Entrepreneurship Technology

What is Full Stack CTO?

It’s a log of my experiences being a technical co-founder at INSORCE. Its here that I realized that being a CTO at a start-up is much more than either the traditional role of a CTO or that of a full stack developer or lead programmer.

Therefore I coined the term Full Stack CTO to describe what the role entails.

A traditional CTO will focus on the defining, communicating and managing the execution of the technical strategy of the organisation. Whereas a start-up CTO has to deal with a lot more.

A sample of things I have done being a CTO.

  • Budgeting, building the team, setting up the office, vendor management
  • HR - Evangelizing, hiring, pay negotiations, appraisals, training, motivating the team, providing career growth and firing.
  • Laying out the company’s policies and processes.
  • Technology selection for the office - email, calendar, collaboration and other tools like source control, CI env., bug tracker, expense tracker and procurement
  • Defining the product architecture, selection of technology and coding
  • Working as a product manager
  • Product release and deployment strategy, customer contracts, service level agreements
  • Customer support - external and internal.

So in a start-up the role starts lot before the tech strategy is defined and is not limited to managing the execution, but taking a very hands on role in everything, from resourcing to customer support. Thus a start-up needs a full stack CTO.

The experiences I log here and the discussion made were in the context of my knowledge and INSORCE’s needs*. They may or may not have wide applicability. However I have tried to keep them as generic as possible to help fellow tech founders.

* INSORCE is into selling technology solution to the global financial institutions, whose needs are vastly different from startups in B2C or even a B2B for some other enterprises. The technology and processes selection at INSORCE reflect that.