Advisor Case Study: An Army of INTJs

Ben Foster June 15 2021

The following is adapted from Build What Matters.

While I was at eBay, the product management team grew to over a hundred people. When the company conducted a Myers-Briggs profile assessment, results revealed that half of those product managers were INTJs. The INTJ personality type, often called the “Architect” or “Strategist,” makes up only 2 percent of the population (and less than 1 percent of women). I was one of those INTJs

For so many of the product managers to share such a rare personality type meant that there were too many like-minded people in the product team. Because like-minded people tend to hire like-minded people, it was a self-perpetuating problem. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but upon reflecting many years later, I was part of the problem. I was guilty of allowing a bias toward “Architects” and “Strategists” to shape my feedback on candidates, and I hadn’t yet come to appreciate the importance of bringing in a fresh perspective to a team.

Thankfully, once our leadership recognized this overconcentration of a single personality type, it took an active effort to hire more diverse candidates in product management, and I learned a tremendous amount through my interactions with those later hires. I honestly don’t think that I would have ever gained an awareness of my own blind spots, nor a desire to address them, without that experience of working with a more diverse peer group.

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Written by Ben Foster

Ben is a co-founder of Prodify and Principal Product Advisor / Coach. In his career, he has been the Chief Product Officer at WHOOP and GoCanvas, the VP of Product & Design at Opower (which went public in 2014) and previously worked for Marty Cagan at eBay.

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