28 essays from great minds tell the story of our connected lives quartered by Breakthroughs, Lifestyles,Technology, and Community in the May 7 issue of Forbes magazine - The Power of Networks. For anyone not familiar with all aspects of a connected world or needing a means to connect the dots, this issue should do the job.
Editor William Baldwin kicks off the issue with a re-framing of Metcalf's value of a network with Zipf's Law in his editorial, Making Connections. Zipf. a linguist, used the frequency of words usage as the determiner of value not just the number of connections in a network.
Plotting word frequencies, Zipf observed that the numbers corresponded to the reciprocals of the words' ranks on the frequency table. If the, the most common word in English, appears 10,000 times in a book, the tenth most common word will appear 1,000 times, the hundredth most common 100 times.
The sequence of receding values 1, 1TK2, 1TK3 …, called the harmonic series, crops up in all sorts of places. There's Zipf in the size of cities, in the popularity of Web sites, in the familiar rule of thumb that says a handful of good customers account for the bulk of a company's sales. If you have 1,745 customers, the 80-20 rule says the top 20%, or 349, will deliver 80% of the dollars.
Forbes.com has created a Corporate ORG Chart Wiki in beta which is a great start for helping the "hierarchy dependent" to possibly map the "informal organization" where we know the real work gets done! Let's all use the Forbes Org Wiki for this purpose as well.
Congrats to Forbes for the grand tour from our brains "synaptic networks" to the collective character our "global community" to do good.
~Victoria G. Axelrod