By Mayo Ogunlabi
Reporter, BBC Radio 4's More or Less
It all started when the producer said, "I wonder if this 'six degrees of separation' theory is true: could everyone in the world really be connected to everyone else through just six people?'"
More or Less
Thursday, 13 July, 2006
BBC Radio 4, 1500 GMT
He asked me to find out.
I made a random choice, 21-year-old Steven Conricode, who had announced his birthday in the Scunthorpe Telegraph.
He lived in Grimsby, I had absolutely no connections to Grimsby, so this was going to be interesting. I began in earnest.
I asked a few friends in the office, my friend Sonia came through first.
She knew a guy called Dan with Grimsby connections.
Dan knew a guy called Mark, who was very proud of his Grimsby roots.
Now, Mark had left Grimsby, but he knew a woman called Joyce (his best friend's mum). Joyce still lived in Grimsby, and had a nephew called John, who lived in the same area as Steven - Wybers Wood.
I gave John a call filled with anticipation that I would complete my mission in an amazing five steps, but suddenly the trail stopped.
He did not know anyone else in the area and neither did his wife.
I was so disappointed, just when I was gathering momentum.
Anyway, I turned back to Joyce hoping she would have more contacts and she did.
Her young niece, Danielle, who she said knew someone who lived in the Wybers Wood area; could it be Steven?
Sadly, no, but she did know a boy called Ben! Did Ben know Steven?
Ok. I had to think quick to keep the search alive: 16-year-old Danielle had just left a school very near Wybers Wood.
So, with renewed hope I did my second about turn and called the school and spoke to a Mrs Nevin who told me that a Matthew Conricode went to the school.
Conricode! The surname that had proved so elusive was now being uttered.
Had I found the final piece of the puzzle?
Was this Steven's brother?
You bet he was!
So that is how I came to be connected - granted in eight rather than six steps - but connected nonetheless, to 21-year-old Steven Conricode, from Grimsby.
"Hey, Steven," I said. "Did you know we've got what feels like half of Grimsby trying to find a connection with you?"
"Really?" said Steven. "That's mad isn't it?"