Monday, July 27, 2009

Finally Something to Blog About

I know I have been very inconsistent, but I have just started reading Chris Anderson's latest book Free - which you can read for free in some versions. The Long Tail is my favorite book, and I am hoping this one can upstage it.

I am getting through it pretty quick and have a lot to say about it.

The first few chapters delve into the history of Free and how it has been used over the ages. One thing I found interesting was when talking about capitalism, socialism and primitive societies, Anderson talks about the link economy and how at a certain point the size of a group comes into play.

...the social bonds that police such mutual aid tend to fray when the size of the group exceeds 150 (termed the "Dunbar Number" -- the empirically observed limit at which the members of a human community can maintain strong links with one another).

When it comes to in-person events/communities/societies, anything greater than 150 tends to fall apart. But, the virtual world has changed all that.

As an association with various meetings and conferences, what if you capped them all at 150? If you provided the right atmosphere, tools and motivation, you could have events where all attendees continued to learn, share and form bonds with one another. I know that the Buzz2009 conference was held to a small number and that the organizers want to keep it that way specifically for the reasons above. Would it be worth it for your meetings?


Sue Pelletier said...

Give me a small group any day! The thing that saves larger meetings, I think, is that people naturally form into smaller groups within the bigger one--communities of interest, I guess you'd call them.

The problem is that then people don't mingle outside their group so much, so the cross-fertilization that we all look for at large meetings doesn't happen as much as we'd like.

But the most productive meetings are the smaller ones, at least in my experience.

KiKi L'Italien said...

Wow! This is definitely food for thought as I plan for the Annual Leadership Meeting for my organization's chapter folks. Our numbers are approching the limit, but not there yet. This will be something to meditate to be sure. Thanks for sharing!