Thursday, June 02, 2011

The optimal number of legs is between 2 and 3

VentureBeat has a post with various metrics for startups, trying to capture the relationship between success and the team's level of commitment, technical expertise, ability to adapt to market requirements, etc.

I found it interesting that the most successful number of founders is 2 to 3, which is the same number recommended for problem–solving work. Generally, a person working alone can come up with better ideas than a group, but doing it alone is very difficult psychologically: tough problems tend to be frustrating, the problem-solver needs a lot of persistence, social support, access to additional information, and friendly criticism. As the team grows over the magic number of 3, tensions increase, social loafing kicks in, and productivity suffers. There's even what is called Philippe's Law for software development productivity, which states that a team's productivity declines by the factor of cube root of number of people on the team:

Continuing with team numerology, the theory of social information in small worlds says that the optimal number of worlds for discovering useful information is between 2 and 3, but closer to 2. With the new data from startup research, the magic number seems to gravitate to the same value.

tags: psychology, social, network, productivity, startup,

No comments: