“My CEO Doesn’t Know…”

No matter the financial climate, there are always new startups established. Most of these startups are run by first-time founders. What do smart founders do? They often hire experienced leaders to help them (as opposed to trying to do everything in “hard mode”). However, I regularly encounter these executives who fail to leverage their experience […]

Engineering Leadership Quick Assessment

One reason that executive roles can be fulfilling for years is that there is always something to improve, often considerably. No matter how good you are at what you already do, it is unlikely that you are great at all things. While some see this as discouraging, I live for this and have the best […]

Thinking Bigger

I’ve had hundreds of conversations with executives over the past year. Naturally, I like to ask them what their most significant current challenges are and how they intend to improve their organizations or companies. Frequently, the answers are very milquetoast, without a scintilla of genuine aspiration. The usual suspects include “improve quality of service X,” […]

When Product Fails

I’ve been using the term “Product Engineering” to describe software production, even though it is still separated into two different departments in most companies. That’s because these cannot stand without the other. Like a two-headed mythological creature, both succeed or fail together. Yes, as a tech executive, your partnership with your product counterpart is the […]

Making Space for Success in 2023

We’re in a season where it’s customary to throw a bunch of suggestions at you about what you ought to be doing or for people to pontificate predictions about the upcoming year. Assuming your feeds and inboxes are full of those, let us take a different look at the year ahead. You’ve undoubtedly got notes […]

Your First Managers

I happened to work with a lot of earlier-stage startups recently. It seems clear that a major cause of issues for tech executives at these companies revolves around the initial steps to “scale” the team. For some reason, even experienced founders make mistakes in installing the company’s first managers. Especially given the current market climate, […]

Strategic Superposition

Your ambiguity about the direction forward is harming your staff and their ability to do the best work possible. Too many leaders, especially at times of volatility like recently, have given up on the task of creating a coherent narrative. Without such a narrative that pulls the team together and aims their efforts toward a […]

Tech Decelerators

As I say at the start of every podcast episode, our goal here is to triple impact-per-engineer. Many times, spotting the right steps forward for a company is straightforward. Nevertheless, not a week goes by without another startup admitting they never realized a particular mindset was bringing them down or that a low-hanging fruit was […]

Surviving Startup Adolescence

Each startup is its own unique snowflake, and there’s no denying that. Nevertheless, after working with and talking to hundreds of founders, one can pick up many recurring patterns. While these might be harder to observe from the inside, an outsider’s perspective—which is naturally less entrenched in the details—can shed light on which problems are […]

CTO Ergonomics: Stop Shrugging!

Over the years, people have described my work in different manners: bridge, therapist, coach, shadow adviser, zipper(?!), Babelfish, etc. One part of my work no one has verbalized yet is sort of a masseur. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t touch my clients, and most of my work is done remotely anyway. But since so […]