To start, CTO is Chief Technical Officer, a title of considerable prestige… and responsibility… at medium-sized and larger companies. Few small companies and organizations (that aren’t companies) that I’m aware of can afford the luxury of a CTO.
Recently, I came to the realization that I’m a defacto CTO of four very small “organizations”:
- My immediate family depends on me to manage the computers
- I help out at my church primarily with Internet and networking issues
- I’m a Board member of a not-for-profit community organization recruited to help with a migration to new computer systems
- I help out a friend with computing issues in his small business.
While "real" CTO's have considerable resources at their disposal - well trained, well paid personnel, attention from vendors, and many tools designed for their use, we Micro CTOs of the world aren't necessarily well trained, well paid, we typically don't have attention from vendors (largely because we're small and we usually can't afford to pay much, if anything, for vendor's services). That last issue - tools, is at the heart of why I started this Weblog.
If Micro CTOs are to be able to do "the job" at all, they need appropriate tools. Such tools are out there, but it's tough at times to sift through what's available to find one that's suitable for the particular Micro CTO situation you find yourself in.
Why Chief Technical Officer, instead of Chief Information Officer? Valid point, I suppose, but 1) I kind of liked the sound of "CTO" instead of "CIO", and 2) in my view, a CIO largely implements someone else's "vision" of computing and technology for the organization, whereas the Micro CTO role, as I define it, determines the vision and ends up implementing it.
Unlike other Weblogs that I run, I'm allowing comments on this one. I need the help!
A bit about me: I’m a former System Administrator (SysAdmin) and worked at a very large company. Primarily I worked with Windows NT, NetWare, and Macintosh servers, and was peripherally involved in UNIX administration. While at the very large company, I did solo user and computer hardware support, mail system administration, network troubleshooting, ran some big backup systems, documented processes, and did a heck of a lot of handholding with confused and overwhelmed users. I'm most proud of something one of my user's told me - "When you explain something complex about the computers, I can understand it." That's something that I do strive for, and it was gratifying to have that trait recognized.
Now... I'm a writer, focused on a subject largely unrelated to what I did for the very large company, and I couldn't be happier with that change in career. But the old skills are still there, and they're apparently needed by those that can't afford to hire Information Technology professionals, so I'm willing to see what I can do for them.
Copyright (c) 2004 by Steve Stroh