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Robin Dunbar - Optimizing Human Connection (Dunbar's Number) - [Invest Like the Best, EP.367]

April 2, 2024

Invest Like the Best with Patrick O'Shaughnessy


My guest today is Robin Dunbar. Robin is a biological anthropologist, evolutionary psychologist, and specialist in primate behavior. He is the man behind Dunbar’s number, a theory about the number of stable relationships we can maintain at once. Robin unravels the thread of research that led him to Dunbar’s number and describes how this plays into every single person’s layers of human connection. It was fascinating to hear how his findings on social circles have implications for optimally structuring businesses and organizations, as well as the idea of homophily, all of which Robin thoughtfully explains. It was a treat to get to explore these topics with Robin Dunbar himself so please enjoy this great conversation.   Listen to Founders Podcast For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here. ----- This episode is brought to you by Tegus, the only investment research platform built for fundamental investors. Whether you’re trying to get up to speed on a new market or keep tabs on a portfolio company, Tegus is the end-to-end investment research platform you need. With Tegus, you can quickly understand a company's business model, drivers, benchmarks, and management quality. To monitor an entire market, download our pre-built financial models — or update your own with the latest data using Tegus’ new Excel Add-In. Tegus gives you all of this and more, all bundled into a single software license. Find out why 95% of the top 20 global private equity firms are Tegus customers. Learn more and get your free trial at ----- Invest Like the Best is a property of Colossus, LLC. For more episodes of Invest Like the Best, visit  Past guests include Tobi Lutke, Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger, John Collison, Kat Cole, Marc Andreessen, Matthew Ball, Bill Gurley, Anu Hariharan, Ben Thompson, and many more. Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @patrick_oshag | @JoinColossus Editing and post-production work for this episode was provided by The Podcast Consultant ( Show Notes: (00:00:00) Welcome to Invest Like the Best (00:04:39) The Journey to Discovering Dunbar's Number (00:07:28) Exploring the Layers of Human Connection (00:12:27) The Significance of the 1.5 Layer in Social Circles (00:16:55) Surprising Insights from Social Network Studies (00:20:40) Applying Dunbar's Number to Organizational Structures (00:27:51) The Science of Social Bonding in Primates and Humans (00:33:23) Unlocking the Endorphin System Without Physical Touch (00:34:10) The Power of Laughter, Singing, and Storytelling in Group Bonding (00:36:00) The Limitations of Digital Interactions for Building Relationships (00:39:51) Reviving Social Clubs and Activities for Workplace Bonding (00:44:40) The Importance of Homophily in Friendships and Social Networks (00:50:40) Challenges and Solutions for Overcoming Loneliness and Building Trust (00:53:45) The Impact of Technology, Religion, and Mental Health on Social Connections (00:61:47) Reflecting on Time as a Fundamental Aspect of Social Dynamics