Dear SaaStr: When Should a Technical Founder Stop Doing Technical Work?

Only once you are obsolete.

You have to make yourself obsolete first. You have to bring in an engineering lead that is truly better than you. Better now just at “coding”, but at intuiting the product, managing the team, interfacing with customers, working with sales on bugs and features. Everything.

Until you are obsolete. You are stuck in technical work.

And 90%+ of the VPs of Engineering I’ve seen come in … can’t do all of this.  Some, but not all.  They are too focused on people and processes.  And not enough on the magic.

The other day I caught up with a great CTO of a SaaS startup that had just crossed $20m.  His #1 mistake?  Getting out of direct engineering once he hired a VP Engineering.  Everything slowed down, and the VP Eng never truly understood the code base or the Why.

I’ve seen this again and again.  When the founding CTO steps out of doing the work, sometimes it seems easier for a bit.  But 99 times out of 100, I see innovation … just slow down.

The founding CTO is often the only one that truly understands a lot of things.  The Why, The How.  The choices, the reason this customer wanted it that way, not that way.  How it all fits together.

Don’t let that go.

Related Posts

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This