FASTer - Issue #132

Cracking the Code: Unveiling the Dunbar Number Principle in the Digital Era 🕵️‍♂️🔢📱

We're a generation deeply immersed in the digital landscape, and while we thrive here, it's easy to feel swamped by the ceaseless influx of information and connections. As a fellow entrepreneur, I've been down this path, and I'm here to unveil the Dunbar Number Principle—a secret weapon to help us strike a harmonious balance between our digital lives and authentic connections.

Demystifying the Dunbar Number Principle

The Dunbar Number Principle is the brainchild of British anthropologist Robin Dunbar. His extensive research explored the size of human social groups, both historically and in contemporary society. What emerged was a fascinating revelation: the maximum number of stable social relationships a person can maintain in an offline world is roughly 1500. Meaning you can recognize up to 1500 people.

But what does this signify for us in our digitally-driven era? Let's break it down.

Offline Realm: 5……1500

In the real world, according to Dunbar's studies, our social relationships can be categorized as follows:

  1. 5 Close Relationships: These are your ride-or-die companions—the ones who have your back through thick and thin.

  2. 15 Good Friends: These individuals are your trusted circle, the friends you can rely on for support and camaraderie.

  3. 50 Friends: These are your broader social group, people you genuinely care about and enjoy spending time with.

  4. 150 Familiar Relationships: These are individuals you know fairly well. Not best buddies, but you'd nod and smile if you bumped into them at the local coffee shop.

  5. 500 Acquaintances : This group comprises people you recognize, perhaps from various social contexts, and you may have had some meaningful interactions with them.

  6. 1500 People You can recognize: In this category, these are individuals you can put a name to when you see them, even if your interactions are minimal or purely recognition-based.

Now, let's transport this intriguing principle to the digital sphere.

Digital Onslaught: Beyond 1500

In our digital age, we're exposed to a staggering number of individuals thanks to the vast expanse of social media, online networking, and the global reach of the internet. It's commonplace to have thousands, or even tens of thousands, of online connections.

Here's the twist: our brains still operate on the same principles as our ancestors did, irrespective of the digital overload. This means that even though our online contacts may number in the thousands, we can only genuinely nurture a limited number of meaningful relationships.

Finding Equilibrium in the Digital Universe

So, what's the key takeaway for us, tech-savvy entrepreneurs? It's perfectly normal to feel inundated by the enormity of the digital world. You don't need to keep up with every notification, post, or connection request. Instead, focus on cultivating and cherishing those meaningful relationships that fall within your Dunbar Number.

  1. Nurture Your Inner Circle: Just like in the offline world, your inner circle of close relationships should take precedence. Dedicate time and effort to these connections, both on a personal and professional level.

  2. Quality Trumps Quantity: Gauge your success not by the quantity of online connections, but by the depth and quality of your interactions. Substantive conversations and collaborations hold greater value.

  3. Establish Digital Boundaries: It's imperative to set digital boundaries. Allocate specific time slots for meaningful interactions, but also create moments for yourself and your business to breathe without the constant digital barrage.

  4. Regularly Assess Your Network: Periodically evaluate your online connections. Are there individuals you've drifted away from or connections that no longer serve a purpose? Fearlessly prune your digital network to make space for more profound connections.


It’s the year 2023. Your growth outcomes are permission less and dependent on you alone. Marketing is the link between you and the rest of the internet, using the internet it self…

This video of a beauty product seller should serve as your guide and inspiration to understand the generational un bundling that happened from tv, print, radio ads and corporations to individuals, ideas and simple products. Invest your time in your outcomes vs worrying about seeking permission from others.

One New Thing (That you should know)

The football huddle was first invented by a deaf college team (Gallaudet University) in 1894 to keep the opposing team (also deaf) from reading their plays which were signed in ASL.

Boring Stuff That Scales

A Professional Life Enjoyer. An alternate take on why boring stuff scales but boring people rarely do.

What You Should Be Watching

Thought-provoking documentary on war propaganda: how governments manipulate the facts and how most media let them get away with it. WWI, Vietnam War, post-2001 Afghanistan, post-2003 Iraq, Palestine: a historical account of PR, embedded journalism, lies and cover-ups, but also of courageous journalists who disclose the truth.

Monetize your time - at any skill level

AI is about to eat the world? Or has it already. Every day people are thinking of incredible use-cases to deploy AI. Here are some interesting ones. You have limited time to learn skills, if you are in the market to learn one new skill, be it prompt engineering because you too can execute the following:

One Last Thing

I covered the founder of Epic systems some editions ago. What I recently learnt about the company was this:

Deep Space, the colossal gathering place for Epic Systems' monthly "Staff Meeting," is more than just a nickname – it's a spectacle in its own right. This remarkable piece of real estate often goes unnoticed by many of the 12,000 employees who converge there every month. Here are some mind-blowing facts about this awe-inspiring structure:

  1. Capacity Beyond Imagination: Deep Space has the ability to host a staggering 11,400 employees for the monthly "Work Church" gathering. This is no ordinary meeting room; it's a vast space that can accommodate a small city's worth of people.

  2. Unprecedented Scale: The sheer size of Deep Space is difficult to fathom. It's not just spacious; it's colossal, stretching to dimensions that are almost record-breaking. The building itself is a testament to human ingenuity and architectural prowess.

  3. A Gathering Like No Other: When thousands of Epic Systems employees come together, it creates a sense of unity and purpose that's hard to match. Deep Space becomes a hive of activity, buzzing with the energy of a workforce committed to healthcare tech innovation.

  4. An Epic Experience: For many employees, attending the "Work Church" at Deep Space is more than just a monthly meeting; it's an experience that leaves a lasting impression. The grandeur of the space adds an extra layer of significance to the occasion.

  5. Architectural Marvel: Deep Space is not just a place of work; it's a piece of architectural art. Its design and scale make it a unique and iconic structure, setting it apart from conventional corporate meeting spaces.

  6. Community Building: The act of gathering 11,400 individuals in one place fosters a sense of community and camaraderie among Epic Systems employees. It's a reminder that they are part of something much larger than themselves.

  7. Inspiration in Architecture: Deep Space serves as a testament to the power of innovative design and construction. It pushes the boundaries of what is possible, inspiring those who enter its grand halls to think big and dream even bigger.

The "Staff Meeting" at Epic Systems is a monthly gathering where company updates, communication, recognition, training, motivation, and team-building activities take place. It's a comprehensive event aimed at fostering engagement and alignment among employees.

In a world where the enormity of such spaces can sometimes be overlooked in the hustle and bustle of daily life, Deep Space stands as a reminder of the remarkable feats that can be achieved when human imagination meets architectural brilliance. It's not just a meeting place; it's a symbol of the epic endeavors that the healthcare tech company, Epic Systems, embarks upon each day. Imagine starting your work day here, or concluding your monthly round up here? Do you think this has a measurable result on the outcomes of the employees beyond their work life alone?

Bonus! Thought(s) of the week

Go big or go home, the simple pitch deck to the most expensive single day advertising in the world. Do you think companies can change their sales outcomes by advertising here? Is the price worth the money? Are the outcomes measurable? People seem to be lining up to pay 500k a day almost for the privilege. Would you?