How startup CTOs learn to be startup CTOs

I’ve been thinking lately about the plight of the first-time startup CTO. Startup CTOs are an interesting crowd. They’re often people who are technology-focused with a good idea and enough tech skill to create something that is worth incorporating a company over. Startup CTOs might be industry veterans with years of management and business experience. But they’re often inexperienced, talented programmers who have turned a passion into a business. You don’t learn how to be a CTO in school. As far as I can tell, there are relatively few resources available for startup CTOs. So, on Friday last week I asked Twitter:

I got a bunch of helpful responses. I still think this is an under-served community, but there’s more happening than I knew. Here are some of the ways CTOs learn and where they go for support. Apologies if I left some out. Please respond here with more!

  • Cold-email/tweet experienced CTOs and other leaders and ask to meet for mentoring over coffee
  • Leaning on a possibly more experienced CEO
  • Get support from the rands leadership slack group
  • Read Joel Beasley’s https://moderncto.io/book/
  • Listen to Joel Beasley’s Modern CTO podcast
  • Listen to CTO Think podcast
  • CTO meetups and breakfast groups in various big cities (NYC, SF, London, Sydney, etc.)
  • Connections from investor VC portfolio companies. I’ve found this valuable in the past, and we at BlueYard Capital lean on our CTOs and other founders to support each other where possible as well. Community is an underrated aspect of venture capital.
  • Attend CTO Summit
  • 7 CTOs is all about growing great CTOs. Cool idea to group up 7 at a time to form support groups.
  • Plato are building a platform to scale technical mentoring
  • Watch experienced CTOs from afar (e.g. Rebecca Parsons)
  • Read blogs. That was probably the most popular answer. Here’s another one for you ;)
  • Attend The Lead Developer conference

What else am I missing?

This story is published in Noteworthy, where 10,000+ readers come every day to learn about the people & ideas shaping the products we love.

Follow our publication to see more product & design stories featured by the Journal team.

I help startups succeed. CTO, speaker, author, investor — currently @microsoft @blueyard

I help startups succeed. CTO, speaker, author, investor — currently @microsoft @blueyard