Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Dunbar's Number works both ways

Seth made a compelling argument last week that it’s extremely difficult to maintain quality relationships with more than 150 people.  He postulates that, if we believe Dunbar’s Number and theory to be true, it’s impossible to maintain close, meaningful relationships with the thousands of followers we try to collect via Facebook, Twitter, or blogs, and so forth.

And he’s right.  But Dunbar’s Number goes two ways.

If you’re building a following – for yourself, your brand, your cause, etc. – you’re creating value for your followers.  And although you can’t possibly have close relationships with thousands of followers, you very well may be among the 150 people your followers include in their Number.

Put another way, if you’re creating enough value for your audience, in an authentic and sustainable way, you can earn your way into their 150.  Into their inner circle, the influences they consider most important to their lives.  And if you can do that with enough followers, then scaling your volume into the thousands, tens of thousands and beyond can be an incredibly powerful opportunity.

Seth himself is a great example of this.  Tens of thousands of people worldwide read his blog and books, many on a daily basis.  For those people, he’s in the top-tier of their marketing and general business influencers.  He’s in their 150. 

That’s a position of authority, respect and influence that’s reachable for more of us.

Think about you target audience, your target customer.  What do they care about, think about on a daily basis?  What do you have to offer that can earn your way into their 150?  Then, how are you delivering value every day to keep that position?



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