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NYC CTO School S1 T1 What is CTO?
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NYC CTO School S1 T1 What is CTO?


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  • Different from lone executor, your job is to make the company successful.
  • Transcript

    • 1. NextNY CTO SchoolFall 2010
      Session 1 – What is CTO
    • 2. Before We Start
      Your Mileage May Vary
      For Everything We say
    • 3. Today’s Agenda
      CTO vs. VP Eng vs Dev Lead
      What Skills Are Needed and Why
      A Bit More On Technology Skill
      Being Part of Executive Team
      Tips & TriX
    • 4. CTO School – S2
      10/11 (Mon) S2 -  Key Technical Decisions
      Key Technology Decisions
      Languages & Platforms
      Web Layer
      Technology decisions related to your startup
      Development Tools Overview
      Key Technical Building Blocks You Should Know About
    • 5. CTO School – S3-S5
      10/27 (Wed) S3 – Process - Getting Technical Stuff Done (and Well)
      Development Process
      Project Management for CTOs
      Quality Assurance
      11/8 (Mon) S4 - Deployment Infrastructure & Operations
      Picking hosting environment
      Server technologies - app servers, load balancers, proxies, caches, storage, etc. 
      Disaster Recovery and Backups
      Running Production Systems
      11/22 (Mon) S5 - Scaling Everything
      Yourself & Your Team
      Your Product
    • 6. About Me:
      CTO / VP. Eng / Lead Architect
      Benchmark, Measure, Verify Energy of Buildings
      Market: Real Estate Portfolio Owners (B2B), Energy Efficiency Programs (B2G)
      Groovy / Grails, Java
      Product Team Size:
      2 NY (me and Analytics / QA person)
      4 Outsourced to Ukraine
    • 7. Jean’s Background
      Jean’s Done / Been / Am
      Technical Consulting - many projects, technologies, and business needs.
      Technical Lead of a small team
      Software Architect
      Developer on a Product Team
      Public Speaker
      Project Manager
      Proudest Accomplishments
      Got 20 Fresh-Out-Of-College to go from zero to completed project in six weeks. 3 Times!!!
      Launching as Tech Lead 18 months out of college
    • 8. About Pete:
      Creating an Adaptive Learning Platform
      Market: Starting out in Test Prep. Looking to expand.
      I’ve Done / Been / Am
      Technical Lead of Research and Development
      Manager of Medium Size Engineering Team
      Managed Large Product Development Organization
      Customer Advocate
      User Experience Advocate
      Proudest Accomplishments
      Turning Recent College Grads into great developers, shipping product in weeks.
      Moving from a 1 month to deployment cycle to 1 day for a critical infrastructure system
      Taking a complex product from vision to launch in fewer than 6 months
    • 9. Typical Day
      Morning – From Home
      Respond to Proposal
      Talk to Team in Europe (4 people)
      Discuss status
      Assign New Tasks / Talk through Design
      Fix two bugs
      Afternoon - Come in Office
      Dev Meeting.
      Deep-dive into some issues
      Try to do some hiring (interview or try to reach out)
      Follow up with tech team from potential partner
      Late Night – Home
      Review quote for a sale
      Review some new code from team in Europe
      Finish coding a new feature
      2am – put up a new build
      Observation: Lots of Context Switching. Barely any “actual” work.
    • 10. CTO vs. VP Eng
      Support the business strategy of your business by formulating and executing technical strategy.
      CTO - Technical Vision
      “Great CTO’s usually can’t manage their way out of a paper bag, but have huge vision, the ability to pull an all-nighter and crank out a rough prototype of the thing they are thinking about, have the unique ability to translate complex / abstract thoughts into simple English that a non-technical end-user can understand, and a willingness (or even desire) to get up in front of 1,000 people and talk about the latest greatest thing they are working on / thinking about. They are also perfectly happy to work collaboratively with the VP Eng while leaving the engineering team completely alone”
      VP Engineering – Technical Execution
      Process / management gods (and goddesses) – totally focused on building and shipping products.  Most of them are “medium technical” – strong enough to stand up to the engineers they manage, but not necessarily the best coders on the team.  A few were rock star developers; a few were non-programmers (i.e. “anymore”)
      Source: Brad Feld
    • 11.
    • 12. CTO Role in Different Organizatoins
      Infrastructure Manager
      IT in a support function
      Technology Visionary & Operations Manager
      Startups & Technology Companies
      External Facing Technologist
      Technology is used to provide products & services to customers / partners
      Customer-Focused Technologist
      Market research & key customer focus
      Big Thinker
      Evaluate how technology can be used to create new business models / products
      Advanced technology, competitive assessments, prototyping
      (Werner Vogels)
    • 13. Technical Role, But!
      Responsible for success of the company, not technology
      Strategy, Technical & Business
      Participate in Sales
      Partnership Discussions
      Fund Raising
      Build vs. Buy Decisions
    • 14. Your SkillZ
      Process / Operational
      Leadership / Management
    • 15. 1. Technical Skills *
      CS 101 – Data Structures, Algorithms
      Chosen field of technology (Ruby, .NET, Java, Python, PHP)
      OO / Functional Design
      Performance Tradeoffs
      UI Technologies (HTML, CSS, Ajax Libraries)
      Design & Software Architecture
      Good General Understanding
      Persistence Options
      Cloud Architectures / Hosting
      Mobile Platforms
      Integration Options & Architectures
      Infrastructure & Systems Operations
      Evaluating Technologies & Products
      * (Focus of CTO School Session 2)
    • 16. Helpful To Know
      UX & Usability
      Design Sense
      Product Marketing
      System Administration
    • 17. Special Tech Skills
      Enterprise Space & Architecture
      Facebook, OpenSocial, Web Platforms
      Payments / Subscriptions Technologies
      Content Management
      Ad Platforms
      Special Algorithms & Technologies
    • 18. 2. Dev Process Skills *
      Software Development Life Cycle
      Agile, Kanban, Lean, Scrum
      Source Control & Build Tools
      Issue Tracking
      Quality Assurance
      Security Processes
      Project Management
      * (Focus of CTO School Session 3)
    • 19. 3. Leadership / Management Skills
      Depend on Company Stage / Size
      Lead Through Doing / Example
      Lead Through Others
      Lead By Vision
      Setting Technical Direction
      Hiring & Growing Teams
      Managing People, including Remote
      Mentoring & Growing People
      Public Speaking
    • 20. 4. Being Part of Executive Team
      Think in terms of the company, not technology
      Offer Technical Options
      Resource Planning
      Educate the other executives about technology capabilities, processes, etc.
      Input on short and long-term business vision, strategies and plans;
      Help define business priorities
    • 21. More on Executive Skills
      Review and influence the product road map,
      Review / provide input on some investor presentation materials, business proposals
      Participate in new business, partnership or investor meetings on a limited basis,
      Business practices that will help to derive greatest short-term and long-term value from the technical team and other resources.
    • 22. Skills Conclusion
      Too much to know
      Make a plan for your own growth
      Different priorities compete with each other.
      ALL are important
      Difficult to make short-term vs. long-term tradeoffs
      Effective Time Management is essential.
      Make sure you know what’s most important for you right now
    • 23. Links