Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Model Thinker #9 : Network Models

Image result for node vertex

A fully blown discussion on Network Analysis goes beyond what is possible for a simple blog article.

I'm only going to focus on qualitative analysis of networks and just one trait that is important for layman readers. 

The betweenness of a network is defined as the number of paths of minimum length connecting two nodes of a network that passes through a node. This is mathematically expressed as a percentage. The higher the betweenness of a node the more powerful or influential a node is.

People or communities that have a high betweenness score wield extraordinary levels of power and  influence within society. This trust is not earned by just being at the right place and the right time, but a genuine effort to build trust is required to succeed. 

Later this evening, I will be attending a dinner hosted by Seedly. And in complete honesty, I will be looking for opportunities to see if I can collaborate with them over the medium or long term. 

Seedly is an an example of a node in the financial blogosphere that wields an influence far above any individual institution or blogger on its own. Even the folks who work in Seedly seemed surprised that their last event sold 1000+ tickets within 48 hours, effectively establishing themselves as the de facto hub for Millenials seeking information on personal finance. It was also very exciting for a speaker/trainer to address a much younger and energetic crowd because we're all too used to talking to jaded senior investors who keep wanting to know how to market time their investment purchases.

In my opinion, the power that drives the network effects that pushed Seedly to its prominent position is its unflinching commitment to being unbiased, which has become a bugbear to the commissioned financial advisors on Facebook. I would imagine that most banks or insurance companies, even with their large amounts of capital, would find it a struggle to attract young investors these days because  people are aware of that conflict of interest that comes from building a relationship that they know would result in sales commissions going to whoever is talking to them. 

In this case, the game plays well to Seedly's strengths : They do not need to be totally unbiased, just more unbiased than the Financial industrial complex present in Singapore today. 

Very far behind Seedly in terms of influence is The BigScribe Community that I personally love very much ( I own shares in BigS ) . BIgScribe is actually more unbiased in that we do not have commissioned advisors in our team of admins. BIgScribe's network effects are weaker because we have deeper and stronger financial discussions and denizens are expected to keep the quality of the discussion at a high level. This means that Bigscribe has a much lower appeal to the mainstream audience. 

The lesson for bloggers is that, one way or another, you can drive traffic and influence by playing on both Seedly and BigScribe's strength. 

When it comes to networks, it is not a zero sum game. If you can game this and become something that forms a link between these two networks, you should be able to find a way to in win in whatever you are trying to do. 


  1. Well, it depends on what stage of growth you're at and/or what market you'd like to focus on. In terms of building the initial base, most will adopt a network approach of mass appeal, open, practical, understandable, value proposition that is obvious & easy to grasp. Focus will be on marketing, mass outreach, and getting your value propositions out to them.

    In terms of market segments, millennials will be *the* (and in many cases already are) main consumer base, hence it's mainly knowing what they want & getting under their skins & inside their heads. Probably fresh, no BS, straight talking, what's in it for me versus what's in it for you openness, practical approach.

    As the biz or project matures, then there may be greater incentive to focus on higher value activities, focusing on narrow depth rather than shallow breadth. Just like banks with mass market, mass affluent, HNW and finally UNHW. So you'll have different service levels, differentiated communication in style & contents, products from cookie-cutter mass produced to bespoke customised.

  2. Wow ! I will take guidance from what you mentioned in your second paragraph.

    This is a good reminder for me to build a free (public talks), paid (courses) and cheem (this blog) product lines to reinforce my personal brand so that I can cater to different audiences.