Newsletter #116 : People … it’s all that really matters

March 22, 2022
CTO Academy deliver tailored leadership skills training and career development services for global tech leaders. 
 This week we focus on people because in life, love and leadership … it’s all that really matters.

We look at recruitment, meetings, honesty and (brace yourselves for this) … “the existential loneliness of the CEO”.  

Also we have two fantastic online events coming up … both free to attend;

Nov 3rd:
The Engineering Dilemma – How Do you Ensure You’re Resources In The Right Way

Dec 1st:
When Tech Debt Almost Crushed PayPal … A discussion about the sometimes uneasy relationship between engineering and growth 

More details at the foot of this newsletter.

And we’re working feverishly in the background on a new product …
but’s that for the next newsletter.

Have a great weekend.

Andrew Weaver
CTO Academy

Open Your Organisation To Honest Conversations Leading may not be easy but managing is harder.

HBR article looks at the impact of honest conversations ….

“Is it inevitable that power will corrupt and that absolute power will corrupt absolutely? It’s certainly the most likely outcome if leaders cannot overcome the organizational silence created by the power differentials that go with any hierarchy. Many management failures—including the many corporate scandals of the last twenty years and the concurrent growing mistrust of leaders and institutions—are rooted in the inability of corporate leaders to learn the truth and respond effectively”Find Out More in the article about Honest Conversations

Meetings – Don’t You Love Them? The pandemic seemed to increase the rate of meetings and Zoom can sometimes make them more joyless than normal. 

So any article that talks about eliminating meetings sounds good to me …

“The Levels team is distributed in timezones across Canada, the United States, Europe, and Latin America.Everyone on our team works whenever and wherever is most conducive for them. Designing this culture creates many benefits for our team members and partners, but requires effort to maintain.Here is how we think about and structure our team member interactions”

Excuse yourself from your next meeting and read this: How We Work Without Meetings

Existential Loneliness of the Founder CEO
So many coaching calls we have with clients relate to often challenging relationships with the CEO and those of you who follow this newsletter closely will know we’ve dedicated space before to this topic.

But this article recently arrived into my inbox and I thought it was an interesting perspective because they talk not to the CEOs, but to their coaches …“If you want to know what it really feels like to run a startup, there are a handful of people you need to speak to — and they’re not founders. They’re the founders’ coaches.They hear it all — cofounder skirmishes, nightmare investors, even founder fetishes — although they rarely name names.And the reason they get to know so much? “Founders have literally no-one to talk to,” says Julius Bachmann, a Berlin-based coach who works with dozens of startup founders at any one time”

Read more about our Existential Loneliness

How My Company Is Winning The War For Engineering Talent Author of this article gives it away with the sub header ….”It helps to have a strong cash position”

Despite stating the obvious it’s a challenge many of us have and it also feeds into other Tech Crunch articles about recruitment that you might find interesting.Find out more in How My Company Is Winning The War For Engineering Talent
“How To Make People Like You In 90 Seconds Or Less”Silly title but it fits in with this weeks theme and the reviews seem quite positive …

“Of course this book won’t teach you how to MAKE people like you in 90 seconds or less. That would require magical powers. No book can deliver what the book’s title promises. That said, the author offers some great tips on how to make a connection with people instantly. It’s like being able to sit down with a very charismatic friend and have them teach you their tricks.”

Find out more on Amazon


Managing Technical Teams As A First-Time Manager
2 Fantastic Events/MeetUps …
Next Wednesday
3rd NOVEMBER 2021, 1600 (GMT)
Free to attend

The Engineering Dilemma 
with Neil Kidd, Microsoft

How Do You Ensure You’re Spending Your Resources In The Right Way?
Over-engineering your code will mean your product releases later, under-engineering, might mean having to write it again when it fails to scale, is too buggy, costs too much to run or become so brittle making changes is impossible.
We will also discuss how to get support and buy-in from “the business” and your cofounders.

Presenter: Neil Kidd
Cloud architect at Microsoft – helped >1,000 companies move to the cloud – previously CTO aviation start-up

Includes Breakout Sessions
Register Here

Weds 1st December 2021, 1600 (GMT)
Free to attend

When Tech Debt Almost Crushed PayPal 
with Matt Lerner, ex PayPal and 500 Startups VC.

Discussion about the sometimes uneasy relationship between engineering and growth

In addition to some “PayPal War Stories,” Matt will cover other useful topics, including:- How can devs best support growth? Balancing fast growth obsession vs. tech debt and risk
– Hard (but fair) questions to ask your growth team
– Growth teams vs. product teams vs. marketing teams
– Is “growth hacking” really hacking?Presenter: Matt Lerner
Matt is a Silicon Valley “growth” guy with 20 years experience as an operator and VC, including time at PayPal and 500 Startups.
Now the founder of Startup Core Strengths

Free to Attend – Includes Breakout Sessions
Register Here

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