Monday, September 23, 2013

Why the CIO Must Also Be a Hacker

I was shocked at a gathering of CTOs this year. In discussions about coding, I was the only one who still did so! I was visibly shocked and verbally unguarded about it, and it didn't go over to well with the gathering.

I asked them how they could stand not to code. They replied that there wasn't time to remain coding. I asked them how they could avoid making the time. They claimed that other pressing matters simply made it impossible.

One added that it had been five years since he last coded.

In that moment, TheHackerCIO was born!

Not physically born. That was many years ago. Not even born as a Hacker or coder or developer, for he was all of these thing from many years ago. But born in the sense that this moment crystalized a principle very fundamental to his approach, personality and career which is best encapsulated in the persona of TheHackerCIO.

It's also part of his boutique consulting firm DNA: Codojo; where the model is that of a "coding Dojo" approach, where people collaboratively work together learning, practicing, perfecting skills.  A Dojo, of course, is a "place where you learn the way," and in such a Karate studio, a decent Grandmaster will tell you that "basics," are of critical importance. You start off learning them. You perfect them. And you never stop. Never. Ever. No Karate master ever stops working on his basics.

Neither must a technologist ever allow himself to be drawn away from the basics. He must remain a Hacker even while he learns the skills necessary to achieve CTO or CIO status. To be a decent CTO or CIO you must be a HackerCIO.

If you stop Hacking, from that moment forward your career is already dying. It's just a question of time before you are completely irrelevant.

And so it is for this reason that I Remain Faithfully and Forever ...


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