Friday, May 20, 2022

Stream #6: Difference between a CTO and a founding engineer

Okay looks like we are live once again hello everyone this is amman ceo of sandprimetransnational and in today's video i'm going to talk about the difference between a cto chief technical officer versus a technical co-founder .

Or a founding engineer or whatever other title you give to your for the first engineer or the first major engineer that joins your team all right and so let me share my screen here okay so there are various .

Considerations uh here so number one is the firs the first thing is what is their role or responsibility right or what is your what is the tech .

Team's role or responsibility right uh the tech person let's say and it's there's there's many different ones right so you're by the way here i'm assuming you're a non-technical entrepreneur or founder or executive whatever right number one is deciding .

What will be built and how other pieces is separated how it will be built building it and managing the team that's building it right so and these two are different like this is .

Building it themselves uh or managing the team that's building it right these are all the things that need to get done okay and .

A founding engineer right so now let's get into the roles right a cto founding engineer technical co-founder they're all related like they're not mutually exclusive like the same person could be a founding engineer and a technical co-founder or cto or whatever .

Right however the roles are not the same right so when you when you typically say founding engineer or technical co-founder you mean somebody who is going to it's a developer who's going to build it .

Without taking much money and only for equity right that's what you typically people typically mean when they say oh i want a technical co-founder like no you don't want technical co-founder you just want some engineer who will work for equity and build it to you for .

Free right build whatever you your app is uh without taking much money and being happy with certain equity now here's the thing a cto there's also one more thing right uh taking your product .

Taking the system taking what's built from a prototype to a robust system to world-class product to .

You know um yeah let's just leave it there like a world-class product right and that's a journey for which you need a cto right .

A cto has let me see has both technology sense and business sense okay which means they may or may not be .

Good at programming software development themselves this is interesting like they may not be a good a very strong programmer they may not be the person that is like you know building everything deciding exactly which .

Programming language you will use and why and what not right they may or may not be i mean they tend to be but they may not be their major strength or contribution is in the high level engineering decisions .

Around road map personal and resource allocation it's kind of like it's kind of i mean of course resource allocation it overlaps with the ceo's role and you know the cfo and all these different people play together .

It's usually not just one person make making all these decisions unilaterally uh but that's there like they uh you know personal when i say personal by the way i mean both uh both hiring and managing right .

And on the other hand a technical a founding engineer has to have build hands-on development skills and even there you know enough to build a prototype .

Enough to make good decisions that will not so a lot of times what happens is you build something but you make build it such that if you want to mature it further you have to burn the whole thing down and basically build it from scratch .

In a better way right so a founding engineer has to have enough decisions enough decision making ability to build something that is either .

That's either so cheap and so uh quick and dirty that burning it down and you know building it again is kind of part of the plan or a or if they're building something more for more maturity for more longevity .

Then they build it such that it can be matured you don't have to burn it right that's either quick and you know or dirty that that either intentionally quick and dirty and you know hacky i would say .

Or make you know have the foresight to make build something that lasts and .

Be able to x you know that's kind of mainly it they don't they need to just uh know enough to build the prototype and you know that's typically what founding engineers are you know .

Most likely used for anything else is pudding like anything else is icing on the cake right um now of course there's one more thing they have to you know both of them have to decide what's going .

To be built and how it's going to be built right and that's kind of the you know the no man's land where you know any person any technical person whether you call them the cto or whether you call them the founding engineer or the first developer on your team or .

Technical co-founder right any person you hire for you know uh to dr as your first tech per tech person tech tech lead or whatever .

Has to have certain things right where they understand project management they understand the concept of iteration and project management you know which means they can .

Decide exactly what should be in scope how to set the right deadline based on business goals and how .

They will go about breaking and rebuilding things you know and which kind of goes back into the previous one right this is regardless of whether they're you call them the cto or you call them whatever and another thing is .

They have to have very good interpersonal skills you know they can uh hand things off or actually before i talk about interpersonal skills .

Need to have very good communication and documentation skills that's more general because this person will have to hand off their work and their part of part of their responsibility to other engineers .

Sooner rather than later this person will have to hand off things to other you know tasks or responsibilities to other engineers soon um down the line and so you don't you you don't want this .

You don't want a place you know you don't otherwise it caps you don't want a situation where um everything the .

Uh techie did is in their brain and you don't have any anything to you know like anything else basically is inside their brain right you don't want that situation you don't want your work to get lost .

Uh and then you know a subset of that is they have to get very good interpersonal skills so that they can work with other you know team members and even build a great team that can carry on their work .

Right so these are things that you have to have so these are all things that you need to have regardless of you know what title you give your first tech person your first techie i would say not tech .

Lead because technically it is kind of an actual role that exists in certain companies um so yeah this was a quick summary of uh all the different factors you know a cto again has to have .

Be making more um you know they make more long-term strategic decisions about and should not be bogged down in code all the time especially as you come as your company .

Matures and by the way when i say they may not be good at programming or software development themselves but they have to be extremely technical so when i say good at programming it's it means they may not be uh you know very hands-on .

Uh right but they have to know their stuff really well so that that's not a it's not there's no there's no way around that and yeah a founding engineer is again more you know just somebody who is who will build a prototype or an app for you .

And then get out of the way so that it can be matured by somebody else um these are certain things that every single you know person you hire on the team in the whoever you hire is the first deck you should have .

And again to wrap this up these roles are not mutually exclusive you can have the same person having all the the different skill set skill sets um so yeah that was what i had to say about this topic uh hope this helps and .

Let me know if you have any questions happy to answer them just leave a comment or send me an email my email is pretty easy to find if you know where to look or you can just guess cool um

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