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CTO Studio by 7CTOs
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CTO Studio by 7CTOs

Author: 7CTOs

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If you are a Chief Technology Officer of a startup or you hope to be one then this podcast is for you! Every week we talk about time management, hiring strategies and better leadership in the C-Suite. We talk to world class CTO Coaches as well as top technologists in spaces like Crypto, AI, Web3 and scaling tech companies. Etienne de Bruin is the founder of 7CTOs which offers peer groups for technology executives that meet on a monthly basis. These groups are lead by our hand picked coaches to help the CTO get unstuck faster, have a sounding board for ideas and share important resources to meet goals more effectively. Check us out

206 Episodes
In this episode of the CTO Studio Podcast, host Etienne de Bruin sits down with Jorge Valdivia, the CTO of Fleetio. Jorge shares valuable insights on how his team handles software development, the role of engineers and product managers, and the importance of investing in people. He delves into the strategies and processes that have helped Fleetio stay ahead of the curve in the highly competitive world of software development.  Jorge is the CTO at Fleetio, a fleet management software company that helps organizations track, analyze, and improve their fleet operations. Fleetio helps fleets track their own vehicles internally, and also helps with compliance reporting. Rather than doing the work for the customer, the platform helps users unlock the full potential of their fleet management.  The company has around 40-50 engineers working on two main products: a web app for fleet managers and a mobile app for Android and iOS. The teams were initially divided by discipline (web, mobile, internal tools) but it wasn't scaling well, as mobile was always trying to catch up with web. As such, they reorganized the teams around domains of the system (Fleet Maintenance, Fleet Operations, Core Team) with developers from different disciplines working together towards the same goal. Fleetio adopted an Agile approach, with product managers running the day-to-day execution. Goals are set at a quarterly level and communicated down to teams. Product managers do customer discovery to understand what to work on. Engineers and product managers have different perspectives and goals, with engineers focused on the present and product managers focused on the future. This can lead to friction between the two groups, but it can also be beneficial in terms of balancing out different perspectives. The CTO may only need to intervene in individual cases. Fleetio’s early history and its founder's belief in remote work led to its remote-first culture. The company tries to pretend like everyone is remote, even if they work in the same office, to maintain a remote-first culture and encourage communication. The company places a high importance on the mental well-being of its employees, and works to maintain psychological safety and communication to ensure that employees are comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns. Investing in people, whether through professional development or personal interests, will ultimately lead to a return on investment in the form of happier, more connected employees. Managers should be attuned to the well-being of their employees, proactively offer support, and invest in their growth and success. Some clients ask for SOC 2 reports as part of their due diligence process, which can speed up the sales process. The security team reports directly to the CTO, who is also responsible for cross-functional communication and business process optimization within the organization. The CTO must focus on strategic initiatives and coach others on how to work with them in their new role. Etienne points out that value stream mapping is a powerful tool for the CTO to facilitate conversation within the organization and create value for customers. KEY QUOTE: "Investing in people is one of the most important things a company can do. It's not just about hiring the best engineers, but also providing them with the tools and resources they need to succeed." - Jorge Valdivia Resources Jorge Valdivia on LinkedIn Fleetio Careers
When you're building a business, you shouldn't hire people to add capacity but to buy time out of your calendar. If you don't, you'll end up building a business that you grow to hate and want to shut down because it's taking over your life. Dan Martell teaches entrepreneurs the sequence of how to replace themselves in their business as fast as possible to get the most value at the least amount of risk. He takes listeners on a journey through time as he shares his story and the lessons he’s learned along the way - lessons he also shares in his book. Dan Martell is founder and CEO of SaaS Academy, a coaching company for software entrepreneurs, and managing partner at High Speed Ventures. A serial entrepreneur, he has started and sold multiple successful businesses over the course of his career, starting his first company at age 24 and selling it at age 27, becoming a young millionaire. Dan is also an author whose book, Buy Back Your Time: Get Unstuck, Reclaim Your Freedom, and Build Your Empire, compiles expert advice to fellow entrepreneurs. Dan shares how he discovered his passion for programming and entrepreneurship. While cleaning out cabins at a church camp, he found an old 486 computer with a book on Java programming and quickly became addicted to writing code. He taught himself how to code and started building tools and apps using different programming languages. He started his own tech organization, Spheric Technologies, which became the fastest growing company in Canada. He eventually sold the company and became a millionaire at 27.  After selling Spheric Technologies, Dan moved to Silicon Valley to explore more opportunities in business and entrepreneurship. A successful business was one of his goals, and he didn’t want to regret not following his dreams of building one. Silicon Valley is “Disneyland for software entrepreneurs,” according to Dan. The environment is intense and rife with billion dollar ideas, and being there among other ambitious people enabled him to think bigger and achieve more. He went on to build more tech companies, raise venture capital and became an angel investor in multiple software companies, including Intercom, Bootsuite and Unbounced. Dan’s book, Buy Back Your Time: Get Unstuck, Reclaim Your Freedom, and Build Your Empire, aims to arm entrepreneurs with the knowledge and techniques they need to conquer their worthiest adversary: time. He believes that our job is to develop ourselves and share what we learn on that journey with others, which he seeks to do with Buy Back Your Time.  Entrepreneurs and creators should create more, Dan remarks, as is their God-given purpose. He wants to help entrepreneurs break through the pain line of building the business in the wrong order so that the world will have more solutions, more abundance, more problems solved and more creators creating.  When applying the buyback principle, rather than freeing up time to do nothing, trade your time to do valuable things you can get paid for. Start by identifying what you don't like doing and what skills you need to develop to get your desired outcome. Dan encourages people to trade their time, become more valuable, and create economies by creating opportunity for others in the value chain. KEY QUOTE “The human experience is to face adversity, learn how to overcome it, and if you're not a complete ding dong, teach somebody else how to get through that faster. Our responsibility to people around us is to become better so that we can be an example of possibility.” - Dan Martell Resources Dan Martell on the Web | LinkedIn | Twitter SaaS Academy Email Dan:  Get your copy of Buy Back Your Time here! The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
Team Alliances are a way to create a relationship with others in order to achieve common goals. They help people stay healthy and motivated, and they can be helpful when it comes to resolving conflicts. Brittany Cotton joins host Etienne de Bruin to share the benefits of a Team Alliance. Brittany Cotton is Head of Coaching at 7CTOs and Program Leader, Coach, Trainer and Facilitator at Accomplishment Coaching. She is also Executive Coach at Be Radical Coaching. Certified by the International Coaching Federation as both a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) and an Associate Certified Coach, Brittany is an expert in leadership development, career development and life coaching, and corporate training. A Team Alliance is a conversation around intention, commitment, and contribution, Brittany explains. It’s an agreement to come together under shared goals and collaborate, establishing clear expectations about what needs to be done to achieve those goals. Many people are uncomfortable answering questions about their goals and aspirations, and give themselves little time to think about what they truly want in life. Without a clear idea of what they want, people tend to live their lives at the effect of their circumstances, rather than being in control of them. It’s important to identify potential obstacles or “leaks” that could prevent the team from achieving their goals. In a boat, a leak may not be noticeable, or it may even seem manageable, but it diverts your attention and energy from the real goal, which is getting to your destination. Similarly, leaks in the team slowly sap you of willpower, forcing you to keep attending to the same recurring issues. Your Team Alliance needs to be able to communicate openly and honestly with the group if something is not working, without assigning blame or guilt. This requires a certain level of vulnerability. In order to prepare for a Team Alliance conversation, people should come to the forum with a willingness to let go of the past and forgive themselves and others for any mistakes or shortcomings, Brittany shares. Etienne advises people who might feel stuck or like they're repeating the same process as last year that it's important to approach the Team Alliance conversation with a fresh perspective and openness to new insights and ideas. Facilitators of Team Alliances are there to facilitate the discussion and handle any situations that come up. Members are encouraged to communicate their needs and what they would like to experience from their facilitators. KEY QUOTE “A Team Alliance is a conversation around intention, commitment, and contribution.” - Brittany Cotton Resources Brittany Cotton on the Web | LinkedIn Be Radical Coaching 7CTOs Forum
In this episode of the CTO Studio Podcast with host Etienne de Bruin, Mark Hunter discusses the myths of leadership and how they can be harmful to individuals and organizations. He goes on to discuss how leaders can overcome their fear and create gaps in order to identify opportunities for growth. Finally, he encourages CTOs to build authentic relationships with their teams in order to foster trust and communication. Mark Hunter, author of “The Brink: How Great Leadership Is Invented,” is founder and President at Pinnacle Coaching, and Senior Program Leader at Accomplishment Coaching. As a business and executive coach, Mark works with both corporate and individual personal clients to help them get out of their own way and into new levels of possibility, transformation, leadership, and results. Mark believes that context and relationship are foundational concepts for sustainable and scalable teams. Leaders in particular need to develop relevant skills such as understanding context, understanding the audience, and situational awareness. Fear is not inherently bad, Mark comments, but the way we treat it creates problems. Because we view fear as something leaders shouldn’t have, we don’t tell others when we are afraid, which creates shame, and we suffer in silence. Enrollment is important because it ensures that people are committed to what they’re doing. If you complete tasks just because you’re expected to without any real attachment or investment in that goal, it will be much easier to quit when the going gets tough. Leaders should understand that gaps in teams are opportunities for growth. Humans are problem solvers, and if we don’t perceive that we have problems to solve, we manufacture them.  Hierarchy exists, but you don’t have to lead from it. The hierarchy creates a fundamental imbalance of power, and leading from it deepens that imbalance. There is a difference between issuing orders from the title you possess, and using that title as the source of your power.  Resources Mark Hunter on LinkedIn The Brink: How Good Leadership Is Invented
Quick, critical thinking is one of the core strengths of a CTO, but unlearning the problem-solving mindset might do them good. Jeff Miller, founder and CEO Jeff Miller Coaching, defines and discusses curiosity. In this episode replay, Jeff describes his experience coaching CTOs and why they struggle with curiosity.  The environment that raises CTOs is one that teaches them to solve problems as quickly as possible. CTOs have been rewarded for their ability to think quickly and critically in efficient ways, but has this critical mindset actually stunted their curiosity? Executives of all kinds have been brainwashed into separating themselves from others, Jeff shares. While a good thing in some situations, it can hinder them from being as effective as they can be. CTOs, in particular, need to relate to many people across their organizations, which becomes difficult if they’re always seeing themselves as different. Jeff has observed that the higher the intellect and the more successful a CTO is, the more skeptical they are of coaching.  Curiosity is an invitation to learn, make mistakes, and have fun without necessarily having the answer. We need to give ourselves permission to be curious and not program ourselves into thinking in one way. Resources Jeff Miller on LinkedIn | Website
Curiosity exists in the realm of the unknown, and it cannot be predicted or directed. Joanie Connell of Flexible Work Solutions returns in this episode of the CTO Studio Podcast to discuss how we can learn from not knowing.  Team members can preface their questions by stating their curiosity, Joanie shares. Saying “I’d like to take a moment to be curious” immediately identifies the present time as inquiry mode, opening the floor to others to share their curiosity as well. Fueling your curiosity with rage takes away from the genuine desire to learn something new because you have a specific end in mind with your questioning.  Participative curiosity is performative, whereas reflective curiosity is introspective. Participative curiosity only appears to be curiosity, but when this is applied, you’re not absorbing anything. Reflective curiosity, however, occurs when you are actually open to changing your mind and willing to consider something new.  It’s important to have diverse perspectives in teams to stir creativity. Whether people agree or disagree, keeping the conflict centered around the issue they disagree on can lead to more creative solutions or more thorough answers. Resources Joanie Connell on LinkedIn | Twitter | Website
Asking questions is an outcome of curiosity, and curiosity leads to questions - but not all questions represent curiosity. Joanie Connell of Flexible Work Solutions returns in this episode of the CTO Studio Podcast to share how to foster curiosity in our teams by changing the way we ask questions. Open-ended questions invite people to answer in ways that reveal their thoughts and ideas. Beginning a question with “I wonder if…” is a great way to start, Joanie shares. Reserving judgement is key. Genuine curiosity withholds assumptions, leaving space for people to speak freely and convey what they mean without fear of being judged. Curiosity within relationships is about feeling excited to see what the partnership and intention you’re setting with someone is going to produce. We are often imperfect communicators, but we may be even worse when we’re curious. In our haste to learn, we may unintentionally convey the wrong message to people by how we phrase our questions and tone of voice. We should be mindful of being approachable when asking questions. Better yet, we can also tell others how we’d like to be spoken to, and how to phrase their questions in ways that don’t cause harm. Resources Joanie Connell on LinkedIn | Twitter | Website
Empathy is more than simply putting yourself in someone else's shoes - it begins with curiosity and asking questions. Joanie Connell, founder of Flexible Work Solutions, defines curiosity and describes how being curious can help interpersonal relations at work. She joins Etienne de Bruin to discuss how leaders can nurture curiosity among team members. Part of the curiosity mindset is the courage to take risks, be vulnerable, and try things that may not work. In relationships, being inquisitive can be difficult since it often involves asking people what they're feeling even when you don't know what that might be. You have to be humble and be open to the possibility that you may be mistaken. By setting expectations for how questioning will be used, leaders can establish a culture of curiosity. Employees may be hesitant to ask questions for fear of being punished, so leaders must take the initiative to make their environment a safe zone for curiosity. There is a time and place for curiosity; if you keep the questions rolling at a bad time, you can slow the process down and miss deadlines. Resources Joanie Connell on LinkedIn | Twitter | Website Email Etienne:
Etienne du Bruin goes solo this week as he discusses the complicated nature of a CTO’s role. He talks about the four S’s of a CTO, and describes how systems thinking can be used to understand the role of a leader. CTOs shield their organizations from existential threats internally and externally; stretch out the organization with design thinking and organizational design; speed up technology delivery; and work with the cross functional teams to increase sales, Etienne claims.  Complex systems consist of many elements on many different scales, all affecting one another on different levels.  Systems thinking can be used to understand how the components of a complex company interact with each other. Levels of complexity within companies necessitate that leaders be able to adapt quickly in order to manage these complexities. Etienne believes the role of a CTO is one of business, with a budget to build teams that deliver technologies to grow revenues.  Resources Email Etienne:
How does the left and right brain differ in decision-making? In this week’s show, Aaron Longwell, a Software Manager at Amazon Web Services, dives deep into this idea. He joins Etienne de Bruin to talk about the importance of context in decision-making, communication, and how pushing management decisions down in an organization can lead to problems. Some ideas you’ll hear them explore are: Throughout history, humans have favored the left-brain model of thinking. "We pay less attention to context and … to emotions, pay less attention to the body and more to the brain," Aaron says. Alternatively, the right side of the brain is more creative. Good communication is a major factor in solving challenges. Code is communication, so being able to communicate effectively will allow you to code more effectively.  Getting communication right from the start saves you time. Don't assume that you're being understood, verify that you are. Ask questions that can let you know that the other person is understanding what you are saying and that you're both on the same page.  The mentality of reusing what you can is flawed. The idea that because someone already built in some component of the communication in the software, so it doesn't need to be reworked opens you up for a lot of third-party dependencies and increases complexity. Pushing management decisions lower down in an organization creates redundant decision making. Complexity is a prerequisite to being robust. Resources Aaron Longwell | LinkedIn  Thinking, Fast and Slow The Master and His Emissary
Have you interviewed and hired someone only to have it not work out soon after? This week’s show discusses the importance of hiring people who will be successful in your company’s culture. Casey Kleindienst, a Management Professor at Cal State Fullerton and a consultant to small and medium enterprises, explores how to identify those individuals. He joins Etienne de Bruin to share how to screen candidates for emotional intelligence and potential risk. Some ideas you’ll hear them explore are: The interview process tries to answer two questions: Does this candidate fulfill the minimum requirements for the job? And will they succeed in the company’s culture? Culture and potential are the two most important variables to consider, Casey says. Don't hire resumes. Rather than the resume, look at the character. The character will give you a prediction of future performance. Hire people that have the potential to deliver value to your company in the long run.  Seventy percent of jobs come from the hidden job market, meaning they don’t get posted. Employers call people in their network and ask if they know suitable candidates. Being able to teach people and bring them into learning is a skill that demonstrates that someone has actually mastered the craft that they've learned. Decision making is a singular activity. If you assign decision making to more than one person, despite whatever discussion they have, they will eventually reach an impasse. They're not going to be able to go forward because there are two opposing views and they both have equal merit in the eyes of the holders. Instead of running from them and trying to get rid of them, you should work towards your weaknesses. On the other side of them, there are strengths. Resources Casey Kleindienst on LinkedIn
Just how easy is DevOps? In this week’s show, Phil Borlin and Ken Cone, co-founders of SleepTight, share the answer. They join Etienne de Bruin to talk about the challenges that come with navigating a company's DevOps, and what developers should keep in mind.  Some ideas you’ll hear them explore are: DevOps is the idea that developers need to be in charge of their own destiny. Therefore, somebody needs to be able to help them get to that point.  "What we're trying to do is change the way people do computer science," Ken says. You don't have to flip the ones and zeros on the machines anymore because transistors do that. It's high time DevOps is that way for people who want to create value. Your business should be unique in your market, but not in your ops nor your tech.  Developers should understand their tools, but that doesn't mean they have to write their tools. Continuous integration simply means that all the code that is being written is grouped together continuously. Trunk-based development is going back to this ideal and feature flags is wrapping all the code.  Trunk based development, terraform and infrastructure are all important in approaches to code. Phil and Ken detail the steps and procedures that go into terraforming and building code infrastructure. Resources Phil Borlin | Ken Cone SleepTight
How do you build and maintain relationships? In this week’s show, Dr. Dan Stoneman, Executive Partner at Gardner and former CIO of the San Diego Unified District, dives deep into this idea. He joins Etienne de Bruin to talk about the role of psychology as a CTO and the importance of relationships. He tells listeners that we should not be so focused on outcomes that we no longer have people in our lives.  Some ideas you’ll hear them explore are: When you’re texting the most important people in your life, Dan suggests, asking them what's special about their day instead of how they're doing.  If you don't understand psychology and influence, you're not going to get anything done. While persuasion is programming people in a way, you can't do that the way you would program computers. Humans make decisions all on their own, so to be able to persuade them, you have to understand why they make the choices they do. The three pillars of effective leadership are mastery, autonomy, and purpose.  The best thing you can do as a leader is to step out of the way so your team can activate and harness their creativity to make the product better.  How you interact and relate to your team is what drives productivity. Years of experience will not necessarily translate into effective leadership. It takes communication, empathy, and a desire to transfer knowledge. Resources Dan Stoneman | LinkedIn  Drive by Daniel Pink The Destructive Hero | The New York Times Netscape Time by Jim Clark
What must exist for a community to be vibrant and healthy? In this week’s show, EJ Allen and TJ Taylor, CTO and Staff Engineer at Mobilize, answer this question. They join Etienne de Bruin to dig into trunk-based development, feature flags, and how community and personal connection drive business.  Some ideas you’ll hear them explore are: Community is the tide that raises all boats. Building communities of trust and connecting with people can unlock potential for everyone.  What it means to be part of a thriving community is the same across professional and personal networks. The key components of creating a vibrant network include trust, empathy, and unlocking potential.  In software development, you must be able to take risks and be vulnerable with your team. This means that you essentially eliminate the consequences of making a mistake, allowing your team to experience psychological safety. Building habits is one of the ways to create pits of success. That translates into looking at the habits of the people around you and figuring out how to leverage those habits to get the desired behavior. Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.  Think about how you're adding value to your customer. At the end of the day, your work is not necessarily as important as the work that your team is delivering to the customer.   "Being able to get 1% better a day makes you 37 times better in a year. Try not to worry so much about what can I get done in a day or what can I get done this week… Instead, just focus on how can I deliver the smallest amount of value as consistently as possible?"  You need every leg of the stool to be successful. That requires trust, empathy, and connection in your team.  Resources EJ Allen | LinkedIn  TJ Taylor | LinkedIn  Mobilize  Refactoring by Kent Beck Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Michael Feathers
This week’s show explores the importance of having a clear vision and crafting your code. David Heinemeier Hanssen, dhh, co-owner and CTO of 37signals, shares the story of his rise to the C-suite and the challenges he faced when starting the company. He joins Etienne de Bruin to discuss how his company has grown over time. Some ideas you’ll hear them explore are: David considers himself a programmer, not an engineer. Engineer, he says, should be a protected title for people who actually have engineering degrees. Most programming languages are not designed for the programmer but to contain and relegate the programmer as the “problematic character that’s driving it from behind the keyboard.” David and his business partner were both students of bad businesses, getting a close-up view of what not to do, which later informed their decisions in building Basecamp. This valuable insight, along with their combined skill sets in programming, design, and business operations, allowed them to approach entrepreneurship from a unique lens. “We had a healthy degree of utter arrogance and exuberant ignorance, and through those things, a commitment to doing things from first principles,” he shares. Once you've made enough money that no one can threaten your livelihood, you achieve a distinct degree of inner freedom that allows you to stand up for your principles.  There are aspects of hardship that are good for you, and they will only make you stronger. A lot of productivity is about realizing the value of doing nothing, and the value of not creating more. The inherent creation value in destruction and inaction is huge and should not be overlooked. Resources David Heinemeier Hanssen, dhh, on the Web | LinkedIn | Twitter Email Etienne: Programming Ruby by Dave Thomas Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture by Martin Fowler Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns by Kent Beck Domain-Driven Design by Eric Evans Refactoring by Kent Beck and Martin Fowler
Is iterative growth more substantial than revolutionary growth? In this week’s show, Dave Mangot, Principal and founder of Mangoteque, explores this idea in depth. He joins Etienne de Bruin to talk about how companies find benchmarks to compare themselves to, and how his organization is holding up a mirror in this process. Some ideas you’ll hear them explore are: The culture you cultivate at your company will endure for the company’s lifetime.  When you’re looking for tools for your company's DevOps, pick the one that fits your company's culture the best. A tool that does most of what you want, and that fits in with your company culture, will have the highest rate of adoption.  To have continuous improvement in your company, you need to plan as well as study. Development teams need to have a calendar, they need to study the projects that they are undertaking and decide whether or not they are feasible.  As a leader, give yourself and your team permission to fail. Be open to suggestions from your team members, and don't be quick to dismiss them. "That was a thinking, creative human being who spent time coming up with that. To dismiss it out of hand is probably not appropriate and certainly not great for team performance or team cohesion," Dave tells Etienne.   Hiring more people when work isn't getting done is not going to fix anything. Throwing more people into a broken system isn't going to fix the broken system. Instead, look at the work that needs to be done.  Resources Dave Mangot LinkedIn | Twitter Mangoteque
“Large open source projects with many developers can sometimes feel like chaotic construction zones.” This week’s show is all about open-source communities. Jesse White, CTO and President of R&D at OpenNMS, joins Etienne de Bruin to define and describe open source communities, what they do, and how they work. Some ideas you’ll hear them explore are: OpenNMS is an open-source network monitoring program intended to monitor large enterprises at scale. How do you nurture a community that has strong feelings about where the product needs to go? “I see my role as being as transparent as possible in painting a picture of where we're going as an organization and what impacts that has on the open source project that we have,” Jesse shares. Sometimes when things go wrong inside an open source community, developers fork projects in different directions or start another community outright.  If you’re thinking about contributing to an open-source community, you should start by asking around. You should also advocate for your own work - don’t seclude yourself in a silo and only come out when it’s ready. Let people know what you’re working on, and keep them posted. Even if there’s no response, people will see it and be aware. The key to open source is the openness of code, disposition, and how you approach it.  Resources Jesse White on the Web | LinkedIn
Do you dream of more harmony between product and engineering teams when releasing features? This week’s show dives deep into the world of features. Patricio Echague, CTO and co-founder of, shares how to avoid causing trauma to your engineering teams with pushes to production. He joins Etienne de Bruin to discuss the fundamentals of updating code in a way that empowers teams across your company. Some ideas you’ll hear them explore are: As a CTO, whether you're at a highly scaled organization or just starting, the value you create is through the code you've written. In updating that code, trunk-based development is the way to go.  Though you can use other branching techniques to use feature flags, they are more powerful when they are developed with a trunk-based methodology. When using feature flags, you should start by placing them as high in the stack as possible and then moving them down as needed. If a feature flag has at least two conditions, two possible states, it gets exponential. This will create difficulty if you have to change many feature flags. You can try to mitigate the animosity between product and engineering by giving them independence. Any mature feature flag will help you identify when flags are no longer being engaged and used.  If you have a monolith code base, you can move towards trunk based by peeling off areas of the monolith that haven't changed often and have a unit of domain, and then putting that into microservice and giving some teams autonomy to iterate on that service alone. Resources Patricio Echague on the Web | LinkedIn | Twitter
DEI isn’t just an organizational to-do; it’s about the day-to-day behavior in a company. Inclusion and Equity are the things we put into practice in our daily lives – how are we inclusive of people, and how do we ensure there is equity across the board? Today, Etienne de Bruin is talking to three experts in their fields, and in the leadership of major organizations who are taking DE&I seriously. Erik Enge is the Head of Engineering at Postmark, Active Campaign. Kathy Keating the VP of Technology at Ad Hoc, and Aaron Pina is the founder of Anthropolicy. They discuss what DE and I really means, how to make it an integral part of your company, and why that matters.   They discuss: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion isn’t a set of checkboxes to tick off. The number of people of color or members of the LGBTQ community in your company doesn’t mean anything if their day-to-day experience of working in the organization isn’t inclusive. “If you focus on the I, the D will come.” Psychological safety is important, but the idea of it has de-developed equity in North America. It has kept majority culture, particularly whiteness, from fully engaging in the process and practice of inclusion. Real psychological safety is something else. Where do you start having conversations about people’s biases and resistance? Aaron recommends looking at skepticism and resistance as a signal for a story that needs to be told. When you’re part of majority culture, what you find normal, pleasant, easy and conducive to success, it’s hard to imagine that others don’t have the same experience. Eric talks about this realization and how he acted on it. Trust and safety doesn’t come from doing and saying everything perfectly, it comes from creating something new. Cathy shares that she feels safety comes from “that beautiful moment when we move from your needs, my needs and where it’s about us expressing our needs.” Aaron talks about how the whole self doesn’t always belong at work, but spaces where you can be unapologetically yourself are vital. He recommends active bystander training and looking at how it can be applied in the world. Fear is a feeling you can move through – it doesn’t have to be avoided, and it doesn’t have to stop you from making changes and doing the work. What happens when you bring difference into your workplace ‘tribe’? It always creates friction but how you treat and respond to that friction dictates whether you grow and evolve or stagnate and eventually decay.   Resources The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle  The Culture Map by Erin Meyer Aaron Pina on LinkedIn Instagram Anthropolicy Consulting Kathy Keating on LinkedIn Ad Hoc Erik Enge on LinkedIn Active Campaign
“When your name is mentioned, what are the characteristics that people implicitly jump to in a millisecond?” This week’s show peels back the curtain on leadership, authenticity, and the role of a CTO. Sri Shivananda, CTO and EVP of Product and Platform Engineering at PayPal, joins Etienne de Bruin to discuss a variety of topics all centering around his experience as CTO. Sri explores building effective teams, the intricate inner workings of a company, and the impact of a brand.  Some ideas you’ll hear them explore are: At the end of the day, leadership is really about building great teams. It’s not an act of one - it’s the act of many passionate people that come together.  Communication channels are critical in leadership. The CTO is the pulse for the customer. Their role allows organizations to continuously evolve the experiences both consumers and merchants have.  Authenticity is foundational for creating trust in any relationship. It’s about ensuring that the way you express yourself and the way you interact with people is in harmony with your core value system.  Leadership is about serving people, but it often gets clouded by worrying about what other people think. Concerns like, “Did I sound stupid?’ are common, but they ultimately don’t improve your leadership. It’s important that you give yourself permission to not be perfect. You become much more productive collaboratively when you learn to stop judging things and people around you on a continuous basis. People who have a habit of reflecting during the weekend have an advantage in going into a new week with new learning. Within a company, the primary operating system involves the reporting relationships such as manager to employee, but the real information and work actually gets done through a secondary operating system of experts connecting with each other. Networking is very important for both personal and professional growth. Resources Sri Shivananda on the Web | LinkedIn | Twitter PayPal
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