The World Is Flat, Stupid: Time for America to Hire a CTO

The role of a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in a company is an incredibly critical, but poorly understood one. Unless a member of the founding team is a strong technology visionary that occupies that role, many start-ups neglect the position. Instead, they assume the CIO or VP of Engineering can be responsible for setting technology strategy as well as delivering on it – an impossible burden even for the most talented technology manager. Within our portfolio, I have always been an advocate of separating the two positions: an internally-facing VP of Engineering or CIO, who is responsible for delivering the goods on time and on budget on an operational, quarterly and annual basis; and an externally-facing CTO, who is looking over the horizon to set strategic direction and establish the priorities of where to invest taking into account how the world will look in 3-5 years.

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