Andrew Weaver
February 15, 2021

Newsletter #38: The Start Up Special




The 5 Minute Tech Break :
The Start Up Special





Hola Chicos

Andrew here from CTO Academy, practising a little of my newly acquired Spanish and wishing you a wonderful Friday and end of the week.

This weeks “5 Minute Tech Break” focuses primarily on Start Ups for the following reasons …

1.  We’re something of a start up ourselves, so if there’s one topic we know lots about, it’s this one

2.  A significant % of you are in start up, early stage companies and facing many challenge and opportunity

3.  It’s an interesting topic and who knows, even if you’re sipping from the comfort of a nice job, atop a large enterprise, maybe you’ll be seduced into your own start up one day.

Either way, enjoy the read and have a fantastic weekend.

Andrew Weaver
CTO Academy
[email protected]



How do I choose the right team members for my start up?

Not getting the right team is cited as one of the top 3 reasons that start ups fail.

I was in a really good start up, with momentum and (we thought) a fantastic opportunity but we struggled because the team just didn’t work.

It’s quite a daunting challenge finding talented and committed people, particularly when you’re starting out and have to pay below market rates.

This article looks into “How to build a team that won’t sink your start up” and includes some interesting and alarming stats, not least the remarkably high failure rates of start ups.  



The Messy Middle

One of the other significant challenges for start up founders and early hires, is battling with the ever fluctuating moods and ups and downs you experience when trying to breath life and sustainability into a new business.

This graph comes from a book called the “Messy Middle” which illustrates the type of emotional roller coaster that every start up goes through.

It’s not for the faint hearted and you have to Optimise when you’re going through a phase above the yellow line and Endure, when it dips below.

We know this only too well, working ourselves in an early stage company and dipping in and out of some of these emotions.  We also work with Mentees grappling with the same. The “Endure” phase certainly tests your resilience, which is why we place such importance on mindset and wellness within our courses.



Are You An Accidental CTO?

We get a lot of calls from individuals who find themselves, sometimes without any great plan or design, firefighting as a rapidly appointed CTO in a fast growing start up.

One day they were senior developers, next day quasi CTOs or they’re simply grappling with growth that is outstripping their skill set and/or wider resource.

It can be exciting, it’s certainly a rapid learning path, but it can also be incredibly daunting. We sometimes refer to this scenario as the ‘Accidental CTO’ and earlier this year we wrote an article explaining more about some of the challenges they face. 



Top 10 List of the Week : Books Every Start Up CTO Should Read

“Start up CTOs don’t have time to read” I hear you say and that’s often the case but, another reason to consider downloading Blinklist (see last weeks newsletter!).

But we like to push you a little here at CTO Academy and we’re particularly keen that you try to carve out time to step away from the day to day and indulge in some strategic thinking, learning and reading.

Regular readers of this newsletter will know that we try to recommend a book of the week,but this week we’ve handed over responsibility to this article and a top 10 list of books ‘every start up CTO should read’.

You may have already knocked off some of them, certainly Hooked and Lean Start Up are on most start up bookshelves. Interestingly the author of Hooked, Nir Eyal, having written a book about psychological manipulation of the market to buy your product, has just written an intriguing book called Indistractable, which appears to help the individual to control their time and not get manipulated by external sources. Interesting juxtaposition.




Mindset & Wellness Course is Expanding

With the August re-launch of CTO Academy, we added a course looking into issues of mindset and wellness.  Based on some of the feedback received, we’re about to release some additional content including a look at how you shape the culture of a business and the often corrosive impact of long hours in tech.

They’ll be released next week so watch this space and please get back to us if you’d like us to drill deeper into any of the topics covered.

In the meantime, why not dip into this article looking at 50 mindful apps and recommendations – something here for everyone …




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