CTO Think

49 EpisodesProduced by CTO Think

A pragmatic podcast about leadership, product dev, and tech decisions between two recovering Chief Technology Officers.

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Benefits of Continuous Integration

May 7th, 2019

41:09

Over the past two decades of working in tech, the use of Continuous Integration (or CI) has become a mainstream approach to product development. Randy and Don discuss the systems they used before (or lack thereof), what …

Business Metrics and the Lack of Context

April 23rd, 2019

42:37

We discuss business metrics, reporting, statistics, and how many of the numbers, without context, lack much value. Can your business deliver the Five Nines? Does it even need to? What kind of performance can you …

Writing a Job Description for a Non-specific Job

April 9th, 2019

1:08:03

Don's firm is looking to hire a non-senior Python developer to help spread the workload of the engineering team. We discuss how he's writing up the …

Customer Perspectives and Managing Expectations

March 26th, 2019

49:09

A customer claims the service provided didn't meet expectations despite them choosing the more “economical” solution. Another client’s manager felt a …

Hiring Good Consultants

March 12th, 2019

50:39

This week we talk about how we’ve hired consultants in the past, where we’ve failed, and the perspective of consultants that might help tech leaders …

CTO, CIO, CDO, WTH?

February 26th, 2019

41:29

This week we discuss the various C-Level titles in the tech world: CTO vs CIO vs CDO vs others. What do folks with those titles tend to do and do the …

When a Third-Party Service Fails

February 12th, 2019

46:07

Don's company ran into problems when their email provider, Mandrill, suffered a significant outage. Randy and Don discuss how they handle outages, prepare for switching to other providers (before or after failures), and …

Setting Goals for your Team

January 15th, 2019

47:17

Don is setting up goals for AspirEdu for 2019, which takes us into a discussion about how to set up big projects and campaigns for small firms that have lots of small tasks to get done at the same time. How do you get …

Review of the State of JS Survey

December 4th, 2018

1:05:49
JavaScript
angular
Express
Redux
typescript
graphql
Ruby
Frameworks
Java
Koa
JavaScript …

Should We Open Source This Code?

November 7th, 2018

28:53

Don and his company, AspirEDU, decided to open source a small bit of code for the first time for the Django community. We discuss the various considerations--across proprietary, support, and licensing questions--the …

Adventures in Interviewing

October 23rd, 2018

1:10:14

Randy is moving to Kansas City and exploring new job opportunities both local and remote, which has him in the thick of a variety of interviewing processes. Don and Randy discuss the good and bad about some of the …

Build vs Buy and Disrupting Processes

October 9th, 2018

40:52

We're back after a couple-week break! Don and Randy discuss the ever-debated strategy of building versus buying your software solutions. But they up …

Handling Critical Feature Updates

September 11th, 2018

55:31

Don's firm recently underwent its first major platform upgrade and we discuss the various ways they prepared, tested, and worked through the changes, all the way up to the dreaded "point of no return."

Betting on Vue JS with Gregg Pollack

August 1st, 2018

57:48
Show Notes

When People Don't Listen to You

July 17th, 2018

53:59

We discuss the inevitable issue of bosses, owners, managers, and clients not listening to every bit of advice we offer up. From ignoring the …

When Everything's Going Wrong

July 3rd, 2018

51:32

How do you get things back on track when everything from the engine to the caboose is falling off? We discuss steps to take when everything and anything is spiraling downward on a tech project.

Stakeholder Types and Working With Them

June 26th, 2018

1:02:29

We discuss the various types of stakeholders that a technology leader may need to deal as being part of a company or a particular product. We discuss …

Thinking About Dependencies

June 12th, 2018

1:02:40

What are the considerations do you need to make regarding third-party services and software? We talk about relying on Github after the Microsoft purchase, using AWS or Firebase, and the world of JavaScript, Node, and …

Learning as a Cultural Component with Griffin Caprio

June 5th, 2018

1:00:17

Show Notes

Social Media Side-Effects

May 1st, 2018

49:34
LinksDescriptApp
Pink
Hamilton
Tim Tebow
Kanye West
Ta-Nehisi Coates
James DamoreShow TranscriptMegan Schemmel: Welcome to CTO Think, a podcast about leadership, product development, and tech decisions between two recovering …

Identity Heft

April 10th, 2018

48:40
Notes
  • We've started a new podcast! Check out This Old App and subscribe!
  • This Old App is more of a grab-bag of in-depth technical discussion, more …

Don't Be Evil-ish?

April 3rd, 2018

52:55
Notes
  • At a company, ethical behavior starts at the top
  • Being ethical at the beginning of a firm is easy compared to the grey areas that show up as …

Non-Disclosures, Non-Competes, No Way?

March 27th, 2018

48:15
Notes
  • We aren't attorneys and any statements related to the legal side of the NDA/NCA debate should be discussed with one.
  • The algorithm a firm uses …

You're so vain, you think in-office work is about you

March 20th, 2018

59:48
Notes
  • Apologies to Carly Simon for this episode's title.
  • Don's history is that starting in 2001 he began remote work with IBM, working for Disney.

Fostering a learning environment with Mark Thompson of Trilogy

March 14th, 2018

55:43
Notes
  • Mark Thompson is both a developer of apps and teacher of coding bootcamps, and now he's working for Trilogy Education as Director of Academic …

Communicating on a roller coaster of uptime and downtime

March 7th, 2018

58:59
Notes
  • Randy and Don were stranded on the Expedition Everest roller coaster mid-ride due to mechanical failure.
  • For the first 10 to 15 minutes, there …

Are code challenges a lazy or legitimate method for hiring developers?

February 25th, 2018

54:02
Notes
  • Randy is frank: taking a code quiz for a leadership or senior tech role is beneath his experience and skill-level
  • A developer's body of work …

Skills for a career in tech leadership

February 18th, 2018

44:17
Notes
  • Don is working on a communications tool for Construction Specialties & Design
  • Randy was recently hired as a Fractional CTO for a startup
  • A …

Developer focus is an excuse not to talk, right?

February 10th, 2018

46:58
Notes
  • Randy has a potential client for Fractional CTO work, meaning a consultant working in a part-time CTO role for their startup
  • Don discusses the …

Your hosting strategy - Choosing from self, managed, cloud, or serverless

February 3rd, 2018

40:37
Notes
  • Don is headed to Gainesville for the Gator 100 ceremonies where both of his firms are being recognized as top 100 firms for growth by …

Work-life balance

January 27th, 2018

39:55
Notes
  • We've launched a Patreon campaign to raise funds for per-episode transcripts.
  • Some people feel the need to adhere to a strict 9-to-5.
  • The …

Does a tech manager need to code to be effective?

January 18th, 2018

37:00
Notes
  • Thanks to our first patron, Matthew Bivins, for contributing to the production of the full transcript for this episode.
  • We've launched a …

Antifragile and TDD - What's the value?

January 12th, 2018

33:48
Notes
  • Antifragile represents a system that improves under chaos
  • In a well-tuned org, with test cases and adaptive practives, software systems can …

Risk and Exploits - Dealing with Meltdown and Spectre

January 5th, 2018

42:46
Notes
  • Ripped from the headlines: Part of Randy and Don's week was dealing with Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities.
  • What is a CTO or technical …

Managing tech debt - When best to work on it?

January 2nd, 2018

28:11
Notes
  • Randy discusses his explosion of three side projects: An app for HOA board members, an open source project named CaptionPoint, and a marketing …

Hiring developers - Who should I hire to build an app?

December 28th, 2017

25:10
Notes
  • Don talks about AspirEDU being in a refactoring phase
  • Don's gigs, AspirEDU Construction Specialties & Design were awarded as "100 Fastest …

Introducing CTO Think

December 23rd, 2017

4:51
Notes
  • Don is a University of Florida grad, Bachelors and MBA
  • Don is CTO of AspirEDU, educational analytics company
  • Don is Managing Member of …
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