It has long been my personal goal to publish a book. I realize that my massive deficits in spelling and grammar would be a barrier to that ever happening but I figured what the hell, right? So I started writing. Recently my paths crossed with a publisher and I had a chance to pitch them on some ideas. One idea seemed to stick and so I decided if there ever was a time to start writing a book it was now.
The idea that stuck was on the topic of “How to be a kick ass Startup CTO”. A topic I’m not sure I am fully qualified to write on, but due to the fact that I have made much of my career as a Startup CTO for various startups I have some strong feelings on the subject. This book is not for everyone. If you are a corporate giant these early stage concepts will most likely not be applicable to your business.
This book is intended for early stage startups that need structure. Startups that are asking the question “We have a rockstar developer, now how do we scale that to a rockstar development team?” or even “We don’t have a rockstar developer, if I hire one or two how to I manage them and scale our development processes?” It is for any developer that wakes up one day and has a panic attack because they realize now they have to manage a team and managing a team is nothing like writing code.
My goal is to help companies get their dev team moving in smooth rhythm until they hit a ‘runners high’ of sorts and they almost feel like they couldn’t stop moving forward if they tried. I can remember the day that I realized we had hit this runner’s high at SnowShoe. It was the day I logged in to the development environment and realized the whole thing had been reskinned with out me even lifting a finger(keep kicking ass SnowShoe dev team).
Since I am not a traditionally trained writer I figured I would not go about the traditional way of writing a book. Learning from authors such as Tim Ferriss and Guy Kawasaki(see his new book on writing books) I figure I would do it like I would do most of my projects. A pitfall I see in a lot of startups is the belief that “If you code it they will come”. In my experience this is flat out wrong. You can’t lock yourself away for weeks at a time coding and eventually launch and expect people to sign up for your services. You need to be talking to users from day one asking what they want? What do they hate? What will make them to sign up?
From what I can tell writing a book is no different. I can’t see much good coming from locking myself in a room and writing for the next 12 weeks. Instead right here and now I am inviting all of you to be part of the process of writing this book.
Step 1: Write an outline for the book and then send it out to everyone and get feedback.
Step 2: Create a version 1.0 and then send a digital copy out to everyone and get feedback.
Step 3: Create a version 2.0 print out 100+ copies of the book then send that out to everyone and get feedback.
Step 4: Create a version 3.0, hire a professional copywriter to help clean it up, run a contest asking freelance designers and studients to design the cover(Possibly on Womstreet.com – hint hint Matt Ford) then get everyone to vote on the cover.
Step 5: Do a shit load of interviews and speaking engagements to promote the book
and let the publisher release it nationally.
Step 6: Get feedback from the general population of readers and do it all again.
Where I need your help?
If you noticed the concept of getting ‘feedback’ is involved in pretty much every step I outlined earlier. So the number one thing I am asking is for your honest uncensored feedback. If you think my work sucks then tell me!!! Email me or post a public flogging in the form of a blog post, all I ask is if you hate it tell me why. If you like it let me know what parts so I don’t accidentally cut them from the end product. If you think I am missing something let me know so I can add it.
Your Stories and Experiences: My well of knowledge on these topics is only so deep. I am still fairly young and have yet to experience everything. Take a look at the outline. If you have some gem of knowledge or anecdote please send it my way. I will be perfectly happy to give you full credit in the book(plus it could be an easy way to score some free press for your project).
Title suggestions and cover submissions: For the time being I am calling the project ‘#StartupCTO’ because that is the hash tag I found that no one was using. In the future I will set up a poll to ask what the book should be called. I will also be taking submissions from graphic designers for the cover of the book. Of course anyone that submits will get a free copy and the any art used will be attributed. The winner will most likely get a cash prize as well(I will let you know before hand of course).
Finally I could use your help spreading the word. If you know a startup that needs some help getting the technical side of the tech startup organized and scaling send them my way! The earlier the better. If you are a reporter or blogger and are looking for a story hit me up, I can talk ad nauseam on these topics. I am happy to talk to anyone and everyone that is interested.
Thanks for reading, I will keep you all informed. Sign up here if you would like to have access to drafts of the book as they come out or if you just want to keep up to date with #StartupCTO’s progress.