Recruiting a  founding CTO         Thursday, 6th September 2012Alan Jones| @bigyahu | alan@thenewagency.com.au
I’m very old               me    you
the chief hindsight officer• Started first degree in 1983• Did my first tech startup in 1995• All my advisory ‘wisdom’ bas...
Brainstorm exerciseWHAT IS AN ENGINEER?
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 understa...
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...
What is a CTO?• Geeky core• Thin nerdy layer             CEO                                     CTO                      ...
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 tel...
Why CTOs are important•   Appreciate broad direction of industry•   Watches your competitors as closely as you do•   Leads...
What do CTOs need in a product idea?• Interesting problems• Opportunities to shine to a broader tech  community• Recogniti...
Rube Goldberg machineClassic interesting problem
Where to find potential CTOs?•   StartupWeekend.org•   http://hackfest.openaustralia.org•   SiliconBeachAustralia.org•   P...
You’re a CEO     You dress for business
He’s a CTO    He dresses for comfort
How to pitch to a CTOGo native… a bit.
How to pitch to a CTO•   Reduce the visible differences•   Research your subjects•   Learn enough jargon to express your n...
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 b...
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  – Mee...
ThinkGeek.com
CTO non-cash compensation/rewards• Input into non-dev business issues  – Customer marketing  – Investor relations  – Custo...
More tools andreading• OK Go: Rube Goldberg machine music video  http://youtu.be/qybUFnY7Y8w• http://mashable.com/2011/05/...
ANY QUESTIONS?alan@thenewagency.com.au@bigyahuhttp://www.slideshare.net/bigyahu/
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Recruiting a founding CTO

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How to find and recruit a great Chief Technical Officer (CTO). Lean startup skills for new entrepreneurs, from General Assembly Sydney class 2012

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Recruiting a founding CTO

  1. 1. Recruiting a founding CTO Thursday, 6th September 2012Alan Jones| @bigyahu | alan@thenewagency.com.au
  2. 2. I’m very old me you
  3. 3. the chief hindsight officer• Started first degree in 1983• Did my first tech startup in 1995• All my advisory ‘wisdom’ based on my own past f*ckups
  4. 4. Brainstorm exerciseWHAT IS AN ENGINEER?
  5. 5. Pitch practicePITCH YOUR IDEA TO A CTO:LET’S ESTABLISH A BASELINE
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. The unique psychology of engineers How it feels to you
  8. 8. The unique psychology of engineers What worries them
  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. What is a CTO?• Geeky core• Thin nerdy layer CEO CTO CTO• Maturity and experience (not same thing)• Leadership skills• Project management skills
  11. 11. CTO expression exerciseWHY IS A CTO IMPORTANT?
  12. 12. 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
  13. 13. 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
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. Rube Goldberg machineClassic interesting problem
  16. 16. Where to find potential CTOs?• StartupWeekend.org• http://hackfest.openaustralia.org• SiliconBeachAustralia.org• Pollenizer.com• AirBnB
  17. 17. You’re a CEO You dress for business
  18. 18. He’s a CTO He dresses for comfort
  19. 19. How to pitch to a CTOGo native… a bit.
  20. 20. 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
  21. 21. Pitch practice: the sequelPITCHING YOUR IDEA TO A CTO,ONCE MORE, BUT BETTER
  22. 22. 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
  23. 23. CTO non-cash compensation/rewards• Time to identify interesting problems and solve them
  24. 24. 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
  25. 25. ThinkGeek.com
  26. 26. 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
  27. 27. 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
  28. 28. ANY QUESTIONS?alan@thenewagency.com.au@bigyahuhttp://www.slideshare.net/bigyahu/
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