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La loi de Metcalfe et le Web 2.0

Metcalfe's law states that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of users of the system (n2). First formulated by Robert Metcalfe in regard to Ethernet, Metcalfe's law explains many of the network effects of communication technologies and networks such as the Internet and World Wide Web.
[ Wikipedia


The blogosphere has started bubbling some interesting discussion of how Metcalfe’s Law applies to current Web 2.0 dynamics like social networking. Some IEEE types, Brad Feld, Niel Robertson, a PhD. student named Fred Stutzman, my partner Sim Simeonov, myself and a few others have posted on this in the last few weeks.


Bob Metcalfe, who invented the law in the first place and is my partner at Polaris (and who, along with Al Gore, invented the Internet…), offers his own view in a guest blog post below.


Metcalfe’s original insight was that the value of a communications network grows (exponentially, as it turns out) as the number of users grows.


All seem to agree that Metcalfe’s Law offers a good theoretical framework for thinking about Social Networks. Robertson argues that in addition to the number of users, the rank of a social network is another variable that should be considered when the law is applied to a social network as opposed to a communications network; Stutzman, on the other hand, suggests that one ought to add consideration of “the sum of actions and associations” enabled by a particular social network.


Not surprisingly, Metcalfe himself offers a more insightful and, I think, important contribution to the conversation — that to understand the value of a social network we need to consider not just the number of users but also the affinity between the members of the network.


 [ VCMike ]

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