Newsletter #75 : Authenticity

February 15, 2021

It’s That Friday Vibe Again …

Hola chicos and wherever you are in the world I hope you’re well, safe and strong …

This week The 5 Minute Tech Break looks at Authenticity and the role it plays in delivering effective leadership.

We also look at whether founder CEOs are equipped with the skills to take their business to the next level … for those of you grappling with the challenges of colleagues and fast growth.

We conclude with a book of the week and an update on the CTO Academy Recruitment service which was launched last month and I’m pleased to report is gaining significant traction.

On that happy note, I wish you farewell and a fine weekend.

Andrew Weaver
[email protected] 


Authenticity over Cheap Publicity


So many bloggers out there with so many underwhelming blogs that we believe that it’s our job to cut through the noise and guide you towards some of the better written and more relevant articles of interest.

We do this by recommending articles we’ve read ourselves, from people who have something to say …

Gilad Horev fits that category as VP of Product at Eventbrite and one of the few people seemingly left in San Francisco.

He leads product development and strategy for event creator products, growth, global payments and before Eventbrite he was managing the Latin American fraud analysis and prevention at PayPal.

He therefore knows a thing or two and this week our eye was caught by a blog he wrote, ¨Coaching Managers : Authenticity over Cheap Publicity” …

We’ll let Gilad explain more … 

“Cheap popularity may have an immediate positive payoff—the team feels soothed by commiseration, or safe in the promise that they don’t have to deliver a complete solution. But this is no way to lead for the long term. Managers may not even realise they’re setting their teams up to be distracted, uncertain, or under-performing when they’re sending these cues. That’s why it’s so important to give it a name and teach managers well”

Do founders make good CEOs?

Continuing with an important theme … this HBR article looks at the balancing act in how authentic you can be as a manager or a leader, and how much of yourself you can actually show.

Be Yourself, But Carefully looks at the managers who by giving too much of themselves in the work environment can actually receive negative results …

“But the honest sharing of thoughts, feelings, and experiences at work is a double-edged sword: Despite its potential benefits, self-disclosure can backfire if it’s hastily conceived, poorly timed, or inconsistent with cultural or organizational norms—hurting your reputation, alienating employees, fostering distrust, and hindering teamwork. Getting it right takes a deft touch, for leaders at any stage of their careers”


One topic we hear about regularly during our coaching calls is the sometimes delicate relationship between the CTO and the CEO.  We were chatting with two members this week suffering almost identical challenges in how to manage their chief executive.

We’ve written in the past about managing the CTO:CEO dynamic but a debate crossed our radar this week that asked a slightly different question but one relevant to the many of you working in early stage companies, “Do Startup Founders Make the Best Startup CEOs?” 

The main thrust of the debate is when the the business reaches a certain size should the founder CEO be handing over the reins to a career CEO? 

Alongside they look at whether European founders need to be less modest and back themselves to succeed and relevant to this audience, can technical founders make great CEOs?

Heba Bevan, CEO and founder of sensor startup UtterBerry pitted herself against Suranga Chandratillake, general partner at Balderton Capital in an online discussion hosted by the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub and available to view here.

There might be some clues and pointers in this debate for the existing and/or future relationships with your CEO.


Recruitment Service : An Update



We launched CTO Academy Recruitment in September as a natural extension to the end-to-end talent lifecycle service we’re building, a recruitment and careers service that integrates with our online learning, coaching and corporate offers.

We’ve already been engaged by multiple organisations – from UK to USA to Ireland and Benelux – to help place roles such as CTO of a small media business (Ireland) to Interim CTO supporting ambitious founders (US) and a hands on Start Up CTO to get involved in CDEBase (Benelux).

If you’re looking for support in hiring at CTO or CTO -1 level or interested in the roles we have available then please contact [email protected].

We also have a new platform currently in development which will include a live job/careers board so watch this space for further news.




Book of the week



Finishing with our theme of authenticity and well reviewed book “The Art of Authenticity – Tools To Become An Authentic Leader and Your Best Self” is described as …


“A master class in becoming a successful executive while and through attending to one’s true self. With clear language, she explores the complexities of personal psychology and the vagaries of organisational challenges, melding these together in a thoughtful and provocative manner. She skillfully avoids business book claptrap and the assumption that leadership is a list to be checked off. I recommend it to executives and aspiring executives who have the courage to look at themselves as well as their worlds. Because Dr. Thacker presents dozens of examples of her consulting conversations, I also recommend it to fellow consultants who wish to learn from a master.”



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