Chapter 8: The Limits of Networks
NOW THAT THAT WE’VE unlocked the possibilities of the Internet, I must throw in a caveat: networks, despite our current excitement over Facebook, Twitter, and even such mainstays as MySpace and YouTube, have an inherent flaw—a ticking time bomb that most investors and many in the industry prefer not to face. Just as the human brain grows rapidly in infancy and then shrinks, so do networks of all kinds, including (and especially) Internet networks. Despite the cheerleading from these companies, they will not grow forever. It’s important to remember this if you are building a network, you’re an investor, or you are merely hitching your star to someone else’s network.
The good news is that networks may not grow forever, but they do follow the curve of the human brain: even when they are getting smaller, they supplant quantity with quality. Yes, just as humans find wisdom in old age, networks do as well.
The lesson in this is that even though all networks stop growing, they grow stronger as they age.