In the 1960’s, Stanley Milgram conducted a series of experiments in which individuals from Nebraska were asked to try and get letters delivered to unknown recipients in Boston. A person forwards the letter to a friend who is more likely to know the target. Letters arrived at the target, in an average of under six hops. This experiment is the earliest to verify the ‘small-world phenomenon’ (aka ‘six degree of separation’) that there exists a short path between almost any pair of individuals in the world.
Data Scientist at Facebook took Professor Milgram’s research to a new level, by analyzing the Facebook Social Graph. They found 99.6% of all Facebook users studied were separated by five degrees or less from any other Facebook user; 92% were separated by only four degrees. Furthermore, the scientist point out the distance appears to be shrinking.
The Lenddo community uses the small-world phenomenon, to help members prove creditworthiness and access life improving loans.
"Lenddo is the world’s first online community that empowers the Emerging Market Middle Class to use their online social connections to build their creditworthiness and access local financial services."
Children are getting education, grandparents are getting medicine, and leaky roofs are being fixed, all thanks to loans possible in the new “digital small world”.
Lenddo members link with Facebook to build their own trusted community, who in turn is connected to a their extended community, who are connected to others and eventually to networks of trusted individuals. At the core of the Lenddo system is a series of algorithms that analyze the connections between a prospective borrower and trusted individuals. If you have many strong and short “hops” to trusted individuals, a members ability to borrow increases. As more people pay back their loans, this trust pool grows, thus increasing the strength of the network and the borrowing capacity of the community.
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Photo Credit: AJC1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/ajc1/