Episode 35: Social Capital – More Valuable than Gold

Steve leads the charge today in talking about Social Capital, which is “the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively.”

Or in layman’s terms: your social network.


  • Social Capital: The networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively. OR your network.
  • Weak Ties: Weak tie theory is the proposition that acquaintances are likely to be more influential than close friends, particularly in social networks. (Source)
  • Capital: capital goods or capital consists of “those durable produced goods that are in turn used as productive inputs for further production” of goods and services.
  • Career (One def’n): Having a developed network of professional collaborators who are willing to help you.
  • Matthew Effect: “The rich get richer, the poor get poorer”
  • Pierre Bourdieu: a French sociologist and public intellectual.
  • Symbolic Capital: can be referred to as the resources available to an individual on the basis of honor, prestige or recognition, and serves as value that one holds within a culture. A war hero, for example, may have symbolic capital in the context of running for political office. 
  • Canadian Trucker Convoy 
  • Pete Davidson (Comedian)
  • Kim Kardashian (Socialite)
  • Nouveau Riche: a term used, usually in a derogatory way, to describe those whose wealth has been acquired within their own generation, rather than by familial inheritance. The equivalent English term is the “new rich” or “new money” (in contrast with “old money”; fr. vieux riche).
  • Gentrification: the process of changing the character of a neighborhood through the influx of more affluent residents and businesses. It is a common and controversial topic in urban politics and planning.
  • Bowling Alone (Robert Putnam) – a book-length expansion of the original argument, adding new evidence and answering many of his critics. Though he measured the decline of social capital with data of many varieties, his most striking point was that many traditional civic, social and fraternal organizations – typified by bowling leagues – had undergone a massive decline in membership while the number of people bowling had increased dramatically.
  • Zero-Sum Game: a mathematical representation in game theory and economic theory of a situation which involves two sides, where the result is an advantage for one side and a loss for the other.
  • Metcalfe’s Law – the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n^2).
  • Bayesian Statistics – a theory in the field of statistics based on the Bayesian interpretation of probability where probability expresses a degree of belief in an event.
  • Cultural Capital – comprises the social assets of a person (education, intellect, style of speech, style of dress, etc.) that promote social mobility in a stratified society.
  • Institutional Capital – environmental elements embedded in organizational contexts, which can enhance resource allocation abilities; key success factor of institutional capital is effective resource management decisions in certain institutional environments. In this sense, institutional capital can be both “capability” and “institutional context”.
  • Edutainment – media designed to educate through entertainment. 
  • Altruistic Networking: A project Phil and Steve are going to do post-pandemic, giving talks and networking at various conventions (across industries and disciplines) with the explicit goal of helping those they meet through connections, and with no clear benefit to either of the podcasters.
  • The Go Giver (by Bob Burg) – a story about the power of giving.
  • Altruism – the principle and moral practice of concern for the happiness of other human beings or other animals. In an extreme case, altruism may become a synonym of selflessness, which is the opposite of selfishness
  • The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene – examines people’s conscious and unconscious drives, motivations, and cognitive biases.
  • Evolutionary Psych – a theoretical approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological structure from a modern evolutionary perspective.
  • Symbol – a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship.

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