7CTOs was founded in 2013 as a peer mentoring network for people who are in technical leadership roles. More specifically for people who report directly to the CEO on technical strategy and implementation. Members of 7CTOs meet on a monthly basis in small groups of 6-8 to discuss goals, road blocks and to share in their leadership experiences. The forums meet either in person or via video conference but they all follow the same format. All 7CTOs forums are lead by non-technical business coaches focused on creating a safe and productive space for collaboration.
“It’s quite a journey to see a battle weary CTO, generally disconnected from others due to heads down hard work, surface to the warmth and understanding of those in similar situations. They are intentional about their growth and feel connected very quickly in their forums to the point where they wonder how they ever did this without the 7CTOs community”, said founder Etienne de Bruin who himself still serves as CTO to a select few companies.
The experience is more than just a casual gathering of technical leaders because you’re going to see the same faces every month. “It definitely adds accountability to the way we help people when we know that the advice we give one month is going to have measured results the next because of the feedback we’ll receive”, says Ken Cone, CTO of Radeuslabs and member of one of the longest running forums at 7CTOs.
In addition to the monthly forum meetings, there is the ever present Slack which connects all 7CTOs members from around the world to each other. Where the forums have a strong bend towards professional and personal growth, the conversations in Slack tend to be more tactical around process, technology, trends and team growth. “The discourse is different though because you know that everyone in Slack is also actively working on themselves in their respective forums. The tone is respectful, helpful and once again, rich with follow ups to see how the guidance turned out”, says Dwamian Mcleish, former CTO of Camp Gladiator and current member of one of the Austin, TX forums.
To round out the membership experience there are plenty of opportunities during the year to participate in 7CTOs events. CTO Colloquiums are invite only events in which an expert will give a short talk followed by smaller group discussions on the topic. 0111 CTO Retreats are 1-2 day long events in which attendees are treated to talks, activities and plenty of opportunities to grow their personal networks. The events are a ton of fun with strong emphasis on personal touch and connections.
If you’re interested in joining 7CTOs, you should reach out to Etienne.