At Seedcamp we focus on enabling our founders. One of the ways we do this is through our Academy program which delivers great mentors and speakers across all areas of business, from product to marketing to operations. This month we organized our inaugural CTO Summit, the first in a series of deep dive events focused on specific functional areas of a startup, and part of our ongoing efforts in supporting the technical side of our founders’ needs.
We were thrilled to have the event hosted by our long-standing partners Amazon, at the Amazon Development Center in London — what a great space. The day consisted of a full program of interactive workshops and informal talks about multiple tech-related startup challenges. Mainly focused on technical issues and best practices, our CTO’s had the chance to learn and exchange ideas on topics like: new trends, security, hiring and keeping your team motivated, microservices and auto scaling.
There were some good lessons learned. For example on the technical side our teams gained some great insights on new trends and best practices, not only when it comes to web services but also on how Amazon manages AWS projects internally. The Amazon team shared with us how they organize their teams in “Two Pizza teams” structure – meaning that they are small autonomous teams which own their roadmap and have decoupled launch schedules – making these small teams both independent and fast.
Despite being a very technical agenda, the biggest takeaway from the summit was that it’s often the decidedly non-technical topics that our CTO’s appreciate hearing about the most. One of the highlights of the talks was the hiring panel, which is such a critical issue for any startup. Hiring and keeping talent is hard work. There were great discussions on how to find and motivate people. We’ll definitely be doing more to support this specific need at Seedcamp in the future.
The other key takeaway was that a lot of the value of an event like this is not just about the details of the talks themselves but also about the connections forged between the people in the room. Most attendees were facing similar issues and one of the great benefits of being a Seedcamp coming is the network support you get when you join the family. As Matthew Wardle (CTO at Kasko.io) commented: “The unexpected value of the day turned out to be the networking with the fellow CTO’s. Some great discussions were had and it was good to learn that a lot of people were having similar problems.”
We look forward to further engineering focused events at Seedcamp Academy. By building these sorts of support programs Seedcamp can help minimise the time our CTO’s have to spend re-inventing the wheel and allows them more time to focus on the unique problems core to their business.
Finally we’d like to thank Amazon for making it possible and send a special thank you for all the Amazon team members that were present – we really appreciate it.