The Power of Viral Growth, Information Post-Scarcity, and the Rise of Aggregation



Sep 16, 20233 min read


The Power of Viral Growth, Information Post-Scarcity, and the Rise of Aggregation


Viral growth has become a coveted phenomenon in the digital landscape, with YouTube being a prime example of its success. However, it is crucial to understand that sustaining true viral growth is incredibly rare. In this article, we will explore the concept of viral growth, the implications of information post-scarcity, and how aggregation is becoming increasingly important in our evolving digital world.

Viral Growth and its Metrics:

To truly appreciate the rarity of sustained viral growth, we must recognize that very few products maintain a viral factor over 1 for a significant period of time. For consumer internet products, a sustainable viral factor of 0.15 to 0.25 is considered good, while 0.4 is great, and around 0.7 is outstanding. When the viral factor is less than one, it can be interpreted as the amplification factor, where a = 1/(1-v). This amplification factor helps calculate the total number of users by multiplying the number of users acquired through non-viral channels.

Information Post-Scarcity and the Role of Aggregation:

The advent of technology has led to an overabundance of information, which in turn creates a poverty of attention. In this era of information post-scarcity, the challenge lies in allocating attention efficiently among the plethora of information sources. This need for efficient allocation has given rise to the emergence of a new profession known as "information managers." These individuals combine the skills of computer scientists, librarians, publishers, and database experts to help us discover and manage information effectively.

The Rise of LLMs and the Importance of Security:

Language models, such as LLMs, play a significant role in amplifying the abundance of information in our digital world. However, the use of LLMs raises concerns about security and the web's feudal structure. Cryptographically signing everything, similar to signing a transaction in a web3 wallet, has the potential to break the traditional security model of the web. Self-sovereign keys, on the other hand, enable user-owned data and reduce the chokepoints that can lock users into specific platforms. This shift towards user-owned keys may result in a faster emergence of aggregators and increased competition, ultimately disrupting the incumbent network effect.

Commoditization of LLMs and the Role of Open Source:

While LLMs have the potential to become a durable moat for companies, there is mounting pressure to commoditize them. Open source models, in particular, have a competitive advantage as they enable permissionless innovation. The release of Stable Diffusion, an open source model, resulted in a proliferation of product concepts and demos, showcasing the power of permissionless models in driving variety and innovation.


In conclusion, viral growth, information post-scarcity, and the rise of aggregation are interconnected concepts shaping the digital landscape. To thrive in this evolving environment, businesses and individuals must adapt and leverage these trends effectively. Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Focus on sustainable growth: Instead of chasing unattainable viral growth, aim for a sustainable viral factor within the range of 0.15 to 0.25.
  • 2. Embrace information management: With information abundance, invest in developing skills and tools to efficiently locate, filter, organize, and summarize information.
  • 3. Embrace open source and user-owned keys: Embracing open source models and user-owned keys can foster innovation, disrupt incumbents, and provide users with greater control over their data.

By understanding and harnessing the power of viral growth, information post-scarcity, and aggregation, individuals and businesses can navigate the ever-changing digital landscape and unlock new opportunities for growth and success.

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