Wondering if anyone has used one of these CTO for hire companies with any success?
I'm just starting a start-up and need some minimal help managing some remote developers I am looking to hire to build this thing out. I am looking for someone who will get the vision, help me understand what skills I need to look for from the tech team, and help establish deliverables/and review them with me, to keep this thing on track and on budget.
Anyone have any insight/experience/recommendation?
I haven't dug into what is available in the "CTO for hire" market....
Since that is something I'm very capable of doing given my background in Business, Startups, Sales, Accounting, Management and Software Engineering, I'm going to look into that. :-)
Here's what I'd recommend...
1. Hire a CTO (You need someone who is in charge of the overall technical vision... the "adult" in the room.)
2. You and your CTO create a Roadmap for your MVP (You need to define what you want *before* you start building.)
3. Your CTO figures out how to quickly and reliably build your MVP. (You need a CTO. MOST Programmers will want to reinvent the wheel. This is the LAST thing you want to do. In my projects, I have *historically* decreased app development time by 70%-95% depending on the project by NOT reinventing the wheel.)
4. You and your CTO hire Technical staff to implement your Roadmap. (Find people who are on board with your vision, roadmap and implementation strategy.)
Not doing things in order could cost you millions of dollars.... especially if you hire "Programmers" who are "heads down" and don't see the "big picture." They'll waste time, burn through money and kill your long term profitability. (I've seen companies with 8 figure revenues go out of business because their original "Programmers" didn't know what they were doing. They "baked in" so many fatal flaws over many years, the app could not be fixed. I saw the owner of one company "hand deliver" a $2,000,000 *refund* check to a client... because they couldn't get their software to work.)
In the end, hiring the right CTO is an investment.... not an expense. You'll get that money back ten-fold... or twenty-fold in the course of defining, building, debugging, deploying, supporting and maintaining your app over several years.
Would love to know what CTO-for-hire services people recommend. I'm a techie myself but don't code and only have a few years experience designing and project-managing.
We make software for music producers.
I never even knew a service like this existed. I wonder how I can join it :) Would also love to know peoples feedback.
@ Simon. Yep -- they're starting to pop up. Makes sense for a case like ours. We really don't need anyone full-time, or even part-time while the money is tight. But just need some hand-holding. And for non-tech founders, even understanding credentials can be difficult as being able to parse what is and isn't relevant to my project requires a more technical skillset than I have. Anyway, they're few and far between, but am sure more will spring up.
@Rich. Ha. Says every CTO. .
@ maryana grinshpun I'm glad you're thinking about the actual tasks that you need to accomplish, and listing the skills that you need to add to your resource bin. It is way more important to know your list of needs/wants than to be attached to a titled role.
When you're able to clearly communicate the kind of work that needs to get done, it's much more likely you'll find the right person that's a match. And not being attached to the idea of what a CTO does will help you too.
Most startup companies don't need a bunch of C-level people. The amount of title inflation that occurs by nature of being first is a challenge later down the road in having other people fit into the structure.
When asking someone for part-time help, keep in mind that their attentions are divided. Important questions to ask are things like:
1) how many other clients will you be handling?
2) how will you manage my workload if I have a sudden increase (or decrease) in the amount of attention I require?
3) how do you function to maximize the efficiency of switching tasks?
4) when I am ready for a full-time technology head, how will the transition transpire?
Also consider whether the challenges in utilizing remote development talent creates additional burdens that are unnecessary when compared to local talent that you can supervise physically. It might cost a little bit more per hour, but sitting in the same room with a group of people is a very different production environment than out-of-sight developers who may not even talk to one another. The ability to look over someone's shoulder to make on the spot decisions has value and is much more powerful than emailing stuff back and forth.
It's understandable you may not be tech savvy enough to speak programming words today, but it is to your advantage to start to learn how the other parts of your business function, through direct contact with the machine churning your product out.
Absolutely attend local meetups. Your CTO is the one person with whom you need co-location. Your visions must be tightly aligned, and its your leadership that will keep them motivated over the long course required to launch a product. Remote workers *will* get bored and leave.
I have already helped several companies as "CTO for hire" or "Virtual CTO"
The key is to find a person who can align with your vision, help you build the product or service. Even if it means burning midnight oil or surviving on just coffee overnight, for that person. Look for a hands-on person.
How would you know someone is really worthy?
Share the vision and let the person share what they have to offer to make that vision a reality. You will know. 😀