Will you be the CTO or VP of Engineering?

I usually receive questions regarding the role of CTO and VP of Engineering. There is a couple of great blog posts on this topic such as Suster’s and Dickert’s one.

Forget about the roles. Both functions are important. In the early days, you will have to define the technical direction – and code a lot! After the MVP and a couple of new employees, you will have to start scaling: hire people, coach them and fix processes. The first job is usually attributed to the CTO and the second to the VP of Engineering.

Anytime, you will need to keep scaling and driving the technical direction. It could be the same person doing the same functions at some point, or maybe you with a manager, or maybe you with a senior developer. It usually ends with having a CTO and a VP of Engineering, at least someone leading each function.

If you are the tech co-founder, don’t be confused about your role or what you want to become. Don’t let your ego drive your decisions and don’t be in the wrong job. Your interests could also change over time. Understand both functions, review your role and scale the company.

The exponential curve of your growth

Successfully startups have an exponential curve. If you want to keep learning and scaling you should follow the velocity of your company.

The way you used to code, make decisions and think will be changing. You can’t grow linear. Your hard and soft skills should follow the next level of challenges, otherwise, you will be dying each day. However, sometimes the time needed is not enough, so you will be in next cycle.

Find the ways to accelerate this process: read, study, meet pairs in other companies, have a coach, psychologist, and mentor.

What curve are you in?