All of this to say that we’ll do well to remember that the web is people all the way down. And that smaller networks mean more meaningful relationships.
… and being a small fish in a big pond:
When I lived in South Africa I thought what I wanted was to become an author and conference speaker. It was a bit easier there because there aren’t as many UX people as there are elsewhere in the world. And when I decided to move back to the US several people didn’t understand. “You’ll be a small fish in a big pond,” they said. “I know,” I would answer, “isn’t that awesome?”
The small fish bit appeals to me at this point in my life. Working to be the big fish is exhausting and there is always a younger, more energetic fish swimming further and faster. Just keeping up becomes a very unhealthy obsession. I think Rian has the right idea about this (and other aspects of being).