CTO and CEO in small tech companies

By John, Eastpoint Software on 01 April 2014

Having been working running tech teams for around ten years now, I realise that I’m actually not really a developer anymore. I do develop, but I can’t do that as a full time activity too often however much I enjoy it.

However when I introduce myself to people to find it hard to describe my job as something other than “developer”.

But I’ve recently updated my LinkedIn profile to call myself CEO - this has always seemed a remarkably unnecessary term… does a company of under ten full time staff really have a CEO?

Previously I had CTO (Chief Technology Officer), but that also seemed a little grandiose such a small organisation.

A CEO (or Managing Director) or CTO in a small company always seemed to me to be akin to declaring a new nation in your own back garden and proclaiming yourself it's all-powerful king.

Strategy and direction

Every company, no matter the size requires strategy and direction - both at the business level and most with a technology specific strategy too.

We are a relatively small company consisting of four developers, a business analyst/test engineer, a project manager and a client account manager. Plus me.

I have the chance to get involved in projects in-depth for periods of time, and actually that’s happened a lot over the last 12 months. But really that’s not where the focus of the person ultimately responsibel for a business should be… that’s the job of the team of specialists.

I love working with technology, but working with people is what I enjoy most and I will be blogging here about my thoughts and experiences in carrying out the CEO/CTO role in a small team.

In the future, I hope to write more about my opinion on this topic, especially about managing the relationships that this role brings, but also about the technical challenges and decisions we make.

Building a strong team that is composed of motivated and skilled individuals can make the difference between success and failure - and with that in mind, I do think a CEO and CTO are essential roles in any tech company, even a very small one… and it’s not simply vanity title.