The post has been reproduced from my blog at 21Publish.
As I've started to put myself in the shoes of customers and prospective customers of 21Publish, I not only try to absorb the technology environment people are facing but also try to consider the culture and organizational processes that they follow and/or want to implement. To be frank, sometimes it can be overwhelming to talk with people of all walks of life from fishing to K-12 education to Southeast Asian Health initiatives, but I find the discussions fascinating and humbling too.
One aspect that I have been trying to keep in the back of my mind during these discussions is this. For those that have read Malcolm Gladwell's book, "The Tipping Point", you may recall loose references to optimum community sizes of 150. Now as you may recall, 21Publish launched a free pricing plan configuration that covers 100 users. Is that the right number? Who knows? But I will say that registrations have ramped up fast since we introduced this. I hope that we are adding value.
I have found it interesting to revisit some of the theories behind the Dunbar Number. Christopher Allen has an incredible (but older) post about the Dunbar Number. Here's a select snip from Christopher's post (but you should really read the whole thing if you can):
Dunbar's theory is that this 42% number would be true for humans if humans had not invented language, a "cheap" form of social grooming. However, it does show that for a group to sustain itself at the size of 150, significantly more effort must be spent on the core socialization which is necessary to keep the group functioning. Some organizations will have sufficient incentive to maintain this high level of required socialization. In fact the traditional villages and historical military troop sizes that Dunbar analyzed are probably the best examples of such an incentive, since they were built upon the raw need for survival. However, this is a tremendous amount of effort for a group if it's trying not just to maintain cohesion, but also to get something done.
I also like the matrix of mean group size vs. neocortex ratio done by the Boston Consulting Group. Little did I know that they had monkey frameworks to complement the infamous farm animal-growth share matrix of the stars, cash cow, dog, and problem child or (?) ...