Newsletter #78 : Hopin

February 15, 2021
CTO ACADEMY  What’s going down at CTO Academy …

Another busy week here as we eye that clock on the wall which marks off “weeks left until Christmas” … oh yes, focuses the mind on those “to do” and “new features” lists as we spot it’s just 6 weeks until we put down the tools for the traditional UK Christmas break that includes too many roast potatoes, pudding and mince pies. We’re due to make an announcement of the team expanding into India so watch this space. Exciting news emerging into a country where we have many members doing great things.Talking of which, we’d love to hear more about your own progress and company news. See our community section below.

In the meantime, there’s much for you to chew on in this week’s “5 Minute Tech Break” as we wish you a very fine weekend and good health.

Take care
Adobera Ejikeme

P.S. picture above is our Jaime operating from his temporary remote location at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Philly. For those not aware of the background … that link will put a smile on your face!
NEWS  Hopin to Unicorn Status in 9 months

The pandemic has been truly remarkable for many reasons not least that it has pulled forward change that might have taken 5-10 years into a 6 month window. #wfh and remote working being the most obvious.It’s created seismic change and disruption in sectors that rely on people physically attending a space – travel, food & leisure, sport – but it’s also provided a unique accelerant to others.In the early months of this year, the Peloton indoor bike was not sure of success. It was a significant investment to purchase one, roughly $2,500 for the first year to join this indoor-cycling brand. Back in February on Pivot (my favourite business podcast BTW) they spoke of it as being a potential white elephant. Then came COVID.Also, during the same early months of 2020, I discovered a live virtual events platform called Hopin. Which was shaping up to be a small fry competitor to Zoom, and even smaller to Skype.This week and within 9 months of launching, they have raised $125M (approx €106.1M) in a Series B round having scaled from 5,000 registered users and 1,800 organisations hosting events on the Hopin platform to 3.5 million users and over 50,000 organisations hosting events. Away from CTO Academy, our co-founder Andrew Weaver wears the hat of a lecturer to future entrepreneurs at a London based start up accelerator. When asked to explain the secret sauce of success in business, he says it generally comes down to a mixture of idea, resilience, getting ahead of the parade and great timing.Hats off to Hopin for achieving at least 3 of those in just 9 months.

 More Coverage – “Hopin announces series b funding”
LEADERSHIP  Who looks after the leaders?

When selecting the material we wanted to cover in our courses, mindset and wellness was at the centre of our thoughts because leadership can be a lonely role, particularly for tech leaders where you’re often surrounded by non-techies.That decision has been endorsed by the feedback we’ve received (and we have new material on the topic due to be released soon) and some of the topics covered within our coaching sessions where leaders often benefit most just from having someone they can trust to act as sounding board and to provide reassurance.On a more serious note, there has been a growth in recent years of services like Sanctus here in London which aims to make it easy for employees to talk to professionals about their mental health and wellbeing at work. They have focused on startups where the “smoke and mirrors” culture of always thinking you need to project success and progress can leave behind it a heavy toll on one’s mental health and general wellbeing.Another feature emerging recently has been the concept of safe spaces or groups focused on the wellbeing of leaders.This article looks at “mental health safe spaces for startup founders” and Christina Richardson who interviewed hundreds of founders.“I was fairly shocked to find that every single person used the word lonely,” she says. “Emotional loneliness is hugely driven by the ecosystem in which we have to operate, and almost all of them were able to reference symptoms that are identifiers leading to more serious mental health problems, like sleeplessness, anxiety and feeling down.”

These are issues not exclusive to startup founders but familiar to leaders working up to Enterprise level.Be sure to reach out if feeling any similar symptoms. One thing we know from having coached and spoken with hundreds of tech leaders around the world is that no problem is unique and someone else will have experienced the challenges you’re facing.CTO Academy offers a free and confidential discovery coaching session so be sure to book yourself a call if you want to discuss any issues with one of our experienced coaches.
 CAREERS  Returning to normality or a new world?

 You might have spotted news this week that Amazon claims to have saved almost $1bn on travel expenses in 2020.  They’re not alone, as business travel collapsed under the realities of COVID with companies large and small being forced into remote and realising that it wasn’t quite as bad as they might have previously thought.Someone I know works for a large American company who pre-pandemic thought remote working was akin to giving employees the day off work. How that perspective has changed as she is probably working more hours (saving time on the commute has generally gone into opening the laptop earlier) and being more productive because of fewer interruptions.Now this brings with it other serious issues about stress and a question for 2021, which is how the future of working might map in terms of what we will be returning to.It sure won’t be a return to normality but most people miss some kind of office interaction so the most likely scenario is going to be a hybrid of physical and remote.Ironically, as a fully remote team from day one, we’re now grappling with growth from the reverse perspective of how to build culture without a physical space. These are interesting times, how do you see your company handling the issue?
 EVENTS  The Future of Work For Technology Leaders

 This week saw the launch of our Next Generation Enterprise series of webinar interviews with experts from around the world exploring the Future of Work and in particular, how it might impact Technology Leaders.This week, our host Ramesh Balanagu welcomed a fascinating first guest Shail Khiyara to discuss the growth of MarTech and the potential for greater fusion between the CMO and CTO role – they even broached the title of (are you sitting comfortably when we say this) a CMTO.OK, that’s it we’re off to register CMTO Academy.In the meantime, you can find the recording here and please watch this space as Ramesh travels the world interviewing other company leaders.
BOOK OF THE WEEK  Work Rules: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

From a Fast Company article this week on “6 must read books for navigating the pandemic”, this book from the head of Google’s innovative People Operations is an inquiry into the philosophy of work and a blueprint for attracting the most spectacular talent to your business and ensuring that they succeed.Described as, “A must read for any leader in a modern business. Google has done a lot of things right both in their products and also in how they run their company and build their culture, and this is a fairly detailed account of how they’ve built an impressive culture, and is written by someone who knows – their head of HR. I’m a little surprised he told as much as he did – but I suppose it will only help for recruiting”
COMMUNITY  Have an announcement?
We want to hear it

 At CTO Academy, we want to encourage an open door policy amongst our members and get to know what everyone is up to.That is why, we would like to dedicate regular slots in our newsletter for you to share what you are working on or any blog posts or articles relating to you or your company. Drop me a message and let her know what you would like to share [email protected]

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