The Craigslist Ad That Found Us An Incredible CTO
In 2009, Irving Fain and Josh Bowen were ex-finance guys with an idea for a music loyalty startup. They searched high and low for a technical cofounder at meetups and networking events. Finally, they posted this ad on Craigslist: Ninja Developer & Leader Needed to Assume CTO Position of Music Start-up Seasoned music & finance executives looking for a technical leader who can do it all! We are taking a proven business model and applying it to an industry starving for innovation. Looking for someone who can get into the weeds, build a killer beta product and assume the responsibilities of a CTO. Must be skilled in multiple languages & technologies or able to quickly learn new ones. Individual must be ready for a start-up environment with a substantial equity share. Please only apply if you are the real deal - we are looking for a rockstar. When they received a resume from Michael Montero, they thought it was fake. "This guy was too good to be true," Fain told us. Montero had two hugely successful prior companies. Montero created and sold one of the first social networks, Community Connect, for $38 million in 2007. After that he sold another company, Fotolog for $90 million. A giddy Fain and Bowen met with Montero and instantly hit it off. They even had a technical friend screen Montero to confirm his stellar resume. "He said, 'I don't know how you found this guy but he's incredible," Fain recalls. Now the three have built and grown CrowdTwist, a customer loyalty and social media analytics platform, into one of the top NYC startups to watch. Please follow SAI on Twitter and Facebook.Join the conversation about this story »See Also:The 31 Best New Tech Founders In NYCHere's The TechStars Class Of Summer 2011Dropbox Is Looking For Big Money At A $5 To $10 Billion Valuation
While The Market Implodes, The Guys At Dropbox Quietly Line Their Pockets With Cold Hard Cash
Internet storage service Dropbox is raising a huge round, everybody is reporting. The latest news: founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi are keeping a big pile of that money for themselves. VentureBeat originally reported that Houston and Ferdowsi would be taking "the 'vast majority' of the funds raised in a new $200-$300 million round." Later, a source told VentureBeat "majority" is the wrong word. Anywho. Sounds like a lot of money, either way. It used to be rare for startup founders to take any money off the table until some sort of liquidity event, like and IPO or a sale. But starting in 2008, that trend really began to change. Since then, the founders behind startups like Twitter, Facebook, Groupon, Foursquare, and Zynga have all sold big chunks of the equity to later stage investors. Please follow SAI on Twitter and Facebook.Join the conversation about this story »See Also:Dropbox Is Close To Finishing A Mega-Round That Could Value It At $5-$10 BillionA Quick Theory About That Disastrous Obama SpeechCHART OF THE DAY: LinkedIn Has Been Mauled In This Crash
Inside Facebook's Big Re-Org: Meet The Winners
Facebook has reorganized its technical teams and product groups around around five leaders. Each will report directly to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In a statement, Facebook says it did this "in order to streamline the product development process." 800 million people use the Facebook products and services these five guys have developed and will develop. That makes them more than just the five most powerful people at Facebook. It makes them some of the most influential people in the tech world.Bret Taylor is working on the Facebook phone
Bret Taylor came to Facebook through the acquisition of FriendFeed. Later he became CTO. Since the spring of 2011, however, he's been working on Facebook's secret phone project. The first phone is expected to come out next year, from Samsung. Sam Lessin is Zuckerberg's college buddy
Sam Lessin befriended Mark Zuckerberg while both were at Harvard. His father is a famously wealthy businessman. His girlfriend is a Wall Street Journal reporter. He came to Facebook in May when it bought his failed Dropbox competitor, Drop.io. He's already had a big impact, having lead the development of the redesigned Facebook profile, called Timeline. We imagine his focus will remain in profile product development. Mike Schroepfer will head Facebook engineering
For a long time, Schroepfer was Facebook's most impressive engineering recruit, having joined the company from Mozilla at a time when it was having a surprisingly difficult time attracting new talent. Facebook put Schroepfer out front when it launched Subscribe – a product that allows users to follow each other without becoming friends. See the rest of the story at Business Insider Please follow SAI on Twitter and Facebook.See Also:Facebook Security Flaw Allowed Access To Mark Zuckerberg's Private PhotosTHE SHERYL SANDBERG INTERVIEW: On Working With Mark, Competing With Google, And The Challenge Of Having It AllFacebook Begins Big 'Timeline' Profile Rollout Tonight In New Zealand
Stop Chasing Tech Talent
CTOs are hot commodities; 26-year-old Mike Lewis has a resume most startups would devour. He's started two companies and even developed military software systems. Lewis is happily settled as cofounder/CTO of Spoton, a mobile app that recommends places to go with friends. Still, he's frequently prospected. We asked Lewis what drew him to SpotOn and what attracts CTOs to startups during the recruitment process.Here's his advice to startups looking for tech talent:
Network in tech communities. First-time entrepreneur with no funding? Network in the Python or Rails meetups and find a first-time CTO. Experienced entrepreneur or have funding? You probably don't even need this advice, but network with CTOs through your CEO friends. All CTOs have techie friends and know who is CTO material.
Demonstrate progress. Be it a contracted prototype or significant business development/traction. Techies meet way too many business folks who consider themselves "idea guys" and just need somebody to implement. Idea guys are useless as founders (they're better as investors). Founders should be deft executioners.
Show an effort to learn basic tech lingo and concepts. If the only languages you can name are PHP and Java, you won't get much respect from the best techies (who usually stay on the cutting edge). Like-wise, your CTO should also take an interest in the business side of things as well. If they only care about tech and can't prioritize business needs, that's a warning flag of problems to come.
Vet potential CTOs using other CTOs. If you don't know any top-class CTOs personally, contract the job to the CTO of a well-respected startup. It's easy money to them and they can tell you more in 2 hours about the candidate than you could figure out in a week on your own.
Finally, a developer is not the same as a CTO. A CTO can develop, but they also have in-the-trench experience to make higher level decisions with regard to tech architecture, team structure, and engineering process. Many developers will grow into CTO's, but it depends upon personality.
Please follow SAI: Silicon Alley Insider on Twitter and Facebook.Join the conversation about this story »See Also:The Truth About The New York Tech Scene's Latest "Winklevoss Situation"The Truth About Getting Acquired By ZyngaInstagram's Growth Is Amazing: Here's How It Can Make Money