Joining some 89 million of my fellow netizens, I’m starting a blog. But there will be no pictures of my dog here. Instead, this one will concern itself with what I’m calling “Intensely practical lessons learned in the CTO/CIO trenches.”
Despite my considerable and immutable youth (I assure you that this is true), I’ve had a 25-year career in information technology, serving as a senior executive at Internet companies for the last ten or so of those years. I’m a strange combination, I think sometimes: a CTO who rose up through the ranks of software development, then got “religion” on project management and operational issues, and who maintains an extremely strong interest in and affinity for business issues, particularly those revolving around customers. I’m also a bit of an amateur “internet sociologist”, fascinated by what makes such companies succeed and fail, rise and fall. This admixture will make for some odd, but I hope interesting, topic choices at times.
I searched around the blogosphere (perhaps rightly one of the top most hated words on the internet), looking for something similar to the kind of blog I envisioned, and frankly, I couldn’t find it. Listed at the bottom of this post are links to some of the CTO/CIO blogs I did find, and I welcome people’s comments that point me to useful blogs that I might have missed.
One thing I’ve learned as an executive is the value of stating one’s goals at the outset, so here are mine for this blog:
- address what I see as common information technology issues / problems, ones that span just about every company;
- bring in real-world experiences and anecdotes related to the topic, with names changed to protect the guilty;
- provide “meaty” posts on the topic at hand, instilled with personal perspective;
- post at least once a week;
- provide useful topic-related links in each posting (what I’m calling my Lagniappe section).
This blog will be all over the map of the technology executive experience: I have at least 50 topics already jotted down, just off the top of my head. I plan to cover such things as vendor management, managing expectations, metrics, working with senior management, keeping up with technology, hiring and firing, application portfolio management. I’ll be writing a lot about what I regard as the key p-p-p-pillars of a CTO’s purview: People, Process, Product, Projects, Performance. There won’t necessarily be a logical progression of topic from post to post; I’ll just see where the spirit moves me.
So, what won’t this blog be about? It’ll of course be CTO/CIO-oriented, but one key thing that I have discovered from doing those jobs is that technology itself is really only about 10% of the job. So you’ll see only about 10% of my posts, at most, covering purely technical topics. Unlike one CTO blog I found, you will never see lists of instructions here for configuring hardware or software, with phrases like “Mount the Longhorn x86 Beta 3 ISO image on the VM, and boot the image.” That stuff certainly has its place, but it just won’t be here.
As does just about every blog, I hope to inspire a certain quantity of quality dialog on the topics I cover, but that will probably have to wait for a bit of traffic to build. Whether you agree or disagree with my stances, please consider chiming in with your own personal experiences regarding the topic. And remember I’m new here to the blogging world, so I’ll be learning tools and tips as I go.
Other CTO/CIO-oriented blogs: I was aiming for relatively generalist (not product-specific) blogs of this nature, ones that are still being kept current, with typically at least three posts a month. As I noted, though, I didn’t find very many of these, so not all of the ones below fit that criterion. These are not listed in any particular order (and were updated in November, 2009; for a more accurate look at current top CTO/CIO blogs, consult my blogroll):
- SoCal CTO, by Tony Karrer: http://socalcto.blogspot.com/
- Candid CIO, by Will Weider, CIO of Ministry Health Care and Affinity Health System: http://candidcio.com/
- CIO Mind, by Felix Enescu, http://ciomind.biz/
- CTO Blog, from various authors at CapGemini: http://www.capgemini.com/ctoblog/
- CTO 2.0, by Antonio Chagoury: http://www.cto20.com/
- CTO blog, by Lars Struwe Christensen: http://www.giritech.com/int/Giritech/CTO-Blog
- CIO Blog, by Peter Birley: http://www.cioblog.co.uk/