Monday, May 21, 2012

Startup CTO Speaking

Over the past several years, I've done lots of presentations around a wide variety of topics.  I was recently asked by an organization, "Tony, what topics can you cover?"  I realized that I've never captured topics that I've covered (I'm always willing to look at other topics), nor have I put up my speaker bio.  So, here goes:

Dr. Tony Karrer

Karrer-Tony-large-portraitOver the past 15 years, Tony has been a part-time CTO for more than 30 startups.  Most notably, he was the original CTO for eHarmony for its first four years making him partly responsible for more than 4% of the marriages every year.  He's also led  significant technology projects for a very impressive list of companies including Citibank, Lexus, Microsoft, Nissan, Universal, IBM, HP, Sun, and the list goes on. 
Tony has a Ph.D. in Computer Science and taught computer science for 11 years.  He is a frequent speaker at trade and industry events.

Select Startup CTO Speaking Topics

Making Sure You Are Ready to Begin Building Your MVP

So you think you're ready to start building your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)? Many non-technical founders miss documenting key features when communicating with their development team. In this presentation, Tony Karrer, a well known CTO for early-stage startups including eHarmony, will take you through the keys points you should consider before building your MVP such as: Features often overlooked when documenting an MVP for developers; Considerations when implementing social features; Understanding important metrics you want to measure; Risks and challenges in developing an MVP.

Building Your MVP as a Non-Technical Founder

Are you a founder who’s got a great concept and needs to get the product built? In this class, Tony Karrer, a well known CTO for early-stage startups including eHarmony, will take you through the keys to successfully getting your mobile/web product built.

Technical Advisors: Why Every Startup Needs Two, How to Find and Work with Them

After talking with several hundred startups over the past few years, there is a clear need for technical advisors to help specify the right things to build, make sure development is done right, plan past the initial MVP, review what is being built and generally cover gaps in the technical strategy and tactics.  Tony takes startups through the why and how of technical advisors.  Don't do a startup without them.

Ten Lessons from Working on 30+ Startups Over the Past 15 Years

Tony looks back over his experience working with startups and extracts elements that have led to success or failure.  Many of the factors are not obvious and include building mystery to drive margin, why boring B2B companies often win but are challenging in other ways, how bootstrapping wins, integrating metrics from the start and many other similar lessons.

Startup Feedback Panelist

Tony has participated on many panels where he can provide real-time feedback to startup founders.   Startups provide introductions and Tony and fellow panelists provide feedback in real-time.  These are exciting and fun experiences for everyone involved.

Evolving Role of Social Networks for Startups

In this talk, Tony traces the evolution of how startups have leveraged social networks and social media as part of their solutions over the past ten years.  Tony provides specific models and suggestions for how startups can leverage social networks for viral growth yet maintain their independence so as not to limit themselves long-term.

Matching for Startups

Having been involved in eHarmony from the start, Tony has naturally consulted with startups who are making matching a core aspect of their product including matching for social networks, careers, clothes, jobs, projects, college, tutoring services, doctors, service companies, investments, and many more.  As the web has led to exposure of every increasing numbers, people need ways to filter the possible options.   In this talk, Tony looks at where and how matching algorithms can be applied to give significant value to startups.

How Startups are Winning by Wiring into 3rd Party Services and Data

Probably the biggest change over the past 15 years in working with startups is the availability of 3rd party services that can be leveraged as part of a solution.  Its common for startups to think about services like hosting/computing, storage, analytics, maps, email delivery and tracking, and eCommerce.  However, there's really been an explosion of services over the past few years that gives even greater leverage and opportunity.  Possibly even more interesting is the rapidly growing data sources. In this talk, Tony first looks at the landscape of 3rd party services and data.  Then, he explores how several startups have leveraged those services and data in interesting ways.  He ends by looking at how this might help startups in the room.

Why Software Development Goes Bad So Often and What You Can Do About It

Most likely you've heard the staggering statistics on failure of software projects with different reports showing 28% success rates.  Tony is often called in after projects have reached a critical situation to try to help fix the problems such as blown budgets/schedules, poor quality code, never quite getting the last 10% done and other symptoms.  Unfortunately, for startups, the situation is often dire.  Development dollars have been spent and the system is not going to be able to be used for the business.
As a Startup, you have one shot.  What are you going to do to reduce your chance of problems and maximize your chances of real success?  What is the root cause of all of these problems?  How do you know if you may have issues?  What parts Agile addresses and the big problems with Agile for early-stage startups?
This presentation may make the difference between success and failure in your startup.

Metrics-Driven Startups

Virtually every startup has a model that has critical aspects to it that will make or break the business.  What is our lifetime customer value and how can we drive that up?  What does it cost to acquire a new customer?  What is our viral spread coefficient? 
The key for most early-stage startups is to understand the core metrics for your business, ensure you have visibility into those metrics, and then optimize the business around those metrics.  In this talk, Tony talks about the importance of these metrics for you and your possible investors, how startups typically gather these metrics without spending a fortune on reporting, and provides examples from eHarmony and other startups that may surprise you.

Stupid Things Founder Say - How to Work More Effectively with Techies

Software developers and other technical people are part of a very interesting club that has its own language, very specific rules, secret handshakes and, yes, they definitely talk behind your back and laugh at things that you say.  Unfortunately, once you've lost the respect of your technical team, it makes it hard to get work done and frankly becomes frustrating.  If you are not part of the club and don't speak the language, how can you work effectively with them?
Tony has been bridging that gap for 15 years with companies of all shapes and sizes.  In this talk, he helps you understand what you might be doing wrong today and how to change things to work with techies more effectively by understanding their motivation and getting yourself smart enough on critical items.


Joe said...

Hi Tony,

I was wondering where you got this stat:

Most likely you've heard the staggering statistics on failure of software projects with different reports showing 28% success rates.

I want to show that to every single one of my prospects! I can't claim that we get 100% of our projects done, but it's pretty rare and unusual circumstances that we can't get something done.

Tony Karrer said...

There are lots of surveys and studies out there. I believe its the Standish Group report - although I just saw it was reported at 32% more recently.

There was a good report in Dr. Dobbs a few years back that showed higher success rates using Agile, lower success rates going off-shore.