Here’s an interesting question:
“Hi Ivan – How are you? With BNI at 250,000 members in 70+ countries according to Dunbar we are all 1 degree of social connection from 38 million people, and 2 degrees from 5.6 Billion people (or about 3/4 of the worlds population). Dunbar says 150 people each so 250,000 x 150 x 150 = 5.6 billion people. Is this correct?”
I received this question in my inbox and it is a very reasonable “Ask Ivan” question. From a purely mathematical perspective it sounds true. However, the short answer is, “sorry, no.”
The idea that 5.6 billion people are ALL connected by six people is a myth.
Here’s why. The Dunbar Number is a sociological equation not a pure mathematical equation. For example, if you use pure math you must assume that there is no overlap between the 150 people you know and the 150 people I know. However, we both have many of the same 150 people in our own personal sphere (hence the sociological equation vs. a pure mathematical equation). In addition, don’t forget that Stanley Milgram’s “Six Degrees” is actually a fallacy. Check out this short video as to why:
Sorry. I don’t mean to be a “kill-joy.” It was a good question. Maybe the best question I’ve had in a long time. I like the way you think. I highly recommend for everyone to please continue to send me your questions and I will attempt to answer as many as possible.
– by Dr. Ivan Misner