50 People Maximum Tractable Headcount in Startups, Experts Say

SAN LUIS OBISPO — A recent study from the University of Southern California has found startups’ headcount “golden ratio” to have a mean of 50 people, with a standard deviation of 3. The research performed by a multidisciplinary team of social and anthropological scientists shows that most CEOs leading skills do not scale well beyond this number, a point which flags the start of what the study refers to ‘the impromptu phase’, as well as the end of what is described as ‘the fun part’. The report confirms that beyond this 50-people mark, desk location negotiations becomes analogous to NATO-Russia high-level talks and—especially—pulling jokes around the workplace becomes a minefield, where the probability of good-natured banter offending someone reaches a staggering 0.9998.
The study concludes by urging decision-makers to think thrice before crossing beyond such metric, or face up the consequences.