Your Life is Driven by Network Effects

www.nfx.com

by James Currier (@JamesCurrier)

What city you live in. Who you date or marry. Which job you choose. What clothes you wear.We all think we make these choices ourselves. It certainly feels like we’re in full control. But it turns out that our choices — both in our startups and in our lives — are more constrained than we think. The unseen hand in all them is the networks that surround us and the powerful math they exert on us.

August's Key Takeaways:

  • Your life is shaped by the network topology of your life.
  • Systems that survive and operate at steady state optimize for efficiency.
  • Unconscious network forces will act on anyone or any company that gets to be an outlier in one or more of these distributions. Bringing you back in line — or bringing another person or company back in line to make room for your new numbers.
  • You are a node in each of the networks to which you belong. The other nodes - people - give you your ideas, your words and phrases, your assumptions, your desires, your fears and your beliefs.
  • The things these nodes all give you show up on your life dashboard as you navigate life. You make your decisions reading this dashboard and what the network presents to you there.
  • The mathematically obvious path will feel like “the right decision.” But note that what even shows up on your life dashboard is put there by your network. And the math associated with each option — the rewards and frictions and probabilities — are determined by your unique network.

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