John Seely Brown interviewed by Wired.
August 16, 2000 6:02 AM   Subscribe

John Seely Brown interviewed by Wired. The former head of Xerox Parc. There were two really insightful quotes I came across in this article;

Lurk is the cognitive apprenticeship term for legitimate peripheral participation. The culture of the Internet allows you to link, lurk, and learn. Once you lurk you can pick up the genre of that community, and you can move from the periphery to the center safely asking a question.

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Bob Metcalfe has it all wrong: The power of a network isn't the square of the number of people - it's the number of communities it supports. If you look at n people, there are potentially 2**n communities.

I've actually wondered about Metcalfe's law. This n^2 has always seemed metaphorical to me, but it seems a lot of people mention it as if it were a literal relationship. What is the "value" of a network anyway? Anyone know of research on this?
posted by lockecito (2 comments total)

if 2**n is the power function of a network then

for 2 people, there are 4 communities.
[1], [2], [2,1], [1,2] XXXX Too many!

for 3 people, there are 8 communities.
[1], [2], [3], [1,2], [1,3], [2,3], [1,2,3] XXXX Too few!

It seems that there for n people, there can only be n!+1
communities, which is still better than n^2.
posted by rschram at 8:08 AM on August 16, 2000

There are, actually, 2^N possible communities. That's almost always less than N^2.
posted by baylink at 2:44 PM on August 16, 2000

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