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CTO Bootcamp: March 10th & 11th in Brooklyn

 

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We are excited to announce AKF Partners very first CTO Bootcamp. This unique two day event is designed for current CTOs, VPs of Engineering, Chief Architects, and other technology executives that want to improve their management, leadership, and technology skills. Marty Abbott, Mike Fisher, and Mike Paylor from AKF Partners will share their combined decades of experience as CTOs and technology executives at both large organizations and start-ups.

The two-day bootcamp will cover the following topics:

The CTO Role: A discussion on the diversity of expectations and responsibilities from the 400 companies we have worked with at AKF Partners.

The Right People & Roles: Ensuring the right talent is placed in positions for success.

Management & Leadership: The skills of a transformational leader and highly effective manager.

Conflict & Innovation: A discussion of good and bad conflicts in organizations and how to increase innovation.

Multidisciplinary Agile Teams: Building innovative teams with diverse experience and skills.

Team Goals & KPIs: Setting goals, metrics, and KPIs for Agile teams to ensure success.

The Experiential Chasm: The widening gap between business leaders and technology leaders and how to close it.

Service Delivery Mindset: The most successful technology organizations are structured with a service oriented mindset and we will discuss how to transform your organization and mindset.

AKF Risk Model: Our viewpoint of risk and how to manage it successfully in your architecture, people, and processes.

Highly Scalable Architectures: An in-depth look at creating highly scalable and available architectures

  • AKF Scale Cube: Our approach to designing highly scalable architectures.
  • Creating Fault Isolation: The importance of isolation for availability and time to market.
  • Architecture Principles: An in-depth look at the top architecture principles and how to apply them.

Processes for a Learning Organization: The most effective processes to put in place to create a successful learning organization.

 

Our first bootcamp will be held on March 10th & 11th in New York. If you are interested in attending or sending a member of your organization please register.


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Talent Search: VP of Engineering, BoomTown

BoomTown, www.boomtownroi.com, is looking for a VP of Engineering to join their talented team in Charleston, S.C. We have had the pleasure of working with BoomTown on several occasions and think this is a great opportunity. Please email Mike Paylor, mike.paylor@akfpartners.com if interested.

The Vice President of Engineering will join the BoomTown team and report to Founder & CEO, Grier Allen. S/he will lead the engineering and technology practice company­wide and will have all duties and authorities commensurate with the position.

BoomTown’s current engineering team is a group of roughly 30 engineers is operating without a centralized engineering leader. There is also the opportunity to lead a smaller team of designers and UI/UX personnel depending on the leader’s experience/interests.

BoomTown has spent the last five years building and solidifying its position as an innovator in real estate technology. At the same time, the company has established itself as a trusted partner to real estate professionals in a time when disruption of the real estate business model is a consistent theme. With the massive shift to online home search, brokers and agents must find new ways to effectively engage those consumers, establish long­term relationships, and reestablish their value, which is under continuous attack.

As the real estate market has rebounded, brokers and agents are scrambling to invest in technology that will diminish the threat of disruption. BoomTown is in a unique position to capture the mindshare of both agents and brokers at both the SMB and Enterprise/Franchise level. BoomTown believes that the ability to truly impact agent sales productivity is by connecting the right agent with the right consumer, at the right time, and with the right information is the key to why agents and brokers will adopt the next generation of real estate technology.

Central to BoomTown’s strategy is the focus on predictive data­driven intelligence. By combining consumer behavior with real­time listing activity and agent performance, BoomTown can focus agents on the most productive activity at any given moment. This enables agents to rapidly and effectively engage consumers throughout the lifecycle. BoomTown’s strategy — to marry predictive analytics with a mobile­centric experience — is key to becoming the dominant technology in the future of real estate.


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Enablement

One of the most important aspects of managing a successful technology organization is ensuring that you are practicing & instilling the concept of enablement at all levels. This concept applies to both the product/service you are producing and for people. A good example for your organization is enabling decision-making at the lowest levels possible. I have often seen this represented as “delegation” but I believe that enablement of decision-making is a more powerful concept than delegation which is driven from the top-down. I recently had the opportunity to lead a large infrastructure team and one of the first changes we made was breaking apart into reasonable sized PODs with the primary purpose of ensuring that decisions for the product & technology were driven from the bottom-up while guidance was flowing in from various stakeholders. Many teams practice a flavor of Agile but without enabling each POD to make the appropriate decisions you will run into organizational scalability problems.

The allure of IaaS & PaaS is firmly rooted in the concept of enablement. Self-service is an amazing if you are a DBA, developer or even the end user of your product. The cloud may not be suitable for your needs but don’t let that stop your organization from thinking strategically about bringing those processes & technologies “in-house” for scalability reasons. Implemented correctly, the infrastructure and platform you are building should enable the users and not hinder them, as is sometimes the case. Reducing the number of dependencies between technology teams for launching products is not only good for cycle time of product launches but also critical in scaling up.

Consider making enablement part of your technology team’s DNA and you will likely see that employee morale, productivity and other metrics like NPS will rise.


Dilution

Last year I had the chance to hear early Facebook employee Chamath Palihapitiya speak about a broad range of topics. One of the more interesting subjects he touched on was the concept of dilution of culture. He described quite candidly how he viewed his role as a protector of facebook’s culture and that each new employee was a potential culture-diluter. Sure, most candidates were talented enough, but were they adding to the company culture or more likely to suck the life from it?

A great opportunity came for me in 2004 to join a still young PayPal. It was by no means a startup anymore but the entire engineering organization fit into the same medium sized room at that time. It was then that I first learned how important culture is and how vital it is to maintain it as you scale up. Over the course of 9 years I did my best to help hire many team members that would not only help the business achieve its’ goals but maintain & grow that unique culture.

As I embark on a new chapter in my career here at AKF Partners I’m excited to work with extremely talented people both at AKF and with the organizations we serve. I’m excited to learn about the people & cultures that make these companies so successful and to help them scale.

However, priority #1 is clear enough: don’t dilute, add to it!