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Reaching limits of silos not of networks

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There is talk of Metcalfe’s Plateau. Not convinced at all! Networks can but don’t need to plateau, which is defined as a point at which the marginal value of another node added to the network decreases. Depends on a type of a network and to what extend is the nature of the network understood and utilised.

Alas, no time for deeper analysis so just a few thoughts thrown into the spokes.

1. In non-networked (e.g. channel world) scale happens via aggregation. But in a decentralised network scaling happens via distribution. And yet, we still aggregate online rather than design for distribution indigenously. We still think ‘centralise’, get it all in one place so we can then find our way around and control our environment that way. It’s like going to one giant car park where everyone keeps their car every time they wish to start a journey, instead of taking their car with them as they need it and parking it as suits them. And so using as the entire road system as the platform, not the parking lot.

2. Search is the most primitive form of filtering. Also, it’s still centralised. So the limits of the web are not due to ‘there is simply to much info/too many friends etc’ but due to lack of tools that help the individual to benefit from the network to the full. Outside platforms and locks in.

3. So we may be reaching a plateau or a ceiling of our centralised channel world thinking as applied to and within the networked environment of the web, not necessarily a plateau in the Metcalfe’s law.

4. And Doc is right about the distinction between networks and groups. Groups are still siloed – an attempt to lock in the benefits of networks in the social context (social graph etc) into a ‘monetizable’ platform. No wonder it’s not working as planned! Long live the two natural online platforms – the individual and the web.

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One Response to “Reaching limits of silos not of networks”


  1. August
    on Jul 8th, 2008
    @ 17:30 pm

    You may find this interesting:

    http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/jul06/4109

    Basically, Metcalfe says n squared; these guys say n log(n).

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