chat rooms, discussion groups, buddy lists, team rooms, trading rooms, user groups, market makers, and auction hosts, allow small or large groups of network users to coalesce and to organize their communications around a common interest, issue, or goal.
5 x 5 x 5 = 125+ a group forming value multiplier (Read's Law)
When we establish personal and professional relationships in LinkedIn, we are in the reality establishing a relationship between our network of contacts and the network of contacts of the potential partner. Obviously how well that network will be used will depend on factors such as the establishment of confidence, frequency of communication, experience of useful outcomes and cases of successful collaboration between the partners.
The relationship is not limited barely to that person specifically. The connection is much broader. Linking not only the individuals, but also the groups those individuals have joined, making the flow of information through the network possible.
The size of the group forming value multiplier depends quality, duration, confidence and reputation of members, and this value is consolidated through diverse experience of useful collaboration between the members.
Depending on the interests and needs of group members, is possible to discuss experiences with a newcomer and accelerate the relationship with that person since we already share group membership. Membership has expectation and responsibilities attached. To some extent these “rules” are made explicit by written statements, but far more powerful is the unwritten social expectation that all group members will offer support for each other. This is usually defined as being helpful to others where you can and “paying forward” meaning that you offer help not expecting anything in return, but believing that what goes around comes around. If you create positive results for others that effect will be experienced by those directly involved, that connection will be strengthened and the whole network will enhanced.
Using the force, quality and experience of that connectivity, we be able to mutually work like a catalyst or an accelerator of business inside ours respective networks. It is so important to understand the existence of the wider network behind each simple contact.
The mean number of connections on LinkedIn is 5.
If each person here had only 30 connections that would build a much bigger and stronger network. Consider the following networks of 5 people each with only 5 unique connections using Metcalfe's Law.
5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5 = 3125 potential pathways
If we have one very well connected person with 3000 unique connections we get:
5 x 5 x 5 x 5 x 3000 = 1,875,000 potential pathways
But if we have 5 people with 30 unique connections we get:
30 x 30 x 30 x 30 x 30 = 24,300,000 potential pathways
Notice that we have unique connections in this example. The more your network has connections that are not common to other people in the network the more value you bring to the system. So we have three principles to consider. Metcalfe's Law, the raw number of unique connections. Read's Law the quality of the connections is improved by group forming choices. Finally the way people choose to engage in the network, their willingness to pay it forward, and their willingness to develop new relationships.
Small World Theory
In fiction Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy (1929) and playwrite John Guare (1992) have suggested that the essential linkages between you and any other person in the world is a small number rather than a large one. Six degrees of separation is suggested. There have been attempts to build a mathematical and experimental proof of this idea, notably by American sociologist Stanley Milgram in 1967 and recently (2001) using email by Duncan Watts at Columbia University. There is quite a lot of evidence supporting the idea that the number of connections is indeed a small number like 5 or 7 and not a big number like 50 or 100.
If you have built your online connections in social networks like LinkedIn you extend your ability to quickly reach people you may need in the future. LinkedIn allows you to “reach” people within three degrees of yourself. The numbers below illustrate how the number of connections you have extends your total reach across the LinkedIn network.
First degree = 5 Second Degree = 248 Third Degree = 18904
First degree = 30 Second Degree = 1846 Third Degree = 180,908
First degree = 100 Second Degree = 34141 Third Degree = 3,332,000
Conclusion: Each of us can be connected many new people by online networks. We will be capable of reaching a significant population in many cities of the world. Because of the group forming behavior that occurs in these groups, if you are an established member, the people you most need to contact are quite likely already positioned within your reach.
Original by Octavio Pitaluga edited in English by John Veitch