How A Modern CTO Can Boost Your Company’s Success
Listen to Episode 134:
Episode 134 Transcript:
This episode is brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated, enabling successful leaders and companies to accelerate to their next level of success. On the web at BusinessAdvance.com.
And now, here’s Pam and Scott!
Pam Harper: Thanks, Chris. I’m Pam Harper, founding partner and C.E.O. of Business Advancement Incorporated. And right across from me as always is my business partner and husband, Scott Harper. Hi Scott.
Scott Harper: Hey there Pam. It’s always terrific to join you for another episode of Growth Igniters Radio. And as always, our purpose is to spark new insights, inspiration and the immediately useful ideas for visionary leaders to accelerate themselves and their companies to the next level of innovation growth and success.
Now, one of the trends we’ve been following, as many of our listeners know, is the evolution of the C-suite. We’re seeing that the composition of more and more C-suites is going from functional heads and a C.E.O. to a dynamic team with visionary leaders. This enables them to detect new opportunities for their companies continuing transformational growth.
Pam Harper: Yes you’re right. And of course, as the business environment keeps changing, it’s clear that in order for a company to stay first fast and foremost in the hearts and minds of customers, the entire C-suite needs to be as visionary and business focused as the C.E.O.
One of these roles is the CTO So how does a CTO become a real strategic asset to the C-suite? That’s what our guest today is going to discuss with us. He is Joel Beasley, founder of the app development firm, Logic17. Joel began writing code at age 13 and sold his first technology at age 18 for one million dollars.
Scott Harper: Not bad…
Pam Harper: He soon developed key relationships and began working with investors and chief technology officers, collaborating and building products in real estate, law, finance, and fitness. Today, Joel is an MIT-educated chief technologist with clients from startups to billion dollar companies.
Joel has developed a clear vision and passion for modern technology placing him as one of the most exciting CTOs to watch out for. Joel is the host of the “Modern CTO” podcast featuring conversations with startups to Fortune 500 CTOs. He’s also launching his first book, “Modern CTO”, which explores what it’s like to be in the space of modern visionaries that are shaping our future.
You can read more about Joel by going to Growth Igniters Radio, episode 134. Joel, welcome to Growth Igniters Radio.
Joel Beasley: Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here.
Pam Harper: That’s quite a background you have, and we’ve read so much about you. Now, can you tell our listeners a bit about yourself and Logic17?
Joel Beasley: So I started coding at a very young age. I have two siblings from a pack of three of us. And my mom didn’t want to deal with three kids, so she would send me to work with my dad on nights and weekends. And so I would sit in these office buildings, these large office buildings because he is a programmer and I sit at these terminals, and the Internet was very limited at the time.
So I would just play some games, got bored of the two games I could play. And then I wanted to start programming because I saw the screens in the movie that were black or green and text and I was like, “Oh it’s so cool. I want to learn how to use that.”
So I grabbed a book and started learning how to write some very basic programs and then that progressed further. Did that for several years and I happened to get hit by a car and was …
Scott Harper: Oh no.
Joel Beasley: Yeah, it’s crazy. And then I was in a wheelchair for a year, and then halfway through my rehab, I fell and I re-broke my legs. Yeah, so it took almost two years. During that time, I had a lot of time because I was not attending school. I was doing just some take-home workbooks and I was writing more code, and then I found out that online I could make money writing code, right.
So I was like, “Oh this is exciting.” So I got a PayPal account because I couldn’t get an actual bank account. And started making money right away and it was very exciting. And then I kept writing code all through high school, and my mom was in real estate.
And so I saw some needs in real estate and wrote software there, and then that ended up getting licensed out, and then that’s how I kind of got into the whole business world and licensing technology in that whole world.
Pam Harper: That’s very interesting that you saw that. I mean, that’s a pretty young age to be able to see all these possibilities to make money. So being an entrepreneur was sort of in your blood.
Joel Beasley: Yeah, I like to solve the problems. People were talking about the different problems that they were having, and so I felt like this is how I could contribute and I just went off from there.
Scott Harper: That’s really interesting story Joel, but it’s very big journey. It’s a big distance between being a programmer, a code writer, going from that to being a chief technology officer. And you talk a lot about the evolution of the CTO from being that dinosaur who’s very technically focused to the modern CTO What’s that like and what’s driven that evolution?
Joel Beasley: Yes, so there’s a lot of things that happen in that transition. You have to essentially become an entirely different type of leader. You have to completely reevaluate how you bring value to the table. So when you’re writing code, you’re thinking in terms of features and code in production or being deployed but then as you start managing teams, now you’re having to develop these skills of making people feel heard, learning how to manage people, how people think, and how to structure teams.
And there is just I mean, an infinite amount but a good point would be that I talk to a lot of CTO’s all the time and the difference between the ones that make the transition successfully and don’t is their ability to a) want to — they have to have the drive to actually want to make the transition. So sometimes where they will fall off is they decide, “Well I’ll wear the CTO title and build a basic product, and be a CTO” Then they’ll decide, “You know what? I just really like being head of product. So I’m just going to go and head a product and not be the CTO”
Other people want to be the CTO and then the more successful they are at letting go of the product and like essentially creating clones of themselves like figuring it out and then putting someone in place to make sure that’s operating, the better they are at delegating and then constantly growing the company and learning new skills the more successful they end up as a CTO
I mean, that’s the difference if you look at the CTO’s that started and founded the company and now has 600 employees and six employees.
Scott Harper: Sounds like you’ve actually gone through that transition. You’ve had that trial by fire.
Joel Beasley: Yeah many times and it’s like … I have a six-month-old daughter right now, and it’s a lot like her learning how to sit up and crawl and walk. She just has a big smile on her face and falls over and gets back up and tries again and I’m like, “That’s my kid … Welcome to life!”
Pam Harper: So what was it that really was that epiphany for you that had you write this book? Because what you’re describing is a huge shift. There are so many people that we still meet who are thinking about the CTO in some of the earlier ways that I’ve read about you describing this and that you’ve been talking about and now this modern CTO
Joel Beasley: So recently about a year or two ago, I started working with private equity firms to perform due diligence. So they would have three to five deals a week come to them, people wanting money for investment. And then they would make the decision whether or not to give them the money.
Well, they found me through another project and said, “Hey we want you to look at these deals rapidly for us.” And I said, “Okay great.” And before that, I would be in a deal and it would last six to nine months, and then I would be in another deal. So my experience was new deals every six to nine months, new people every six to nine months.
And then I got to the part where I had new deals and new people multiple times a week. So what happened was the pattern became more obvious of what I had been doing the past decade where the same concepts keep coming up about what the CTO should be doing and everything related to the CTO role because it’s dynamic, it changes.
So the CTO job description when it’s you and a co-founder and you two are building a product like maybe out of your garage with the ramen noodles, all the good stuff versus when you get your first capital versus when you’re getting mezzanine capital versus when you’re a billion dollar company.
Like all those different stages require completely different roles and for you to be in love with the transition between the roles and being okay with learning new responsibilities and letting go of old ones.
Pam Harper: So do you find that the modern CTO as you described it is more common in the larger companies or in, the smaller companies?
Joel Beasley: I think the modern CTO is a mindset of people understanding that the world is changing and being comfortable and hungry for the change and adapting. That flexibility is really what it means to be modern, and it transcends sort of age. I will find 70-year-olds that I … Specifically, Jack is 73, he’s one of the most modern people I know.
He’s constantly learning and understanding new things and growing. And I really think that that’s kind of what defines being modern. It’s being open and adopting change because historically the world’s only speeding up, it’s not …
Scott Harper: Yeah, yeah.
Pam Harper: Exactly. This is true. This is true.
Joel Beasley: So if you have a C level team, it’s very important to take the perspective of how good are they adapting to change and understanding. And then a big one is being able to emotionally detach from like what you think is right and then listen to the market.
So you’ll see companies they won’t want to believe that cell phones are going to be popular because they’re so in love with pagers but at the same time, you see cell phones doubling and tripling in sales every year. You have to kind of like say, “I get that in my life I might be in love with the pager, but you can’t deny that 50 million unit increase in sales every year of cell phones. That you can’t ignore that.”
Scott Harper: So you have to be not just technically excellent but develop the leadership skill, the visionary muscle that it takes, and the adaptability to go with the flow and continually innovate in ways that maybe you never even thought about.
Joel Beasley: Yeah, there’s a good example of this with Adobe. You know Adobe software?
Scott Harper: Yeah.
Joel Beasley: So they had … I was talking about this with Marty Kagan because he was actually in there when they were doing it. They had a two billion dollars pivot. Adobe staked their entire business and like 50% of their total revenue on this one idea of going to the Creative Cloud.
And they had 16 to 20 plus products. You know the Photoshops, illustrate. They all had to convert to this new concept of Creative Cloud because the market shifted, no longer to go buy software in boxes at 300 or 1,000 or two $2,000 a pop. And then a new version would come out every three years. Instead, people now subscribe and pay 50 or 60 or $100 a month, and the software is always up to date like every month.
Scott Harper: Right, a real shift.
Joel Beasley: Yes, so if they did not have a visionary that said, “Look, this is how the market is shifting. We’re just going to be old and maintain this CD thing.” They are going to the app store, or they did not pivot, then they would be way behind the curve.
Pam Harper: So that visionary CTO is a real strategic asset?
Joel Beasley: Of course.
Pam Harper: We’re going to take a quick break, and when we come back we’ll talk more with Joel Beasley, author of the “Modern CTO” about the strategic value of having a modern CTO in the C-suite. Stay with us.
Scott Harper: You’re listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper, brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated on the web at businessadvance.com. We enable successful companies to accelerate to their next level of innovation and growth.
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Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper, that’s me, and Scott Harper. Scott and I are talking today with Joel Beasley, host of the “Modern CTO” podcast, author of the “Modern C.T.O,” And founder of Logic17. Joel, how can people find out more about you and your various enterprises?
Joel Beasley: Moderncto.io.
Pam Harper: And where do we order a book?
Joel Beasley: Yes, if you go to moderncto.io/book all the information will be right there. You read about the book and … Yeah, it’s all right there.
Pam Harper: Okay, and of course people can find out more in the resources section for this episode by going to growthignitersradio.com and selecting episode 134. So Joel, also you are a founder of the Beasley Foundation. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Joel Beasley: For sure, yeah. So it’s me, my brother, my sister and then a number of other individuals because when you do a foundation like you can’t be related to everybody so it was fun going with the other lawyers and actually forming a 501-C3. So what happened was I’m pretty nerdy, my brother is very smart and so is my sister.
My brother’s a doctor in the same town I live in Sarasota Florida and my sister’s Physics Science teacher in our town as well. So we’re all kind of a little into the STEM fields, a little bit nerdy. And what happened was we found out my wife was pregnant and I’m the first of the three siblings to have a child, so we were all very excited.
So we went to Target, and we went to look for some baby books that we could get that would be cool to read because I was just excited that I was going to be a dad. So we did that on the hype of that energy. And we got there, and all the books were kind of like the dragon that eats tacos.
Yeah and like you gotta love it because it’s entertainment, but we wanted some that were fun and interesting around the topics that we’re interested in. I mean, dragons and tacos are great, we’ve gotta love them, but we want like rockets and physicists.
So we left there, and I brainstormed, and I wrote these two children’s books just real quick on the fly. One called “Back to the Moon” about this little brother and sister who go back to the moon in a spaceship and then another one called “The Princess Physicist” which is about …
Scott Harper: I love it.
Joel Beasley: Yeah, she gets stuck in a tower and then uses physics to get herself out instead of a guy saving her, right.
Pam Harper: That sounds wonderful. So do you see your daughter becoming one of these modern C.T.O’s?
Joel Beasley: Sure, yeah.
Pam Harper: Beasley Foundation can do this?
Joel Beasley: Yes. So there was this movie we saw, and it was out recently. I think it’s called “Gravity” or something.
Scott Harper: Yes.
Joel Beasley: And in the movie, they actually mentioned that the way she got interested into the space travel was reading this book called “Goodnight Moon”. And so I was like, “Well what we consume as young children definitely influence our interests.” And that’s proof of it right there.
So I said, “Let’s put these two books out and then who needs them the most?” Well, homeless pregnant women need them to give to their kids and have something for them. The kids that are bouncing around in foster, they need them. They need to see these interesting ideas. So what we did was the same time we found out that she’s pregnant, two months later we’re talking about this idea, we’re going to originally turn this into a business where we sell the books.
Then my mom doesn’t feel well; she goes to the hospital, finds out she has Leukemia, dies in six weeks just out of nowhere at 53. So we were very surprised, and we have this book idea. We had this and then she left us $25,000. So we said, “Well, we all are financially like okay.” So we said, “What can we do with $25,000 that’s like not standard?”
Like most people would go and pay some debt or buy a car, like do something with it. And we’re like, “What can we do with it that she would be proud of?” I came with the idea of doing a foundation, generating the books, ordering the books, and then giving them away as a charity and we decided like that would be the coolest way, coolest project for us to work on to remember our mom.
So we did just that. I hired the best illustrators, we use the same company that printed Disney’s children books, and I got to deal with international shipping freight, logistics, like all that stuff, customs taxes. I mean, it was fun. So I learned it all, and it was pretty great.
So it took us about seven months until the books were actually here through a pallet, ended up in my garage and we just started putting them in the car and going and handing them out boxes at a time.
Scott Harper: So there is another example of doing something completely different, really exercising the visionary muscles. So we talked about the modern C.T.O, and there are two ways to look at this. One is from I have the technical bent and I want to go from being a technical person to a technical leader — that’s one path.
And the other avenue of conversation is the leader of a company, the C.E.O., who wants to build up their C-suite and add a visionary CTO So let’s take the second one first, how does a C.E.O. go about thinking about who’s right for this kind of a role?
Joel Beasley: So if you want to bring in a visionary into to your C-suite?
Scott Harper: Yeah as a CTO Right.
Pam Harper: Right.
Joel Beasley: So if I’m a CTO and I want to kind of get in on this. First of all, the most important thing to our business is the next generation. No matter where you are and what business you’re in because those are the people who are coming up that will be your customers in the next decade. And if you’re not thinking in terms of decades, you’re not really doing the leading stuff, right.
You have to acknowledge that, “Okay my company is going to not only exist but be bigger in 10 years, so I need to win the hearts and minds of the next generation to have that growth.” And if you think about it like that, one of the easiest things you can do is grab someone in the next generation and pull them in and spend time with them and find out what drives them, what’s their world like, what are their peers say, what’s everyone talking about, and get a real good feel for that.
A lot of companies are doing that right now, are in the consumer space with like say, candy companies are figuring out that they need Snap Chat because the kids aren’t watching the T.V., the 13 to 18 or 13 to 16 people aren’t watching T.V. They’re on Snap Chat.
So they have to be there if they want to sell their gummy worms. So if you take that same thing back to technology, you have to look at the next generation of programmers, the next generation of technologists and say, “What are they interested in? Is it V.R., A.R.? Or where is their attention being focused? And then how do I leverage that in my business?”
Pam Harper: So in terms of finding the special people, because I think we’re talking about a very special person who has that vision and can transform and grow a company, how do you even go about finding the right person? There are a lot of people who’ll be very happy when you come up with this answer because attracting and retaining the right talent is a key issue.
Joel Beasley: Yeah, including like I would be very happy too when I figure this out.
Pam Harper: Okay, but this is huge. I mean, people are looking for this rare talent. What are you doing about this challenge?
Joel Beasley: Yeah, so there’s the visionary talent, and then there’s the right talent for the job. So usually you’re going to want the leader to have a strong technical understanding of what’s happening. So even if it’s marketing and it’s not CTO, you want them to have a large and technical understanding, a good solid base that they’ve done the work as the grunts in that space. But then they also have got come up through the space to the top but then also have the visionary stuff.
So I find visionary people usually at the C-levels of their companies; that’s where I run into them the most often. But maybe some other value I can bring would be a lesson that I learned with attracting and retaining the best talent and that is to find people who understand, who are not cocky.
They know what they’re doing, and they’re not cocky and then give them kind of the freedom to do their thing. So Steve Jobs said a great when he says he hires people who are smarter than him and then he lets them say what to do. I go for that all the time, so I’m constantly looking for people who are smarter than me and who have the same values as me.
So I get up really early, I very much enjoy what I do to the outside world. If I say, I work a lot they would think that’s negative, so it’s like I love what I’m doing. So it’s a cliche, but it isn’t work for me. It’s like this is what I’m doing, and it’s very exciting. So surrounding yourself with those people.
I would say a couple of these lessons I’ve learned is getting rid of the negative people and surrounding yourself with the people who believe in whatever the vision is because you’re going to need that.
Pam Harper: Yes, building on that, being in places where these type of people hang out, perhaps there are events that you can go to where you meet them and of course networking to find the right people who are the most visionary who can do this.
Scott Harper: And have the emotional intelligence and the leadership skills to blend the technical and the bringing people together and shaping a culture.
Joel Beasley: Yeah thanks for saving me there. That’s good.
Pam Harper: You know this; you know this, but the thing is I think when you are in it sometimes it’s hard to realize how it is that people could clone a bunch of you because you clearly have that vision and you’re the one talking about the modern CTO, and you’ve sold us on the importance of this.
We’re convinced more C-suites are going to need this type of person, develop this type of person, and also helping them to get to that place where they can, in fact, assume the role.
Joel Beasley: I’ve got something for you.
Scott Harper: Okay.
Pam Harper: Okay.
Joel Beasley: So developing them, I have some value. So I found this following to be true. I can take a person who has a strong work ethic and who is a perfectionist and convince them and work with them to speed them up and produce faster and to deliver more product faster, but I cannot take a person who is very fast with low quality and improve their quality.
So what that means is I can look for the quiet intellectual producer that’s perfectionist, and I can work with them to give them confidence to kind of pull their personality out of them and help them develop their personality through confidence and interaction and then they can become those visionaries faster, but I can’t take a loud, dumb, fast person and then make them a visionary or like encourage them to do better work. That just doesn’t work.
Pam Harper: Okay. Well, that’s a really good point, and in fact, it might make it so that there are more people who are available. We tend to overlook a lot of people especially when they’re quiet. Sometimes because they don’t always do a good job of promoting what they’re good at.
Joel Beasley: They have the internal maturity, and they have the right skills. If you actually go to a tech conference and you talk to most of the C.T.Os or even a lot of … If you talk to a lot of the people there that are on the stages giving the talks, I would say a large more than 51% of them would have previously called themselves an introvert because what they’re refining like from the outside what you see an introvert as being quiet, and you assume that their internal dialogue is quiet.
Well, actually the brain to mouth ratio is 10,000:1. Like what’s going on in their mind, the dialogue that’s iterating through their mind is so rapid and so fast. What’s happening is that they’re not able to slow it down to convert it to words. Instead it’s easier just to let it run internally. And so from the outside, we say they’re quiet, but they’re not, man, they are not quite at all.
Pam Harper: Okay, so does that describe you?
Joel Beasley: That describes my journey. Yeah, everybody would say I’m like extraordinarily quiet, and even my wife is like when I’m not around her she was saying, “You’re very quiet. You’re very quiet.” And I only turn on when I was talking technology or evaluating code or something like that.
I could turn on because I had the communication skills to let it run really fast and knock stuff out but then I had to have that realization a few years ago and then slowly teach myself those communication skills and other aspects. So this interview right now is actually my second or third interview, so it’s … I’m learning here.
Scott Harper: That’s great.
Pam Harper: You are doing great. And it’s also given me an insight which is that if people are introverts, especially when we’re talking about a CTO, a modern CTO and we’re talking about a visionary, sometimes the visionary aspect may not come out as well as you might expect it to because you’re talking about a C-suite where everybody has a vision. And so you need to work extra hard to make sure that is heard.
Joel Beasley: Yeah, I found more often than not when I’m sitting in those rooms as the technical leader, I only get prompted for technical questions but I’ve seen humans interact with each other and it’s amazing how I found the best story when.
Like it doesn’t matter what the decision or what’s happening, whoever has the best set of analogies and the best stories in most of the situations I’ve been in, that individual wins even if they come back a day later and said, “That doesn’t make any sense at all.”
Pam Harper: So the question then is when you have a bunch of visionaries where you have a really strong idea how do we blend those visions and come up with the best idea, not just the best story?
Joel Beasley: Yeah I have a sketch artist I work with all the time. I need to visualize what’s in my head, and I have trouble communicating, but when I see it I have this like I don’t know … It’s like an extra limb or something in my head. I’ve got this vision like I can actually see it although I cannot draw very well myself, I can draw stick figures.
So what I do is I work with sketch artists that I have essentially on staff, and I say, “This is what I need. This is what I see. This is what I see.” They give me a version; I give it revisions. And so … I mean, that’s how we designed the world tour that we’re going on right now.
Scott Harper: Wow.
Pam Harper: That’s fascinating. And this is a perfect place for us to take another quick break. And when we come back, we’ll talk more with Joel Beasley, author of the “Modern CTO” about some immediately useful ideas for modernizing the CTO role to boost your company’s success. Stay with us.
Scott Harper: This is Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. Are brought to you by Business Advancement Incorporated. We’re on the web at businessadvance.com.
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Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. Over the last two segments, Scott and I have been talking with Joel Beasley, serial chief technologist, host of the “Modern CTO” podcast and author of the “Modern CTO”, and founder of Logic17.
Joel Beasley: It’s a lot.
Scott Harper: That’s crazy.
Pam Harper: Joel, how can people find out more about you, your company, your book, the Beasley Foundation, all of these things we’ve been talking about?
Joel Beasley: Yeah, so if you go to moderncto.io and you click about, there’s a story, and it references each one of these links out too to each of those.
Pam Harper: And just a reminder that you can find more in the resources section for this episode by going to growthignitersradio.com and selecting episode 134.
Scott Harper: Okay. So, Joel, you mentioned a world tour, tell us about that. What is it and what’s it for?
Joel Beasley: Yes, so we have made all these friends with the podcast all over the world and they kind of group into the big tech cities. So when they were on the show where we’re talking with one of the guests, and we said, “Hey we should come visit you.” And I realized that I’ve been saying that to 80% of my guests.
It’s not feasible for us to go around everywhere and I thought to myself, “Well we could …” I just made up on the show one day I said, “You know we could just do the show live in Boston. And we could just come out there and hang out. We could have all the people from three or four C.T.O’s from Boston that we’ve had on the show.
We can have you guys all I mean, do the show live, maybe an incubator or something like that.” And everyone was really pumped about it. Started writing in from hearing about it on the show and then they are like, “Oh you should come to our city and do that. We should do the modern C.T.O show live.” And we’re like, “All right. Well let’s whiteboard this out and see if we can do this logistically and financially.”
And so we started whiteboarding it out and then … Have you guys seen the movie “The Greater showman”? I was watching that movie after thinking about doing the show, and I was like, “Well what will we talk about? We talk about robots, technology, CTOs. We have a lot of value mixed with a lot of fun on the show.”
They said, “What would that look like live?” And we would think about, “Oh we could do drones.” Like you see the drones or the Super Bowl or whatever? “We could do drones like Intel did at the Olympics, and that be the opener. And then we could have those robots that we see viral videos about that are running around. Then we could have them come on stage, and we can have the CTOs come and talk, and we could just make it this huge thing.”
And so we started … It first started with incubators, and we’re going to do it just a talk with like 150 to thrill the people, and then it kind of grew and we’re like, “Oh no no we have to like rent a theater with 5,000 seats and do this huge production and get the drones flying around and go absolutely crazy. And we have to build this huge show.”
And then so we built out the entire show, and then we started mapping out all the theaters we would go to, we built a 16 city world tour. It’s going to be like the biggest technology event that the whole world will be talking about. And then now we’re putting out for bids to I.B.M. and Amazon to fund the whole thing.
Pam Harper: So this is a vision in motion? If somebody wanted to get involved in this, what would they do?
Joel Beasley: Yes they would …
Pam Harper: Contact you?
Joel Beasley: Yes they contact us. You can find more information and all the cities and all of our team and everything at moderncto.io/tour. It’s like a video, and it’s crazy and like light show. It’s awesome. And so then you can email me firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in learning more.
Scott Harper: Very cool.
Pam Harper: Joel that is really exciting.
Joel Beasley: Yeah we are like the whole … We just went from like five people, and now we’re pulling on 18 people sort of team just like tripled in size, and we’re executing the 16 city world tour, and it’s starting in Spring of this year so we’ve got three months before our show.
Pam Harper: So what do you think is going to happen as a result of all this? What’s the big vision?
Joel Beasley: Yeah that it’s this new thing. We’ve started talking everybody about it, and it’s nothing like this exist, and everyone we talk to wants to come. So there will be anywhere from five to 10,000 people at each event, and everyone’s going to talk about it. We’re going to have big name speakers come and bring value to people.
Everyone’s talking right now about the Computer Science. There are issues with Computer Science in college degrees. They are not learning the right thing, so I think that we evangelize best practices on our show and that’s our brand, that’s who listens to us. It’s people who want to be the best at what they do.
So we say, “Let’s bring that right into the colleges, right into their stadiums, and let’s bring that right to them so that they can learn today, now so they don’t have to get out of there for your degrees get three years into the workforce, and then figure out best practices.”
We should stop complaining that the people coming out of colleges don’t know and instead go to their turf, speak their language, and give them a heads up which is the whole purpose of the book I wrote was so that the next generation of technologies can learn from my experience. And I said, “Well, you know if I’m just putting a book out there that’s great. What can we do to like really go actually change a generation and you have to think really big in order to do that.
Scott Harper: Joel you’re preaching to the choir.
Pam Harper: That’s it, we’re all thinking big here. That’s the reason for being.
Now, Joel this is the part of our podcast where we like to talk about the immediately useful ideas. We’ve been talking about the theory, what’s a modern CTO, and how does this offer together, where do you find people, all of these things. Let’s talk about three immediately useful ideas about boosting your success through the modern CTO
Joel Beasley: Yeah I’m very interested about the five questions, just so you know.
Scott Harper: Okay.
Pam Harper: Okay, well that’s cool.
Joel Beasley: Yeah, so that sounds super interesting. All right, but back to this the immediate things that they could do right now to kind of modernize the role, I would get out and get involved in the community. So there are meetups with all the technology people get together, I think meetup.com.
If you go to Crunch Base, you can see all the companies that are funded and in what stage of funding. So I would go to Crunch Base and look at what tech companies nearby have are in their like different series of funding, where are they at, what’s the growth and size.
And I would just send an email to them and say, “Hey I want you to coming out, come over to the office and let’s hang out and I’ll buy you lunch or something.” And just get involved and get in front of both your peers and the people ahead of you and the people below you, just kind of surround yourself with those three groups of people and everyone’s really excited to do it by the way.
Like no one’s like, “No.” Everyone’s like, “Oh man, this is so much fun. It was so great meeting you and having lunch.” Just reaching out and saying hello is unbelievable.
Pam Harper: So let’s say a company brings on a visionary CTO and they want to get the best results, what is an immediately useful thing that they could do in terms of communicating?
Joel Beasley: Yes, over communicating is great, right. That’s how you understand that you’re on the same page. So if you and I have a conversation and we both walk away to execute on that conversation, the greater the distance between our next communication the greater the chance of error. So here we over-communicate, and that seems to work really well for what we’re doing here.
We keep the experts super close to us, the heads of the other areas. We all are very close all the time. That way we keep the distance of communication very short and that works for us. I can’t guarantee that works for everyone, but that definitely works for us.
Pam Harper: That’s so important. Sometimes what happens is people will go quiet, and then you don’t really know what’s happening. Those five questions came …
Scott Harper: You lose your lineman.
Joel Beasley: Yeah.
Pam Harper: We developed them for a reason.
Scott Harper: Hard experience still. So another question is if I am a technical person, perhaps I’m on my own or I’m in the company, and I want to build that strategic muscle, leadership muscle, to go to the next level, I have that vision. What can I do to develop that? Bring myself from being a technical expert to a technical leader.
Joel Beasley: Yes, so the way I started was we’ve got the whole concept of the brain works really fast, but the communication skills are low because you can think faster than you communicate. So the way it went for me because that’s the only experience I really have is I started recording audio of my little internal rants.
And then I started taking those recordings and turning them into writings, and I started singing the writings to my peers, and then the writings turned into conversations around the writings which gave me experience having conversations around those topics that got refined, that turned into recordings a podcast, the book, everything.
Pam Harper: Joel it’s been really wonderful having this conversation with you. Any final thoughts on the modern CTO as a strategic asset?
Joel Beasley: Well, no. But I do have something that’s cool. The thing that came up on my mind is boomerangs. We have this thing at the office we call boomerangs. Everybody has to be a boomerang for you to exist in the organization. So what that means is we have a conversation and like I would have a conversation with Jackie or Jake, and they have their jobs.
They’re part of the team because they go away and they instantly come back to me the second there’s a problem, or there’s a question or anything like that. And so what will happen is it’s kind of counterintuitive, right. You think, “Oh they’re going to bother me all the time.”
And yeah for the first 48 hours or three days they will be asking you all the time but when you open yourself up for that, and they know that the door is open and there’s supposed to be boomeranging, what happens is they learn really and within one week you have a self-sufficient person who can execute on their own and we call them boomerangs here, and that is like one of our little secrets that works really well.
Pam Harper: That’s great. Well, Joel thanks again for being at Growth Igniters Radio.
Joel Beasley: Thank you so much for having me.
Scott Harper: Thanks, Joel and thanks to you out there for listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. If you want to check out resources related to today’s conversation, share on social media, read Joel’s bio and the transcript, or open a conversation with us, go to growthignitersradio.com and select episode 134.
Pam Harper: Until next time, this is Pam Harper…
Scott Harper: And Scott Harper…
Pam Harper: Wishing you continued success and leaving you with this question to reflect upon:
Scott Harper: How can we make our CTO role even more of a strategic asset in our company?