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The 2nd CTO Colloquium: Portland 1/9/2019

By | Meeting, Portland | No Comments

On 1/9/2019, in Portland, OR:

Dave Miller
Aaron Longwell
Oleg Pashigorev

will address the CTO Colloquium in 3 talks:

“Defect-Free Software”
“The Paradox of Evolutionary Architecture”
“Distributed Teams: benefits and drawbacks of running a fully remote international team.”


  • 5:30pm to 6pm – Arrival Food & Drinks
  • 6:00 to 6:30 pm – Oleg Pashigorev
  • 6:30 to 7:00 pm – David Miller
  • 7:00 to 8:00 pm – Aaron Longwell + Discussion
  • 8pm Adjourn to closest Pub


On Defect-Free Software: Web application development frameworks like Rails allow you spin up web apps quickly. You can hire fast and cheap, and build fast and cheap. Early stage startups usually prioritize speed over quality. Bugs are OK, you can fix them when they pop up or get reported. What if your startup is building back-end accounting software for banks where correctness is paramount? What changes would you make with your development approach?

On the Paradox of Evolutionary Architecture: Software systems and the teams that build them keep getting more complex. Our old approaches are no longer working. Waterfall, SOAP, Agile and REST are all “dead”. Folks are experimenting with ideas that seem more inspired by chaos than engineering. What gives? Are they right? We’ll explore the Serverless, Microservices, “Pizza” Teams and DevOps movements through the lens of patterns found in the natural world. We will conclude pondering a paradox of modern software: that the more successful systems appear to be less “designed” and less “engineered”.

On Leading Distributed Teams: Very often CEOs will come up with an idea to cut down their development cost 3-4 times by hiring an offshore dev team. “Upwork” or similar resources are utilized to try to find super star devs for cheap. We would usually come to a conclusion that they are not that much cheaper and decide to pull the plug on hiring offshore. Then all of a sudden, an offshore dev shop (1 or multiple) contacts us and promises to send us a senior developer(s) for $10 an hour ($15 if they ambitious). At first, we will ignore them, but eventually we will agree to try it out. A Few months into the work we can’t get a reliable build from them, as they can only work with their own in-house source control. Six months into it we are nearing the project deadline, AND after finally seeing the source code we think to ourselves OMG… it’s just unreadable. Somehow it works 80% of the time and we think to ourselves – let’s just have these senior devs fix the few bugs and we will rewrite it once it’s in production. A year into the project – still a few more bugs left and the team has been working for free for the last 3 months, but still can’t get the code into production. If we get lucky the product will hit production, but with a huge delay, but we all know what will happen in production. After all this time, we are forced to hire a very expensive US based dev shop to fix this nightmare – we come to the realization that the entire code has to be rewritten. After experiencing/hearing such stories – No wonder so many lose interest in remote teams, until… you hear a story that it actually worked!
In this talk I will share with you what it took to create a successful distributed development team. We will go over benefits and drawbacks as well as restrictions that we had to put in order to work with people from countries that are at WAR. We will also discuss specifics in the hiring process and practices that help us create the culture we all desperately seek and want.

What is the CTO Colloquium?

The CTO Colloquium is a series of meetings held in various cities, at which specialists address Chief Technology Officers in presentations on relevant topics.  Afterwards, they answer questions pertaining to these topics as well as take part in discussions with  smaller groups of attendees.

Who is it for?

The meetings are exclusive to the head of all technology in a company, typically the CTO.  We prefer to keep the meetings small in order to maximize engagement with the presenters and therefor we keep it invite-only.

Please contact us if you’re interested in attending future Colloquiums.


David Miller

Sr. Software Engineer

Aaron Longwell

CTO, CultureFoundry

Oleg Pashigorev

CTO, Promomash


Top CTO Podcasts

By | Executive | No Comments

Here is a list of regularly updated podcasts that the Chief Technology Officer, regardless of company size or experience, should keep an eye on. In between all the incredible technology talks and episodes that fuel our geekiness, there lies the podcast focussed on helping engineers turn into leaders and grow into visionaries.

There is definitely something for everyone here so take a look and let me know if I’ve missed anything!

Modern CTO

Average length: 50 minutes
Topics include: CTO Role, Scaling, Organization, Growing Leaders
Style: 1-on-1 interviews via video conference

Joel Beasley is doing a stellar job, not only finding ALL the CTOs, but as someone who has experience as CTO and as a developer, his conversations are engaging and fun! The gold lies in the banter between general leadership and growth topics when all manner of tools, trends and books are casually discussed.

If you’re interested in learning how people grew into their roles as CTOs, tackle coaching and development of middle management roles like directors and lead engineers then Joel and his guests are definitely a table you’d want to sit at.

Killer Innovations

Average length: 40 minutes
Topics include: Ideas, Creativity, Innovation
Style: Interviews and coaching

Phil McKinney reads my mind! As CTOs we have rich imaginative conversations in our heads especially when the going gets tough.  Don’t you wish that you could go talk to someone who’s been there, done that sometimes?  Well, this podcast is like having coffee with an advisor who not only gets you out of your head but also gives you solid actionable advice.  This podcast has a nice balance between interviews and 1-1 coaching which I really like.

The CTO Advisor

Average length: 30 minutes
Topics include: Just enough tech to keep CTO on their toes, Personal, Technology Trends
Style: Conversational

I love listening to Keith Townsend and his crew. I feel like he is really close to all the topics CTOs are thinking about. I also get a sense that if I were to meet them at a party, I would be jealous of the camaraderie and rapport they have with each other.

This is one of those podcasts where it’s not that important *what* people are talking about, but rather the trust you feel for *who* is doing the talking. This is not to say that the topics are weak by any means at all. But if you enjoy freestyle banter between people who are obviously very well informed, super experienced and comfortable with each other, this is a great show to add to your subscription list.

CXO Talk

Average length: 30 minutes
Topics include: Tech
Style: 1-on-1 and panel interviews

In our roles as CTOs we are members of a C-Suite and I love this podcast for giving me a glimpse into the minds of my fellow company leaders. In an age where collaboration and emotional intelligence is a significant differentiator, host Michael Craigsman guides us through very interesting conversations that fuel empathy.

The true value of this podcast lies in various experts’ opinions on topics that are relevant, and most essential, to the role of CTO.  CXO Talk has also been around the block so it has a nice air of confidence in the way it’s produced and backed by sponsors.

CTO Think

Average length: 40 minutes
Topics: Product Development, Leadership
Style: 2 “recovering CTOs” talking, no interviews

This podcast has more of an episodic vibe tracking the journey of two “recovering CTOs”. The gold in this show lies in the fact that both hosts, Don Vandemark, and Randy Burgess are currently building products and seem to be in leadership roles at their companies so the topics give you a glimpse into their decision making processes and navigation of real-world situations on a weekly basis.

The benefit that comes with not having guests on a show is that you grow comfortable with the hosts and they tend to speak to their audience more directly rather than hosting a talk show in which they have to guide a guest through a conversation that provides value to their listeners.  In this case, you have two extremely knowledgeable, hands-on CTO types checking in with each other every week and we all get to listen in on that conversation.

CTO Colloquium

Topic: Wide ranging
Style: Live presentations to audiences of CTOs

I’m a lover of live music where the authenticity of the moment trumps the production of perfection and so here you have a unique TED stage meets indie conference vibe that brings CTOs out from their workplace and onto the public stage. Sometimes it sounds like the speaker is referring to slides but overall, the topics are absolutely focused on what Chief Technology Officers should be thinking about and offer a whole plethora of frameworks, models, and systems for getting work done while scaling your organization.

CTO and Co-Founder Talk

Average length: 1 hour
Topics include: Startups
Style: 1-on-1 interviews

An often neglected aspect of the role of CTO is whether it also includes co-founding the company. What I love about this podcast is the perspective Dave Albert brings by interviewing people that help CTOs who also wear the ownership hat. A key differentiator for this audience is the requirement to help with sales.

So, there you have it, our list of podcasts that we think every CTO should listen to.  There is one final podcast that I would be remiss not to add to this list but it’s focus lies more with the entrepreneur founder and is not a technical podcast per se.  But every time I listen to How I Built This, I feel inspired.

Go check all these out and please let me know what else CTOs should be listening to!

Music Video: The 3rd CTO Colloquium Austin

| 7CTOsTV, Austin, Colloquium, Music Videos | No Comments

War Stories From Migrating To A Serverless Architecture with Steve Bjorg

| 7CTOsTV, Carlsbad, San Diego, Talks | No Comments
A presentation given at the 2018 0111 CTO Conference in San Diego.

Bringing Design Thinking Into Technology with Douglas Ferguson

| 7CTOsTV, The CTO Studio | No Comments
Our guest today has reinvented himself by bringing design thinking into technology. Douglas Ferguson has been a CTO and an engineer as well as a software architect and development manager.…

A Meditating CTO ~ Dr. Douglas Brackmann

| 7CTOsTV, San Diego, Talks | No Comments
A presentation given at the 1st CTO Colloquium held in San Diego.

The 1st CTO Colloquium: San Diego 12/19/2018

By | Meeting

Date: 12/19/2018

Location: San Diego, CA

With PhDs in Psychology and the author of Driven

Dr. Doug Brackmann

will present to the CTO Colloquium:

Meditation as a practice in service to your Engineering Team


  • 6:00 to 6:30 pm – Food & Drinks
  • 6:30 to 7:00 pm – Presentation by Dr. Doug Brackmann
  • 7:00 to 7:30 pm – Discussion/Q&A
  • 7:30 to 8:00 pm – Drinks & Conversation

CTOs are the brains behind their companies and the faces of their technologies. They are in charge of all technology decisions and it’s easy to see how this can become overwhelming and stressful. Spend an evening with Dr. Doug and fellow CTOs in San Diego and learn how meditation:

  • improves cognitive processes
  • improves restful sleep and energy levels
  • teaches you to maintain a positive mindset
  • fosters discipline
  • supports healthy reactions to challenges

This event is invite-only and exclusive to Chief Technology Officers.  Please contact us if you’re interested in attending future Colloquiums.