The 5 Minute Tech Break #100
Edition #100 with Moldova On My Mind
This week the CTO Academy newsletter reaches it’s 100th edition ….
Back in November 2018 we launched Newsletter #1 to a less than engaged audience of 38 subscribers, consisting mainly of family and friends and receiving just one click of interest (thank you Sean) with 36% of the traffic coming from Moldova (thank you Andre).
Today we have a database of 5,000 tech leaders based in >100 countries and so we thought it would be nice to ask our founders about the journey so far ….
Alas for those who enjoy our weekly newsletter video, Bianca is away for a couple of weeks in … (can you believe the circularity of this?) … Moldova!!!
Elsewhere we pack this weeks 5 Minute Tech Break with articles, books, videos and an update on the recent successful launch of CTO Academy Tribes, and the forthcoming successful launch of our Masterclass series.
Until next time … have a great weekend and stay safe.
Reflections on 100 Newsletters
So we sat Andrew and Jason (CTO Academy Co-Founders) down for a virtual coffee and asked them to tell us about the journey so far …
Edition #1 came out 22nd November 2018, what were your hopes and expectations back then?
Jason Noble: I honestly didn’t know how or if anyone would be interested in CTO Academy, let alone the newsletter. I just knew that it was something that I wish was available during some of the more challenging times in my career and how isolated I sometimes felt.
What I do remember about the period of time is alongside launching CTO Academy, I also qualified as a Senior Dinghy Instructor during the same week which was stressful at the time but has since been a fun distraction from the challenge of growing a start up.
Andrew Weaver: Feels like a very different world. As a non-techie it was a step into the unknown for me and I really didn’t know what to expect. But I was clear from the beginning of the newsletter that I wanted it to be a mixture of the personal as well as the informative and whilst we’ve played around with the format, I think we’ve managed to maintain that mix.
Is the traditional newsletter still relevant with so much noise in our working lives?
Jason: I’m very particular about what I subscribe to so that the noise is kept to a minimum. I’m also fastidious about the amount of times I look at my inbox and have a 99.9% once passed my desk rule.
As I write this, I only have 3 emails in my inbox.
For newsletters I scan and send any interesting articles to my kindle, which I find to be a better reading experience.
Andrew: Having been written off as a marketing tool, the newsletter is going through a renaissance with the rise of platforms like Substack and monetisation.
We’ve had lots of internal debates about the newsletter and certainly in the early days, when traction was low and occasionally demoralising, we questioned the purpose of throwing so much time at it.
But despite the slow build up it’s always been a priority channel for us to share news, views and updates, alongside that personal element.
It’s why we don’t go down the automated newsletter route and always add personalisation to each item we cover.
It continues to be an important channel for us to communicate with our community.
What’s your view of the creative process with content?
Jason: Making content for the sake of it is clickbait.
I want to learn something new each time i open an article and if I can take away 3 learning points from it then its been a good use of my time. This is my mantra with the content team, try and ensure the reader takes something useful away from everything you write.
Andrew: for a growing start up with limited resources you’re looking to find a balance with content that generates something of value and interest, but also helps build up your SEO.
Google has shifted the emphasis towards creating content of genuine interest so hopefully the clickbait era of SEO is receding and personally, I find it much easier to write about what I know and enjoy, rather than always glancing towards what keywords matter to our google ranking.
But building up an audience is hard work and during the early days you’re writing bags of content that’s rarely seen outside close family and friends. Gradually data starts emerging that tells you what content is chiming with the audience, which articles are getting the most traction.
There are some articles I wrote 18 months ago that died without fanfare, whilst others keep driving traffic every day.
Do you think it’s important for tech leaders to move out of their comfort zone with content?
Jason: It’s very easy to just read about stuff you know and articles that reconfirm your own thinking. Reading an opposite opinion is important to get a diverse range of views but also challenge your own beliefs and thinking.
Andrew: We encourage our members to put their head above the parapet when it comes to creating their own content and building up their personal brand.
Write an article, launch a podcast or blog, get seen on different platforms, aim to become a thought leader and keynote speaker.
Are there any other sources of content/newsletter you’d recommend?
Jason: Apart from the CTO Academy newsletter?
Pocket weekly newsletter is my go-to resource, not just about tech but other interesting knowledge articles and opinions.
Andrew: I change habits and sources all the time, though I tend to fall back on some regular content such as …
Sam Harris – appreciating the benefits of meditation and the balance it can bring a busy life
Shreyas Doshi – high quality tweets about product and much else, that IMO are always on the money.
What will CTO Academy look like when we get to #200 in April 2023?
Jason: Obviously we hope the pandemic will be firmly behind us.
I want CTO Academy to be reaching and helping more people, in particular tackling more of the challenges in our industry (equality, women in tech, education) and mightier issues such as the climate crisis (bitcoin mining, recycling and actionable data insights)
Andrew: We have a very clear vision for CTO Academy so I hope we’ve taken more steps in that direction and are able to deliver deeper and richer value to our community, who in turn become more effective tech leaders with an impact on their stakeholders and wider career ambitions.
NEWS & VIEWS
Articles That Caught Our Eye This Week
Billionaire Co-Founder of Paypal Recommends Asking Yourself These 7 Questions Before Starting Your Startup. Peter Thiel Is the co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies, and Founders Fund, he was known as the first investor on Facebook. He was ranked 4th on the Forbes Midas List of 2014, with a net worth of $2.2 billion, and 391st on the Forbes 400 in 2020, with a net worth of $2.1 billion.
In his book titled, “Zero To One”, co-written with Blake Masters in 2014, Peter lists 7 questions every startup founder and entrepreneur should answer before building a startup or business.
These questions can be used to help evaluate your idea and it can be used as principles that you can apply in your startup that will help and guide you to build a better future through entrepreneurship.How to prioritize when every issue is top priority
In Brutal Truths About Start Up Founders That Nobody Told You the author suggests that what an entrepreneur can look like on the outside, is far from what you’ve imagined when you’re actually one. Many of you will be founders or working closely with founders so this might resonate and if you’re planning to begin your own startup business, then this article is a good start to hear about the lesser told hard truths.
How to prioritize when every issue is top priority looks at how prioritising your tasks is an essential component of every job. But how do you manage your growing workload when every issue seems like a top priority?
When it comes to your team, everyone is responsible for tracking their work and completing tasks on schedule. But work gets hectic. That’s why you need to be proactive rather than reactive.
As the late businessman, educator, and author Stephen Covey once said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” That’s an invaluable lesson when every job is a top need for some department.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
The Power of a Graceful Leader
Do you have a division between who you are as a business leader and who you are as a spouse, friend, sister, brother, mother, or father? The awareness of the division that exists within you and the roles you play creates space for your inner voice. This inner voice is seeking your attention and hinting there is a better, easier way of leading and being.
In The Power of a Graceful Leader, Alexsys Thompson shares how to begin integrating who you are and how you lead. Through her experience with this disconnect in her own leadership and having coached hundreds of leaders in their integration journey, Alexsys offers tools, tenets, and some relatable stories to support you in your journey toward becoming an integrated and graceful leader. You will find yourself making better decisions, building healthier relationships, and experiencing joy, love, and compassion as you transcend into the leader you were born to be.
It’s been a revelatory book to many, including for me ….
“The author perfectly captures that feeling like you can’t show up as your authentic self, that somehow your true self isn’t right for either work or home, that you need to be different in order to be successful. But, constantly living in that dissonance drives so much dissatisfaction and stress. What makes this book different is that she shares her personal stories instead of just academic research. You can immediately empathise with her struggles and journey because they are your struggles as well. This should be required reading for all leaders”
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
One Life, No Regrets with Gary Vaynerchuk
CTO Academy Live Masterclass Series
Please are limited to 20 tech leaders per masterclass so that everyone gets the opportunity to learn, engage and share with the host and the cohort.
Find out more via the links below ….
CTO ACADEMY TRIBES
CTO Academy Tribes launch across the world
This week we launched the first CTO Academy tribe, with 9 early stage CTOs meeting online via the UK, France, Slovakia, Dubai, South Africa and the UAE, for a 90 minute group coaching session.
They will be sharing a 12 month journey together and gaining from the insight of each other, as well as their resident leadership coach.
4 more tribes are due to launch in May with cohorts covering experienced, early stage and aspiring CTOs.
We offer a free discovery call to anyone interested in finding out more about the benefits of group coaching so come and find your tribe at CTO Academy Tribes
90 Things You Need To Know To Become an Effective CTO
In this post, Jason Noble, Academy’s Chief Technology Officer, explains the design of highly relevant CTO KPIs and shows you how to a) track them and, more importantly, b) use them to improve performance. Now, the odds are that you’re either a CTO in a start-up or fast-growing company or soon to become one. That […]
Price’s law (competence is linear, incompetence is exponential) pertains to the relationship between the literature on a subject and the number of authors in the subject area, stating that half of the publications come from the square root of all contributors. If 100 papers are written by 25 authors, five authors will have contributed 50 […]
I’ve been asked to write a short piece on the impact of confidence in leadership. 1st, how do I keep it short? 2nd, which angle do I start with for this many tentacled topic? Because whether we talk about true confidence, projection, self-doubt and/or the ever present Imposter syndrome, how we deal with these issues […]