I hope you are all enjoying the Swiss summer (this joke was written at 12:31pm on the 10th August and trust me, it was funny then).
I am a bit excited today. I have been asked to work on a role for a very nice client of mine in Zürich and they are looking for a new CTO.
My client is a web agency. They are both boutique and global (I know right?!). Based on 3 continents yet a close team of c.50 people. They are really interested to talk to people about joining their team.
This isn't a traditional corporate CTO role. They are looking for something a bit different, a bit cool, a bit, well, more fitting for them. We can talk about it in more detail over a coffee, but a tie, an ego, and a big corporate mindset will not be an advantage to you here. So, what ARE they looking for? Well, I am glad you asked!
Technology (especially Open Source) is your domain. You'll be the one advising new clients, existing clients, and your company itself on new technologies to look at, the viability of projects and customer's wants, and if you have an idea for a new offering or product, then you will be the driver here.
Analysis is key here. My mother always used to tell me that we have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason, but then I was a difficult child. Assuming you aren't as difficult as me, you will be listening to customer's business goals and making sure they line up with the project goals. This is not always the same as what the customer "wants".
Mentoring of the team. This is a good team, they are driven, and passionate about what they do. Like us all however they have weaknesses. It's your job to find them, and help with those weaknesses. Give them advice on what they can do differently, support them technically, do what you think it best to make them the best that they can be.
Challenge. Challenge clients on unrealistic deadlines, challenge colleagues on project fulfillment, challenge expectations, challenge the status quo. Just challenge.
Manage. Not just people, that one is obvious. Manage expectations and external partners to make sure that the end result is superb. Its a lot better to have a difficult conversation at the start of a project than it is as the end.
Budget. Make sure that projects are budgeted properly, and once this is the case, make sure they stick to budget.
So who should apply to this position?
This is a web agency and you'll be responsible for giving technical advice, so a background in web development is pretty important. However you'll also need an eye for the business side. You're the translator of jargon for the customer, and the translator of business goals for the tech team.
Agency experience is important too. Or at least experience on a variety of web projects in a driven environment. You must inspire.
Management experience with web or software developers is important too.
Fluent German and English.
Be a nice person, who can make tough decisions.
I'd welcome any conversation you want to have about this, and may the best person win!