Pitch practicePITCH YOUR IDEA TO A CTO:LET’S ESTABLISH A BASELINE
Being a startup engineer sucks• Nobody understands what you actually do• Nobody even speaks your language• Nobody understands your motivations and desires• Everybody wants to talk to you all the time• Nobody understands why your work is running later than expected• It’s all about money
The unique psychology of engineers How it feels to you
The unique psychology of engineers What worries them
Why the dissonance?• You have all the communication skills• It’s really all about the money• They may have their own startup idea• Engineering myth: great products market and sell themselves
What is a CTO?• Geeky core• Thin nerdy layer CEO CTO CTO• Maturity and experience (not same thing)• Leadership skills• Project management skills
CTO expression exerciseWHY IS A CTO IMPORTANT?
Why CTOs are important• A developer can build what you specify, but can’t build what you can’t yet specify• A CTO can tell you what you should specify• A CTO can also help build what you can’t yet specify
Why CTOs are important• Appreciate broad direction of industry• Watches your competitors as closely as you do• Leads a tech team and manages performance• Additional spokesperson to a key audience• Involved in recruitment process across startup• Key ‘human capital’ for investors
What do CTOs need in a product idea?• Interesting problems• Opportunities to shine to a broader tech community• Recognition and respect• A chance at no longer being a wage slave
Rube Goldberg machineClassic interesting problem
Where to find potential CTOs?• StartupWeekend.org• http://hackfest.openaustralia.org• SiliconBeachAustralia.org• Pollenizer.com• AirBnB
How to pitch to a CTO• Reduce the visible differences• Research your subjects• Learn enough jargon to express your needs• Be honest about what you don’t know• Approach as a peer• Leave lots of grey areas
Pitch practice: the sequelPITCHING YOUR IDEA TO A CTO,ONCE MORE, BUT BETTER
How to quickly assess CTO capacity1. Eye contact and meeting skills2. Depth and breadth of professional network3. Thinks before having an opinion on your business ideas4. Has interesting insights into marketing, customer service, sales5. Wants to seek advice from others
CTO non-cash compensation/rewards• Time to identify interesting problems and solve them
CTO non-cash compensation/rewards• Public recognition of their prowess to their peers and yours – Twitter – Blog – Meetups and pitches – Nerdy gifts, gift vouchers for thinkgeek.com, Amazon
CTO non-cash compensation/rewards• Input into non-dev business issues – Customer marketing – Investor relations – Customer support• Less business management, more process – Briefer, more informal reporting – Care more about the destination than the journey
More tools andreading• OK Go: Rube Goldberg machine music video http://youtu.be/qybUFnY7Y8w• http://mashable.com/2011/05/07/cto-startup-hiring/• http://www.quora.com/Startup-Advice-and-Strategy/Whats-the-best-way- to-recruit-a-CTO-to-a-start-up-company• http://www.founder2be.com/• http://cofounderspeeddate.com.au• Recruitloop.com• ‘Smart & Gets Things Done’ – Joel Spolsky• ‘Managing Humans’ – Michael Lopp• ‘The Mythical Man Month’ – Fred Brooks• Thanks to CEOs Maria Sipka, Catherine Prosser for CTO-finding ideas
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