003 - What is a Chief Technology Officer (CTO)?


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By Torben Anderson, Torben Anderson: Tech strategy, and CTO. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

You may have heard of a Chief Technology Office and the term CTO – but what does it mean?

In this week’s podcast episode, video and this article, I explain exactly what a Chief Technology Officer is.

In the past few blog posts I have shared tips and advice on developing a tech plan and developing a tech strategy.

Where does the CTO come into all of this?

Let me ask you a question…

Who is the single person that you need in your business to build your technology function?

Who is the single person who helps your business vision become a reality?

Perhaps you are just starting your business. Or, maybe you already have a business and a technology team but you want to do more with them.

My answer to you is that person is your CTO.

My definition of a CTO is…

… A CTO is the person who helps you to make the right investment decisions, at the right time, to really delight your vision and make sure that your vision can be realised through your technology teams.

What a CTO is not

A CTO is not a developer. I strongly advise against making your developer your CTO.

A CTO is not a technical architect either. They should continue to focus on design.

A CTO is not a project manager either.

A CTO does not follow a technology vision. They help you to develop your technology strategy but always ensuring that it aligns with your overall business vision.

10 important things to look out for in a CTO


  1. Understands you as a business owner and leader, and gets your vision
  2. Makes the right decisions based on the people, processes and tools that you need to help your business grow
  3. Helps you to make the right investment decisions – they help you to invest as you scale up and avoid making costly mistakes
  4. Helps you to make decisions at the right time – they take into account your current and future demands
  5. Is there to make sure that you avoid making costly mistakes and prevents you from investing in software, systems and ‘shiny objects’ that you don’t need
  6. Understands your tech strategy and business vision and can help make decisions – they can join and even represent you during funding rounds and when finding investment
  7. Can ‘talk human’ – they translate the technology jargon into language that makes sense to non-technical people
  8. Needs to really stretch you and your people – you want to get the most out of your technology and your technology team
  9. Really delights your vision – they develop solutions and push innovation
  10. Should be prepared to grow with you – they partner with you, they help you and hold your hand along every step of the way as you scale up

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23 episodes