We Are All Connected

Have you ever heard of the parlour game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”? It’s a parlour game based on the "six degrees of separation" concept which posits that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart.

While working at the University of Paris in the early 1950s, in a mathematical manuscript named “Contacts and Influences”, mathematician Manfred Kochen concluded that in a U.S.-sized population, "it is practically certain that any two individuals can contact one another by means of at most two intermediaries… And perhaps for the whole world's population, probably only one more bridging individual should be needed." Subsequent Monte Carlo simulations were later carried out on the relatively limited computers of 1973 were able to predict that a more realistic three degrees of separation existed across the U.S. population.

In August 2008, researchers at Microsoft studied records of 30 billion electronic conversations among 180 million people in various countries. According to the Washington Post, this was 'the first time a planetary-scale social network has been available'. The database covered all the Microsoft Messenger instant-messaging network in June 2006, equivalent to roughly half the world's instant-messaging traffic at that time.

Eric Horvitz and fellow researcher Jure Leskovec considered two people to be acquaintances if they had sent one another a message. They looked at the minimum chain lengths it would take to connect 180 billion different pairs of users in the database. They found that the average length was 6.6 hops, and that 78 per cent of the pairs could be connected in seven steps or fewer.

In Utah it gets even more interesting. Realize that Utah was originally settled by Mormons, and the Mormons at that time lived polygamy (and the Fundamentalist Mormons still do). My own great-grandfather Orson Pratt (who died about 140 years ago) had I believe 10 wives and 45 children. And Orson wasn’t the most prolific Mormon, in terms of progeny or offspring. Orson’s brother Parley P. Pratt also had many wives and children— I do not know how many. And in the book “The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt”, it is documented that pretty much all of the original Mormon pioneers were actually cousins to each other.

What this means is that I think that the majority of the population of Utah is related to each other. Most Utahn’s are connected, and I ceased being surprised long ago when someone comes up with a new connection. If somebody wants to find “related” connections for nefarious purposes of their own, they will be able to do so. But it means absolutely nothing.

Folks, it doesn’t matter what somebody else does. There will always be *somebody* that the detractors, defamers, naysayers, and falsifiers will be able to point a finger to, and claim it applies to you. It does not. What matters is what *you* do.

This concept carries over into business. Ideas mean nothing. Execution is everything. As Gary Vaynerchuk says, “Ideas are shit, execution is the game. I’ve seen a hell of a lot of people execute on less than average ideas to build amazing lives. There are so many businesses making hundreds of thousands of dollars on totally mediocre ideas”.

Just. Make. It. Happen.

And ignore everybody else. Let ‘em squawk from the sidelines, and live their lives in mediocrity, while you go on to build an amazing life.