***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** In another discussion group I'm on, someone asked the question, "What's the future value of 'pay it forward'?". In case you're not familiar, "pay it forward" is the idea, made popular by the movie of the same name, of not "returning" a favor, but rather "pay it forward" by doing three big favors for three other people. When they ask how they can pay you back, you say, "You can't. Pay it forward." Even if the trend is dampened with some kind of attrition rate, so long as the attrition rate is less than 66% (i.e., at least 1 out of 3 people continue the meme), it will continue to grow, exponentially. Given a finite number of people in the world, plus the nature of networks, then it's obvious that sooner or later, you're going to get more favors coming back to you then you did in the first place. That got me to thinking. you could actually model this: . Assume a network of n people. . Assume some kind of attrition rate (not everyone pays it forward, or at least not three times). . You don't pay it forward to the person who paid it forward to you, but once you get to 2, 3, 4 degrees of separation and higher, there's a certain possibility of paying it forward to someone who's already been "tagged" at least once, i.e., that person sees a "return" on what they paid forward. . As more and more people get tagged, there's an increasing probability of tagging someone who's already been tagged. Frankly, I don't have the knowledge of how to model this correctly, but I'd love to work on it with someone who does - I've got some ideas about the factors that would need to be considered. For someone who knows what they're doing, this isn't a very difficult model. I've been Googling this and can't find anything useful. If anyone's interested in working with me on this, or if you know of any existing or current research on the topic, please contact me off-list. Scott Allen Connections 512.215.9720 When an email just won't do <http://linktoyourworld.com/> Link to Your World The Relationship Economy is here, now <http://thevirtualhandshake.com/> The Virtual Handshake Opening doors and closing deals online <http://linkedintelligence.com/> Linked Intelligence The smart source for all things LinkedIn <http://entrepreneurs.about.com/> About Entrepreneurs Free resources to start and grow your business _____________________________________________________________________ SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.