Every startup has to have a good CTO. This is the role that cannot be underestimated as much of the success will depend on who is going to be running the technology department of your business. You might be tempted to appoint the best technical geek to the role but in fact you should realise that even in a small company the role expects much more and raise your expectations higher.
Good Chief Technology Officer should be much beyond the technical stuff of your product. Sure a good CTO is hard to find. This makes it even more complex if you’re based on outskirts of Europe, somewhere in a small city like in our case – Szczecin. Don’t give up just yet – the best CTOs are rare and you should look further as finding the right one and make him stay over the years will pay back big time.
One mistake many make is to settle with a person who might grow up to the role over the time. It used to be a good option when networking was hard and we’ve all lived in less connected world than it is now. We had a number of people who grew up from a role of chief technical geek into a full fledged CTO and it worked fine back then.
Other mistake is to think that people who would make good a CTO in your business are terribly expensive. They’re but expensive not always means money. Many best suited candidates are after far much more than just raw cash. The best ones don’t always have to be recruited from the big PLCs. There’s a plenty of people who have the right connections and right experience through running their own businesses, releasing electronic products themselves and having the right technical background.
Simply posting job ad in a local newspaper and waiting for the right candidate, or settling for a whoever is available right now amongst your pals, or compromising your requirements just because you see no other option means basically your business would miss out on the opportunities that are there.
What small startup should expect
– Community Relationships. Good CTOs can pull people from around where your startup is based in order to ensure the best technical talent is engaged with your project. Best CTOs can pinch best people from bigger companies. Networking of a good CTO goes beyond just a bunch of Facebook friends. The best ones are literally running networks of thousands of developers via dedicated technical groups. They’re also present at bootcamps and conferences.
– Vendor Relationships. Good CTOs will bring you dedicated support from the platform vendors like Microsoft or Amazon. You should expect good CTO to bring you Microsoft or Amazon dedicated experts, tons of free software, thousands of pounds of vouchers for services. Good CTO will also make sure you get premium offering from your local Internet Service Provider: broadband beyond the premium offering, off-hours upgrades and support.