150 It is. For Now...

Community Building

“More isn’t always better, Linus. Sometimes it’s just more”. – The Movie Sabrina (1995).  

Do large communities add more value than smaller ones?

According to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, the “magic number” is 150. His theory concludes that we can only really maintain about 150 connections at a time. The BBC recently examined this theory.

Dunbar’s number intuitively makes sense to Carly Ayres, the American digital designer who started a very successful slack group for other designers. Currently, the group hosts over 84 channels managed by 14 different admins.

Both believe there is a limit to the amount of information you can keep in your mind … limiting the number of valuable relationships, you can have.

There are two obvious counterarguments:

  1. The more people you have in your network, the greater the chance of opportunities.
  2. The more people you know, the better you’re able to connect them.

I disagree with both arguments. I believe opportunities will arise when you offer genuine value. Therefore you have to manage your relationships. And you simply can’t if your network is too big. 




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