How has the CTO role evolved from being in a small startup to a big company?

Clint Oram / November, 2017


Clint Oram, Co-Founder and CTO of SugarCRM explains how the CTO role evolves as the company scales.

Video Transcript

How has the CTO role evolved from being in a small startup to a big company?

SugarCRM is a twelve-year-old CRM company, that’s gone through its own evolution. When we first started the company, I led product management and then I went on to build our services organizations.I was a developer every step of the way through. Then as time moves forward and my other two founders left and I stayed true to the vision of SugarCRM and what we’re looking to accomplish in the marketplace, my role within the company evolved and changed.

I went on to become the 2nd CTO of the company and I have a very different approach to being a chief technology officer than my good friend Jacob, who’s our first CTO. He’s much more of an inbound, development-centric CTO. I’m much more of an outbound company strategy, customer acquisition, CTO. I personally spend a lot of my time on the road meeting with customers and partners around the world, being the spokesman for the company, articulating where we’re going as a company to the marketplace as a whole, making sure our customers are happy and then taking that knowledge and then working closely with our engineering team to give them a view of the marketplace through my experiences. I’m not in there guiding them on a day-to-day basis anymore on how to design different components, I used to do that in the past, don’t do that anymore.

I’ve got smarter people than me who understand today’s technologies better than I do, and I’m much more of what I call an outbound CTO and I think that’s a very natural progression for any company as you mature in that the energy and the passion of a founder, that is so important on getting that core initial team on-board and motivated and focused becomes an energy that needs to be projected out into the marketplace and needs to be one that is focused on your customers. We’re going through a very exciting time right now here at SugarCRM. We’ve graduated from being the largest of the small to the smallest of the large and it’s a different game out there and in my role, as a result, has changed.



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