March 22, 2022

Monday Mindset #2





I am not a perfectionist.
Far from it.
My biggest fault is becoming too easily bored.
Getting excited with shiny new things.

But we know that many of you struggle with issues around perfectionism and not letting go.
Only last week I was chatting with an experienced CTO based in Europe.
His new startup is flying with Series A complete, and Series B imminent.

But he is driving himself into the ground because of challenges with letting go, trusting his team, and accepting that not everything will be done exactly as he wants. He’s also dealing with a CEO needing everything done yesterday.

So this week’s Monday Mindset takes a brief look at these issues,

Including an article about one Startup deciding it was “time to ditch the CEO” …

I’ve banned that article from crossing the desk of my CTO.


In Monday Mindset #2, you’ll find

🐌 How Perfectionism Is Destroying Your Productivity
🏔 The 80/20 Rule And How It Can Change Your Life
🛫 It’s time to ditch your CEO
🧘‍♂️ Some thoughts on the need for Mindfulness


How Perfectionism Is Destroying Your Productivity


One of the most provocative and hard-hitting quotes we read this week was from Darius Foroux.

He said “if you’re a perfectionist, you’re just a procrastinator with a mask. It’s no different from someone who’s lazy and does nothing at all.”

He is arguing that the price of perfectionism isn’t worth it. You might get the outcomes you’re looking for someday – but when, and at what cost? 

A perfectionist always waits for the right moment,
Never makes mistakes, and
Always needs more time.

No matter if you are a person who never starts or is never satisfied with whatever you do, anxiety, worry, depression, and Type A behavior are sure to follow perfectionism. 

Of course, you shouldn’t lower your ambitions. 

You should try to achieve the goals but at the same time think about how you are reaching them? If you’re a high achiever but you get paid in stress and worry, you need to change your mindset.

Read more here


The 80/20 Rule And How It Can Change Your Life

When Vilfredo Pareto noticed that 20% of the pea plants in his garden generated 80% of the healthy pea pods – he discovered a rule that applies to much of life. 

He investigated different industries and found that 80% of production typically came from just 20% of the companies. The generalization became:

“80% of results will come from just 20% of the action”

In this article, Kevin Kruse gives examples of where the rule applies and how you can apply it to your professional life. 

As a tech leader you’re faced with hundreds of decisions every week, many of them business-critical. Some of you in early-stage companies will be regularly fire-fighting and No matter how hard you try, you’ll never put them all out. 

The Pareto approach is to understand which 20% delivers your 80%. 

Which tasks really matter to you, your team, and your organisation? 


Delegate or drop the rest.

Do you always have too many problems to handle?

Do you have a process that enables you to take a step back and analyse where those problems come from and where the priorities might be?

By creating that space and perspective you’ll often see there are many problems that, if solved, automatically resolve other problems. 

Try to reduce stress (and perfectionism).
Adopt the 80/20 rule and focus your time on high-priority (and value add).

We always suggest … do the hardest and most complex task first thing in the morning and the rest of the day will seem a lot easier!

Read the full article here


The Startup That Ditched The CEO

There are many good reasons to want to be a CEO or to fall into that role.

But there can also be some negative reasons why individuals reach for those three golden letters and co-founders in particular need to understand what is attached to those c-suite titles ….

Success doesn’t come just from using the same structures as other successful businesses. 

Just because established companies tend to have a CEO, Chairman, or indeed CTO, doesn’t mean every Startup should be appointing or hiring the same.


Success comes from the diversity of focus and talent — sales, product, investment, hiring, operations, etc — that those cofounders can bring to the project, and sometimes the allocation of roles is premature.

You also need to be careful when allocating certain roles and titles …

How many early-stage companies just appoint the senior software developer as CTO?

Does that startup really need a CFO where the financial model is simply to raise money and to spend it? 


Does a company of 20 people really need a chief strategy officer, when the startup journey is all about iteration? 


A lot of time, resources, and energy can sometimes go into making “traditional appointments” which is why our eye was caught by the story of startup founders who decided to “ditch the CEO” role.

Hence Technologies co-founders decided not to appoint a CEO and instead focus on the specialties that each of the founders brings to the table.

They operate and celebrate not from the position of their job titles but because they know that they’re adding real value and insight to the traction being created. 

“Cofounder is more than enough of a title for us. […] It points to our responsibility to our employees, our customers and our investors. It makes clear that no matter what transpires over the course of the business, each of us was present at creation and has a critical role in driving success.”

Read the full article here




🧘 Mindfulness


Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.

There is growing research that suggests when you train your brain to be mindful, you’re actually remodeling the physical structure of your brain and frankly … if being a leader and manager wasn’t stressful enough, the last 2 years have only enhanced the need to find some personal space and peace around our busy lives.


I’m a late adopter but now a keen advocate.

I try to ring-fence time each day for meditation.

My app of choice is Waking Up by Sam Harris.


Do you practice mindfulness and if so, do you have any recommendations?

Respond to this email to let us know.


🎉 Finally! Manchester Event



We will be reviving our monthly webinars from April – more information to follow soon.

This month we host our 1st networking event (with real people and drinks and food and all that stuff) …. since we launched in 2019.

We will be in Manchester (Dukes 92) on Thursday 31st March 2022 from 1830.

Get in touch with [email protected] if you’d like to join us for a meet and mingle.


This Weds (16th March) in London there is a free networking dinner being hosted by LinearB and they’ve asked if anyone from the CTO Academy would like to join – link here.



Did you know:
If you sign up for CTO Academy, you get:


👏 340+ Lectures on Leadership
🤼 Access to our global slack community
🧑‍💻 Access to Live Group Sessions
👑 Regular Expert Webinars
… and much more

Sign Up Here


This Newsletter was written by Jeppe Strands and Andrew Weaver


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