1% everyday: team composition

Tom Peters: the ideal 25-person product development team is: 15 WOMEN. 10 MEN. 10 AGE 50 PLUS.

For some context … in the 1970s Tom Peters wrote the book In Search of Excellence. From then until now in his late 70s he has been obsessed with businesses and how they can be excellent. He has made a career of being a consultant, guru, trainer to the C-level around the world. To this day he rails against the C-level and wants them to change.

Here is what Tom Peters says about team composition:

“If you pay attention to demographics and purchasing power…”

The ideal 25-person product development team is: 15 WOMEN. 10 MEN. 10 AGE 50 PLUS.

If people paid attention product teams would do many things different. Most of the time it is simpler to hire people who are:

  • In your own image
  • In the Jones’ image
  • Available
  • Cheap
  • In the know

Maybe we should hire because:

  • They demonstrate customer empathy
  • They are familiar with the customer segment
  • They bring diversity of thought

Research on buying power:




Consider the following:

  • Who makes the purchases? – women (~89% of purchases world wide)
  • Who how has the most purchasing power? – people over 50 (~52% of purchases in the US)
  • Networth? – people over 50 (>15X the networth of people under 35)
  • So why aren’t we designing better products for people over 50?
  • Why don’t we have more designers over 50?
  • Is Tom Peters ratio a good one?

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