The NFX Archives: Foundations for Mastering Network Effects


Since the arrival of the internet, network effects have become the most important source of value creation in the networked economy. Companies built on top of network effects have become the dominant players in the digital world, having created 70% of the value in tech over the past two decades.

Our understanding of network effects underlies much of what we do at NFX. As entrepreneurs, we started 10 network effect businesses worth over $10 billion, and we’ve previously published two of the most comprehensive online references on network effects:

  1. The NFX Manual — a deep dive into the 13 known types of network effects
  2. The NFX Bible — an in-depth explanation of all network effect-related concepts

Today, we’re releasing the third part of this series: the NFX Archives. Think of it like required, foundational reading for mastering how network effects work. These are the papers, articles, and books we read that proved to be invaluable for building strong, highly defensible companies.

This repository is always evolving and growing, and so we’ll continue to update and expand it. For now, there are three parts:

For your convenience, we’ve summarized the articles and their main points. If you want a deeper dive on any particular resource, we encourage you to click through and read the full article. We’ve found every article in this list to be worth the time investment.

We believe world-class Founders see what others do not. Our mission is to empower them in building companies that endure. We hope you find these resources just as invaluable to your journey as they were to ours.

Part I: Network Science

Network science, also known as graph theory in mathematics, is the academic study of complex networked systems and their real-world properties. This section includes a thorough survey of network fundamentals: what we currently know about the structure, behavior, dynamics, categories, and characteristics of different types of networks. For those interested, this collection of academic resources will give you the ability to look past the surface and understand the underlying patterns of our networked world at a deeper level.

1. The Small-World Problem