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The Importance of the Network

June 30, 2013 4 comments

The Importance of Networking

The book Linked by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi simple aim is to get the reader to think network.

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi Book Linked

One of the interesting points of the book is the understanding that networks do not just exist in the realm of digital communications but are incorporated in the formation of international conglomerates, bacteria pandemics, terrorist organizations and cocktail parties. It becomes obvious through Barabasi’s examples that if anything interacts with any other thing, then there is a network.

There is no doubt that mathematicians, statisticians, nuclear scientist and sociologist would be able to discover something important to their work from this book. The book covers the growth of networking theory from the early Christian travels of Paul up to 2003 when the manuscript was first published.

As I am not involved in scientific research I have focused my attention on Barabasi’s insight into networking as it pertains to the opportunities in web design and structure of web sites. One of the earliest points that resonated with me was on page 31. There Barabasi states that “The strength of the web lies in its ability to string together individual documents into a huge network.”
network examples
Although most people involved in internet development these days should know this, I thought it was an interesting point coming from the observations of a physicist. Barabasi reiterates this point on page 57, where he states “That in order to be read you have to be visible.” As we all have learned that the more incoming links you have pointed to your website the more visible your website will be. If we think in terms of search bots, most websites with fewer than three back-linking documents are ignored. They simply do not exist.
Consider that six out of 10 pages are not visited by search engines; the likely hood of a page being index depends on its incoming links. Documents with only one incoming link will have only a 10% of chance of being indexed. Whereas documents with 20 or more links will have a 90% chance of being indexed.

illustrations of network connectionsThe importance of inbound linking is not only important to being bot searched and indexed but it is also important in the reach of ideas of information.

Barabasi presents an example of the importance of cohesive networking on page 172. Here Barabasi includes the research of Lada Adamic of Stanford University. Adamic explored the effectiveness of an integrated network of sites that share common interest. The research compared the sites of Pro-Choice and Pro-Life websites. Adamic concluded that the sites of Pro-Life were more collectively inter-connected by a tightly built network of shared links. It is because of this network that Pro-Life advocates could operate more effectively than Pro-Choice groups. Adamic suggested that legislation directed toward Pro-Life causes would have a greater degree of success than the efforts of Pro-Choice. The strongest network would hold the advantage.

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi

Since the writings of this book are now over ten years old, most of the theories of Barabasi are not new or earth shattering. I still think it is important to revisit the ideas. The book Linked reminds me of how interconnected we are and how if we maintain the importance of being connected our endeavor will be successful. It also sparked an idea for an experiment. My request, in order for you to participate in the grand experiment, is for you to create similar relevant content. Within the content of your post from a blog or website, incorporate a back-link to this post. Within the back-link have the anchor be: <a href=”http://wp.me/pYrnR-56″>The Importance of Networking.</a> Perhaps if done effectively the ideas of this post will not remained invisible.

Seth Godin and the Dip

Seth Godin teaches you when to quit or stick?

 
Seth Godin

I read a lot of references about Seth Godin but had not actually read anything by him and when I heard he had made his 5000 post on his blog, I thought I should check him out. I came across his book The Dip and read it in a couple of hours. I am not
bragging that I read it so quickly or that it was a book that I could not put down, it is just that it is a very little book and is a very easy read.

It is a little book but in fact it could have been shorten to one sentence: “Quit when you know you will not be successful, stick when you know you will be successful.”

The advise is simple enough and I am not sure why more people do not know about such a simple formula but I guess that is why the book needed to be written. Sometimes we just do not see the obvious until someone else points it out for us.

Seth even suggest that if you are not going to be successful avoid the dip all together by not trying. The question I have is how do you know if you are going to be successful until you have tried.

cover of the dip by seth godinHis example on page 54 uses the Boston Marathon as an analogy of succeeding when you can see that you are going to reach your goal and sticking through the urge to quit. He states that no one quits the race when they are in the last 25 miles because they can see the finish line.

This made me think how many runners who enter the marathon believe they will finish first. If the only runners who enter the race were runners who knew they would finish first, how many would enter the race. There must be some other reason for entering the race. There must be something more important to them then finishing first. Perhaps just being able to cross the finish line is a worthy goal.

If you are the second and third runner and you see number one about to cross the finish line should you quit because you know you are not going to finish in first place? The book does recommend quitting as an intelligent strategy.

On page 60 Mr. Godin tells us a story about poor Doug. Doug it seems has worked very hard in business development and sales. He handled the Microsoft account for seven years until he got a promotion and was put in charge of a division of 150 people the second largest division in the company. Then apparently tragedy strikes and Doug is promoted again. However it is only a lateral promotion to strategic alliances where he is well respected and is making a lot of money. Poor Doug he has worked his way into a respected division and is making a lot of money. Seth says it is time for him to quit and why should he quit, because Doug has hit a plateau. A plateau, doesn’t that mean he has made it out of the dip. He is on a plateau! I thought that was the point of the book. Doug worked through the dip. He made it to the top but Seth states that Doug is in a cul-de-sac and that his career is over.
the seth godin dip graph

Now I live on a street with a cul-de-sac at both ends of the street. I like it because there is very little traffic on our street and that brings up my second disagreement. Maybe some people like living on the cul-de-sac. Maybe Doug likes where he is. Maybe he likes being well respected and making a lot of money. I think he should be congratulated for his accomplishments. Doug ran the marathon and crossed the finish line.

I do agree with Seth that the dip creates a scarce percentage of people who will achieve number one because not everyone can endure the obstacles that confront them. The dip creates quality because mediocre will never be able to get out of the dip. I also agree that we need to reevaluate our game plan in order to determine if we are on the right track to our accomplishments. We have to be able to develop a long term plan so that we will be able to cut our losses if we see that we are not reaching the original goals. Unfortunately I don’t think the book accomplishes it’s goal. I don’t think the book offers anything instructive in determining when to quit or when to stick. I did conclude that may be what we need to learn is not when to quit or stick but when to alter our goals.

If you have any thoughts on The Dip by Seth Godin please post them. May be you got something out of the book that I missed.

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