Showing posts from 2018

My Year of Giving Dangerously

Just over a year ago, I embarked on a crazy experiment: I wanted to see if I could make a living by giving. Not investing in startups, not donating a portion of my time and money to a cause, just giving.After reading Adam Grant’s book, Give and Take, last summer, I decided to take the “Give First” idea espoused by Adam, Brad FeldDavid Cohen, and others to its logical extreme. I would give first, second, and third, then give a little more, without requiring any equal trades in return, and see what happened. I wanted to see if Adam was right, that people respond to generosity with generosity, that the majority of “matchers” in humanity want to lift givers up while bringing takers down. I’d already seen what takers could do and I was not impressed. Now I wanted to see what a giver could accomplish.
Spoiler: it’s a lot.
As I’ve done with similar activities, I established some ground rules to make this easier to both explain and carry out: As long as I could make the time, I would say “yes…

Do You Really Want to Be CTO?

You finally did it: after years of building software for someone else, you took the leap and joined a startup. Now you’re building software for yourself. All the risk (and a 30% stake in the rewards) is yours. Then comes the day when your co-founders ask that fateful question: “What title do you want?”

You’ll be tempted, my friend, to reach for that brass ring, to claim the right of First Techie, to confidently say, “Why, CTO, of course!”

Hold on there, Tiger.

Sure, it looks great on a business card and your mom will be impressed, just as soon as you explain to her, for the hundredth time, what you do. And it will be nice to go to the next tech meetup and tell strangers that you’re the CTO for that tech company that they haven’t heard of (yet). And for a while those will be the only changes. But wait, there’s more.

Do you like meetings? Because you’re going to be attending a lot of them (and even hosting a few yourself!). Investor meetings, strategy meetings, planning sessions, inte…

Wanted: Someone to Make My Life Easier

The job posting reads:

Hands-on Director/VP of EngineeringLooking for someone to build the engineering team for our fast-growing startup. Must be able to hire and inspire a high-performing development team, build the organization, and define new processes to support a larger team and a more complex product. Must be hands-on with our chosen technology stack and able to code at least 20% of the time. Should be able to grow as we grow, taking on more leadership while remaining a technical leader. Email with your resume and Github address.

It’s one of many that I see in the Denver area as overwhelmed CTOs try to clone themselves to support their company’s growth. With limited budgets and unlimited demands on their time, these leaders look for a “twofer” hire: someone who can lead the engineering organization without taking a seat away from a working developer.
At lunch with some local CTOs, though, the conversation around the table tells a different story:
“It feels like …