CTO

Jaime Mateo

CTO & Co-founder @ Bridge for Billions

Q&A

Your favorite content and why

Two books: 

  • Management 3.0. It helped me a lot when I started to become a manager and have to lead a team.
  • Reinventing Organizations. The writer is the author of this concept of “Teal” organizations, which is what we try to do in Bridge for Billions in terms of company culture.

 

A podcast:

  • K Fund. I like it because it gives me a lot of different perspectives from founders and people in the startup / entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Your favorite working app

It is not a new one but I really like Trello, it is simple but at the same time you can use it for many different things. I even use it for my personal life when I have to plan a trip or when I study something new, it helps me a lot to structure everything.

Your reference leader, why and what you learnt

One of my references is Edward Snowden. Besides his excellent skills as a Security and Internet expert, I really admire the impact he had while taking certain decisions that helped the world to better understand what privacy means and why it is so important nowadays. His dedication to preserve the Internet as a distributed, inclusive and democratic space is to me one of the best inspirations in my professional career.

The #1 skill a tech leader needs to succeed

Empathy. Because for any leader, communication is key and so it is listening. If you are not empathetic enough you won’t understand people issues and your solutions will not be the right ones.

What you like most of being a CTO?

I can have an impact not only in the business and direction of the company but also in the people that are in my team, in their professional development and leadership growth.

Also another point that I like is I have the chance to learn many different things and you never feel bored.

Which is the biggest challenge you have faced as a leader?

Keeping high the motivation and the passion of my team while facing adversity. Related to this one, being responsible for your team’s growth besides yours.

What is the takeaway from that experience?

If you work on your team’s growth (giving them the resources, delegating the responsibilities, allowing them to have a real impact…) they will feel good at work and will be more motivated (intrinsic motivation) and they will work more efficiently towards the objectives and stay longer in the company.

The one single tip for aspiring CTOs

Give People, Business and Technology an equal importance.

What should a top tech recruiting process have?

At least one interview where you get very deep in the personal moment of the candidate. Knowing why the person is applying and if that person is connected somehow to the company mission is, at least for me, the #1 question I need to answer during a recruiting process.

How can i avoid micromanagement?

You should trust your team enough to be able to delegate anything that becomes a bottleneck in your work. If this is not an option, find the gaps in your team and try to find someone who can do that. When it comes to Management, the best way is to dedicate time to unblock people by suggesting directions instead of giving them the solution.

Should we use the spotify model of squads, tribes and chapters?

I’ve heard of Spotify squads and I think it’s worth a try for small teams. At the very end, from my point of view the goal of these models is to not create silos and make teams that can be independent and not block each other. It is though very hard to achieve since efficient coordination is key.

How can I balance the needs of Product with the Tech development that needs to be done?

Giving the same importance to release new Product stuff and handling the Tech Debt. This can be done by introducing testing in an agile development approach to avoid an increasing number of bugs. Also, there should be a paralel Tech strategy with clear objectives and KPIs besides Product ones so you can be alerted when things need some more maintenance.

How do you decide the tech stack?

Though I think the stack doesn’t really matter that much, if I would have to choose one I would go for those stacks with years of experience in the industry, with strong communities behind and, if possible, open source.

What should I be doing as CTO?

Listen to everyone and try to understand very well what people need and why. Then, take decisions considering the business aspects and always starting with a MVP approach. In the meantime, don’t forget to have regular 121s with your team and work on their growth via delegating responsibilities and providing them the resources they need to make their job the best possible.

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