Going from CTO to Business Operations

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September 12, 2023

What are the skills you take when you go from being CTO to head of business operations – and what are the new skills you acquire? And how can a company benefit from having a former CTO looking at its systems and processes? 

Nick Rockwell is currently the EVP for Strategy and Operations at Fastly, having transitioned from within the company as CTO. Before that, Nick was CTO at The New York Times, and he's been a CTO for the better part of 22 years! 

All of this makes him expertly qualified to chat with our host Debbie Madden about the skills an engineering mind can bring to meetings, including how to take a data-informed approach (rather than data-driven) to learning, research, and information, as well as still using data for outcomes. 

The challenges of being cross-functional, learning how to communicate with your teams once senior management has worked out what is a priority, and even the personal identity shift that occurs when you take on a different role within the same company all provide valuable insight into the day to day operations of a thriving tech company. 

The human challenges of team cadence and doing the simple things really well to achieve success are all carefully considered and articulated by an engineering mind who is now re-engineering company systems. 

This episode is for all engineers looking for an insight into what it's like to bring those skills to the boardroom table and take on other company challenges. Please join us. 

"It stands to reason that if you want to change anything about how the company runs, it's at least 80% a communications challenge." - Nick Rockwell

In This Episode:

  • Nick shares on re-defining his identity within the company 
  • Thinking like a product manager – understanding prioritization
  • Understanding that every company process is manifested in a system
  • Appreciating that the mechanics of corporate communication holds the key to change
  • Nick's insights into cross-functionality
  • Why a "data-informed" approach is better than a data-driven one

Let's collaborate.