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14.04.16 / Why are we called OneFifty?

It’s one of the things we get asked the most.

A bit like website dwell time, that’s a data point which can be taken as either a positive or negative. Do they ask because it is so thought-provoking and memorable, fully conveying the range of our values and proposition? Or is it because it is confusing and unclear?

Naturally we opt for the former. None the less, although we mentioned it when we launched, it merits expansion.

So, Why OneFifty as a name?

Well, it is inspired by Professor Dunbar. He is such an inspiring chap, he got a number named after him. We kid you not. That’s serious #lifegoals, right there, eh?

150 was the number.

But what did he do, and why is it relevant?

Well, his research (you can read more, much more, here or here) is illuminating on the nature of human connections. Throughout communities, from primitive to modern, villages to factories, social networks to parishes, the number hovers around or just below 150.

It acts as an upper bound for the number of active social connections a human can maintain.

That felt incredibly relevant as an expression of the challenge we fundamentally address: how to meaningfully connect with people on a social level. Our tools of choice are typically social or digital ones, but the premise remains the same: in a world in which we are hardwired by biology to have a cognitive limit to our connections, how can you earn your way into that elect group?

Now, there’s an absence of research as to whether organisations are included as part of this number. Although this research on phone calls (for example) rather suggests (but doesn’t prove) that technology merely services our existing capacity for connections, rather than augmenting it.

Did we think about other names? Sure. One day we might use some of them. They were pretty cool. But nothing summed up, so succinctly, our fundamental purpose. Or indeed, on an existential level, ALL of our existential purposes.

BUT – we’re “OneFifty”. Written in full. No space. Capitals. Always. Unicorns cry when people call us “150”.


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