The three key CTO skills

The three key CTO skills 738 738 C-Suite Network

I’ve been CTO of HappyFunCorp since last year, and it has been a deeply edifying experience. Everything people told me was mostly true: I write less code; I go to more meetings, and turn up in more conference calls; I think more strategically, and less tactically; my time is spent in a more fragmented and kaleidoscopic manner.

Oh, yeah — and I’m a lot more involved in bizdev and sales. I’m, uhhhh, not always in perfect consonant agreement with Sam Altman, but he pretty much nailed this one:

There are, however, a few things that surprised me.

HFC is more a services company than a product one — i.e. we build products for our clients — so CTOdom is a little more ill-defined than it is at other places. I don’t define and decide how to evolve the tech stack which is our competitive advantage, because, well, we have so many of them. (We build web services, smartphone apps, blockchain ecosystems, etc., and we’re a “right tool for the right job” company.) I do try to foster excellence and a coherent team spirit across our very distributed team. I do a lot of assessment and estimation. And I talk about tech to clients, and prospective clients, a whole lot.

In doing so I have found there are really three key transferable skills here, all of which I used fairly extensively when I was…