If you are a Chief Technology Officer of a startup or you hope to be one then this podcast is for you! Every week we talk about time management, hiring strategies and better leadership in the C-Suite. We talk to world class CTO Coaches as well as top technologists in spaces like Crypto, AI, Web3 and scaling tech companies. Etienne de Bruin is the founder of 7CTOs which offers peer groups for technology executives that meet on a monthly basis. These groups are lead by our hand picked coaches to help the CTO get unstuck faster, have a sounding board for ideas and share important resources to meet goals more effectively. Check us out 7ctos.com.
Investing in People: A Look into Fleetio's Software Development Strategy with Jorge Valdivia
In this episode of the CTO Studio Podcast, host Etienne de Bruin sits down with Jorge Valdivia, the CTO of Fleetio. Jorge shares valuable insights on how his team handles software development, the role of engineers and product managers, and the importance of investing in people. He delves into the strategies and processes that have helped Fleetio stay ahead of the curve in the highly competitive world of software development.
Jorge is the CTO at Fleetio, a fleet management software company that helps organizations track, analyze, and improve their fleet operations. Fleetio helps fleets track their own vehicles internally, and also helps with compliance reporting. Rather than doing the work for the customer, the platform helps users unlock the full potential of their fleet management.
The company has around 40-50 engineers working on two main products: a web app for fleet managers and a mobile app for Android and iOS.
The teams were initially divided by discipline (web, mobile, internal tools) but it wasn't scaling well, as mobile was always trying to catch up with web. As such, they reorganized the teams around domains of the system (Fleet Maintenance, Fleet Operations, Core Team) with developers from different disciplines working together towards the same goal.
Fleetio adopted an Agile approach, with product managers running the day-to-day execution. Goals are set at a quarterly level and communicated down to teams. Product managers do customer discovery to understand what to work on.
Engineers and product managers have different perspectives and goals, with engineers focused on the present and product managers focused on the future. This can lead to friction between the two groups, but it can also be beneficial in terms of balancing out different perspectives. The CTO may only need to intervene in individual cases.
Fleetio’s early history and its founder's belief in remote work led to its remote-first culture. The company tries to pretend like everyone is remote, even if they work in the same office, to maintain a remote-first culture and encourage communication.
The company places a high importance on the mental well-being of its employees, and works to maintain psychological safety and communication to ensure that employees are comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns.
Investing in people, whether through professional development or personal interests, will ultimately lead to a return on investment in the form of happier, more connected employees. Managers should be attuned to the well-being of their employees, proactively offer support, and invest in their growth and success.
Some clients ask for SOC 2 reports as part of their due diligence process, which can speed up the sales process.
The security team reports directly to the CTO, who is also responsible for cross-functional communication and business process optimization within the organization.
The CTO must focus on strategic initiatives and coach others on how to work with them in their new role. Etienne points out that value stream mapping is a powerful tool for the CTO to facilitate conversation within the organization and create value for customers.
"Investing in people is one of the most important things a company can do. It's not just about hiring the best engineers, but also providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed." - Jorge Valdivia
Jorge Valdivia on LinkedIn
How to Replace Yourself and Buy Time with Dan Martell
When you're building a business, you shouldn't hire people to add capacity but to buy time out of your calendar. If you don't, you'll end up building a business that you grow to hate and want to shut down because it's taking over your life. Dan Martell teaches entrepreneurs the sequence of how to replace themselves in their business as fast as possible to get the most value at the least amount of risk. He takes listeners on a journey through time as he shares his story and the lessons he’s learned along the way - lessons he also shares in his book.
Dan Martell is founder and CEO of SaaS Academy, a coaching company for software entrepreneurs, and managing partner at High Speed Ventures. A serial entrepreneur, he has started and sold multiple successful businesses over the course of his career, starting his first company at age 24 and selling it at age 27, becoming a young millionaire. Dan is also an author whose book, Buy Back Your Time: Get Unstuck, Reclaim Your Freedom, and Build Your Empire, compiles expert advice to fellow entrepreneurs.
Dan shares how he discovered his passion for programming and entrepreneurship. While cleaning out cabins at a church camp, he found an old 486 computer with a book on Java programming and quickly became addicted to writing code. He taught himself how to code and started building tools and apps using different programming languages. He started his own tech organization, Spheric Technologies, which became the fastest growing company in Canada. He eventually sold the company and became a millionaire at 27.
After selling Spheric Technologies, Dan moved to Silicon Valley to explore more opportunities in business and entrepreneurship. A successful business was one of his goals, and he didn’t want to regret not following his dreams of building one.
Silicon Valley is “Disneyland for software entrepreneurs,” according to Dan. The environment is intense and rife with billion dollar ideas, and being there among other ambitious people enabled him to think bigger and achieve more. He went on to build more tech companies, raise venture capital and became an angel investor in multiple software companies, including Intercom, Bootsuite and Unbounced.
Dan’s book, Buy Back Your Time: Get Unstuck, Reclaim Your Freedom, and Build Your Empire, aims to arm entrepreneurs with the knowledge and techniques they need to conquer their worthiest adversary: time. He believes that our job is to develop ourselves and share what we learn on that journey with others, which he seeks to do with Buy Back Your Time.
Entrepreneurs and creators should create more, Dan remarks, as is their God-given purpose. He wants to help entrepreneurs break through the pain line of building the business in the wrong order so that the world will have more solutions, more abundance, more problems solved and more creators creating.
When applying the buyback principle, rather than freeing up time to do nothing, trade your time to do valuable things you can get paid for. Start by identifying what you don't like doing and what skills you need to develop to get your desired outcome. Dan encourages people to trade their time, become more valuable, and create economies by creating opportunity for others in the value chain.
“The human experience is to face adversity, learn how to overcome it, and if you're not a complete ding dong, teach somebody else how to get through that faster. Our responsibility to people around us is to become better so that we can be an example of possibility.” - Dan Martell
Dan Martell on the Web | LinkedIn | Twitter
Email Dan: email@example.com
Get your copy of Buy Back Your Time here!
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
[Replay] Build Your Own CTO Peer Group So That You Can Succeed with Brittany Cotton
Team Alliances are a way to create a relationship with others in order to achieve common goals. They help people stay healthy and motivated, and they can be helpful when it comes to resolving conflicts. Brittany Cotton joins host Etienne de Bruin to share the benefits of a Team Alliance.
Brittany Cotton is Head of Coaching at 7CTOs and Program Leader, Coach, Trainer and Facilitator at Accomplishment Coaching. She is also Executive Coach at Be Radical Coaching. Certified by the International Coaching Federation as both a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and an Associate Certified Coach, Brittany is an expert in leadership development, career development and life coaching, and corporate training.
A Team Alliance is a conversation around intention, commitment, and contribution, Brittany explains. It’s an agreement to come together under shared goals and collaborate, establishing clear expectations about what needs to be done to achieve those goals.
Many people are uncomfortable answering questions about their goals and aspirations, and give themselves little time to think about what they truly want in life. Without a clear idea of what they want, people tend to live their lives at the effect of their circumstances, rather than being in control of them.
It’s important to identify potential obstacles or “leaks” that could prevent the team from achieving their goals. In a boat, a leak may not be noticeable, or it may even seem manageable, but it diverts your attention and energy from the real goal, which is getting to your destination. Similarly, leaks in the team slowly sap you of willpower, forcing you to keep attending to the same recurring issues.
Your Team Alliance needs to be able to communicate openly and honestly with the group if something is not working, without assigning blame or guilt. This requires a certain level of vulnerability.
In order to prepare for a Team Alliance conversation, people should come to the forum with a willingness to let go of the past and forgive themselves and others for any mistakes or shortcomings, Brittany shares. Etienne advises people who might feel stuck or like they're repeating the same process as last year that it's important to approach the Team Alliance conversation with a fresh perspective and openness to new insights and ideas.
Facilitators of Team Alliances are there to facilitate the discussion and handle any situations that come up. Members are encouraged to communicate their needs and what they would like to experience from their facilitators.
“A Team Alliance is a conversation around intention, commitment, and contribution.” - Brittany Cotton
Brittany Cotton on the Web | LinkedIn
Be Radical Coaching
Myths of CTO Leadership with Mark Hunter
In this episode of the CTO Studio Podcast with host Etienne de Bruin, Mark Hunter discusses the myths of leadership and how they can be harmful to individuals and organizations. He goes on to discuss how leaders can overcome their fear and create gaps in order to identify opportunities for growth. Finally, he encourages CTOs to build authentic relationships with their teams in order to foster trust and communication.
Mark Hunter, author of “The Brink: How Great Leadership Is Invented,” is founder and President at Pinnacle Coaching, and Senior Program Leader at Accomplishment Coaching. As a business and executive coach, Mark works with both corporate and individual personal clients to help them get out of their own way and into new levels of possibility, transformation, leadership, and results.
Mark believes that context and relationship are foundational concepts for sustainable and scalable teams. Leaders in particular need to develop relevant skills such as understanding context, understanding the audience, and situational awareness.
Fear is not inherently bad, Mark comments, but the way we treat it creates problems. Because we view fear as something leaders shouldn’t have, we don’t tell others when we are afraid, which creates shame, and we suffer in silence.
Enrollment is important because it ensures that people are committed to what they’re doing. If you complete tasks just because you’re expected to without any real attachment or investment in that goal, it will be much easier to quit when the going gets tough.
Leaders should understand that gaps in teams are opportunities for growth.
Humans are problem solvers, and if we don’t perceive that we have problems to solve, we manufacture them.
Hierarchy exists, but you don’t have to lead from it. The hierarchy creates a fundamental imbalance of power, and leading from it deepens that imbalance. There is a difference between issuing orders from the title you possess, and using that title as the source of your power.
Mark Hunter on LinkedIn
The Brink: How Good Leadership Is Invented
[Replay] Doing Curiosity vs. Being Curiosity
Quick, critical thinking is one of the core strengths of a CTO, but unlearning the problem-solving mindset might do them good. Jeff Miller, founder and CEO Jeff Miller Coaching, defines and discusses curiosity. In this episode replay, Jeff describes his experience coaching CTOs and why they struggle with curiosity.
The environment that raises CTOs is one that teaches them to solve problems as quickly as possible. CTOs have been rewarded for their ability to think quickly and critically in efficient ways, but has this critical mindset actually stunted their curiosity?
Executives of all kinds have been brainwashed into separating themselves from others, Jeff shares. While a good thing in some situations, it can hinder them from being as effective as they can be. CTOs, in particular, need to relate to many people across their organizations, which becomes difficult if they’re always seeing themselves as different.
Jeff has observed that the higher the intellect and the more successful a CTO is, the more skeptical they are of coaching.
Curiosity is an invitation to learn, make mistakes, and have fun without necessarily having the answer. We need to give ourselves permission to be curious and not program ourselves into thinking in one way.
Jeff Miller on LinkedIn | Website
[Replay] Curiosity and the Unknown
Curiosity exists in the realm of the unknown, and it cannot be predicted or directed. Joanie Connell of Flexible Work Solutions returns in this episode of the CTO Studio Podcast to discuss how we can learn from not knowing.
Team members can preface their questions by stating their curiosity, Joanie shares. Saying “I’d like to take a moment to be curious” immediately identifies the present time as inquiry mode, opening the floor to others to share their curiosity as well.
Fueling your curiosity with rage takes away from the genuine desire to learn something new because you have a specific end in mind with your questioning.
Participative curiosity is performative, whereas reflective curiosity is introspective. Participative curiosity only appears to be curiosity, but when this is applied, you’re not absorbing anything. Reflective curiosity, however, occurs when you are actually open to changing your mind and willing to consider something new.
It’s important to have diverse perspectives in teams to stir creativity. Whether people agree or disagree, keeping the conflict centered around the issue they disagree on can lead to more creative solutions or more thorough answers.
Joanie Connell on LinkedIn | Twitter | Website
Great Podcast - Cool Speakers
Always interesting; this is a podcast that I follow regularly.
Timely and articulate
Very timely and articulate messaging.
Lots of great conversations and relevant topics!
Casual format and fun, relevant, and informative conversations