What am I talking about? So the Erdős number notes the mathematician who dedicated a great deal of his life to working with other mathematicians, writing papers together to figure out problems. If your Erdős number is 1, you wrote a paper with him. If your Erdős number is two, you wrote a paper with someone who wrote a paper with Paul Erdős. According to Wikipedia (crowdsourcing, folks) “only 134,007 mathematicians have an Erdős number, with a median value of 5.”
I think this isn’t just a math thing, this is a life thing. Whether it’s the Butch Ward edict that the “wisdom is in the room” or the general notion that two heads are better than one, I’m convinced great things come from bouncing ideas off others. Now I know that Dunbar’s number states I cannot have this sort of meeting-of-the-minds with more than a dozen at a time.
Granted, my entire career has been built on this premise that you get ideas out to folks and let them play with those ideas and make them their own. I bet I can codify that. If you’ve worked with me on a newspaper, project, or disaster, you have a Kat Number of 1. (That’s what, 22 newspapers, a few blizzards, a zombie game and a terror attack?) Basic formula: If you’ve worked with someone of a Kat Number of 1, you have a Kat Number of 2.
Examples of people with Kat Numbers:
- Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You. Have you worked with Dorie? (She’s awesome, right?) That gives you a Kat Number of 2.
- MA Attorney General Maura Healey has a Kat Number of 2, since I’ve worked in the same newsroom as her media maven Chloe Gotsis.
- Ringo Starr has a Kat Number of 2, which he earned through a long interview with Krista Bradford (boss at The Good Search). Which means poor Paul McCartney has the high Kat Number of 3.
I shall presume Boston has a great number of Ones, and lots of Twos in the larger media markets. How big can one grow a personal network and not be Kevin Bacon? I’d say it’s totally on me to make that number higher, but I want us to work together on that. How big can we make that group of Kat Number 1?