Why A Tech-Savvy CEO Isn’t The Same As A Business-Minded CTO

Source | INC42

Don’t just pick a title. Pick the role that you’re best suited for as a founder.

Prior to founding Adored, I was the CTO of Dyn, an engineering-first internet performance company. I thoroughly enjoyed the role, especially the opportunities it gave me to speak with members of the tech community. When moving to Adored, I knew I wanted to make the shift to CEO. While both roles do have some commonalities, there are glaring differences that can make it a difficult transition.

But most tech-savvy entrepreneurs aren’t shifting roles when they build their startup; they are deciding whether to be a tech-focused CEO or a business-savvy CTO. If you understand the core responsibilities of each role, you can make sure that you’re providing value to your company. And don’t chase a title — choose a job that you’re suited for. Here are a few differences to keep in mind.

A CEO’s Responsibilities

At Dyn, my CEO Jeremy Hitchcock told me that out of all that a CEO does, the role has three main responsibilities:

  1. Set the vision and direction of the company: Without a solid vision, the company has no chance of moving forward. Your leadership team will help guide you and support your decisions, but without setting the foundations yourself, you risk your workforce not knowing entirely what their driving goals should be every day.
  2. Hire and retain the best talent you can find. Seems obvious, right? It’s not always so simple, however. Especially when starting out, your desire to build out your team may tempt you to take on employees who may not be a complete fit for the vision you created. Do yourself and your other employees a favour and only hire the best of the best. It will ultimately help you in the long run when you are running full steam ahead with a solid team. Similarly, once you’ve found these great fits, find ways to ensure that you can keep them on board.
  3. Make sure there is always money in the bank: Starting a new venture is stressful enough without going month to month wondering if you’ll be able to keep the lights on. With plans to continually bring in new deals or customers and proper budgeting, you can help ensure that you’ll always have that cushion.

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