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Technologist, lean evangelist, chaos monkey and Chief Technology Prevention Officer. Loves good coffee, hanging around on ropes and driving about in cars

Whether you’re a big company looking to move fast or a small startup growing your team, size really does matter.

Photo by Eva Blue on Unsplash

Jeff Bezos, of the Amazon, is famously (if unreliably) credited with coining the two-pizza rule. This rule states that any team should be well-fed with only two pizzas, and is intended to imply that small teams are more effective than larger ones.

As someone who is both a little obsessed with getting the facts straight and who at one gluttonous point in my life halved a Domino’s XXL pizza with a colleague in a single sitting, I needed to research how big a team Jeff was implying with his frustratingly unspecific pizza order.

Fortunately, using the power of Domino’s Group…

The CTO Skillset wheel — 9 axes of CTO skills that not all CTOs need

The Google Sheet mentioned in this article is available to anyone here.

If you don’t work in tech (and perhaps even if you do), you may not know that the ‘ultimate’ tech role in a company is deeply varied. The same role can even change over time in the same business, and this means that CTOs either need to adapt or be changed to suit the needs of the business.

I spend much of my time helping companies understand what type of CTO they need. I’m also fortunate that I am able to ask the same question of CTOs (and…

Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash

This was written over the weekend of 21/22 March and is likely to be out of date by the time you read it.

Standing here now, as the misty fingers of a dawning global pandemic uncurl around us, we’re repeatedly told that we’re experiencing an unprecedented, fast moving situation. The words, now a trope, seem barely capable of expressing the scale of the crisis. Life for people across the globe has already changed irrevocably, millions of childhoods branded with a shared global experience, unified by a shared Internet. Unthinkable numbers of the vulnerable will die. Many businesses will simply cease…

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This guide is intended for senior technologists and tech-aware execs in small and medium size firms, especially rapidly scaling startups. It’s not meant for very large businesses or security professionals, and it’s certainly not meant to replace their advice.

A sad truth of the internet age is that it’s almost as easy to start hacking a business as it is to order Sharpies on Amazon. Any part of your business that is exposed online — even if it’s only an email address — is not just a target for attackers, but is almost certainly being attacked already.

Fortunately, these attacks…

The Foundry in Sheffield, UK. The first place I ever put hand on rock. Well, plastic, really.

Five years ago I discovered rock climbing. To be precise, I discovered ‘indoor climbing’ with a group of work colleagues. It was one of those team building events where we were taken to do challenging things in the hope that we would become a ‘high performance team’.

Whether we became ‘high performance’ is still questionable, but I fell in love with climbing immediately. As a kid growing up in the Sussex countryside I was rarely not climbing something — trees, hay bales, grain stacks, combine harvesters — but never rocks. …

Business technology is often unloved — email, laptops, finance systems and sales tools just don’t feel as important as building a great product. But getting business tech wrong will cost money and may even kill your business.

A slice through Ridley’s Opinonated Tech Stack

Why do I care about Business Tech?

As a CTO, I spent many years of my career worrying about how to deliver the best tech to people inside my business. Now as a tech advisor I get to work with a wide variety of startups, mid-sized businesses and large corporates and the sad truth is that I hardly ever see business tech done well.

I spend most of my time…

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

I’ve recently been reading Creativity, Inc, Ed Catmull’s description of the history of culture and processes at Pixar. Pixar’s journey, from a 3D rendering startup to its current place at the centre of the Disney empire has been influenced by luminaries like George Lucas and Steve Jobs, and more so by the incredible talents of those that have lived and worked within the company.

One particular piece stood out to me in Ed’s writing, early in the book. …

Each year, I pull together the biggest tech trends and events for the last year. Originally, this was a tribute to the amazing team that I worked with at Reed for their hard work over the year. Now, it’s tending towards an obsession. Part Mary Meeker, part Black Mirror and a sprinkle of Rude Tube, This summary spares you the the complete version of 200 slides, and 90 minutes worth of me talking...

I was recently fortunate enough to have lunch with a new colleague and as we idly shared tapas and chatted about work, I accidentally let one of my dirty secrets slip.

Some conversation topics can have a stigma attached to them, like admitting that you’re a grown adult who still plays computer games (it’s 2019, get over it) or that you don’t like football (either the kind you play with your actual feet, or the American kind). Admitting that you really enjoy working on ‘process’ is equivalent to professing that you love ‘bureaucracy’, ‘micromanagement’ and related misdemeanours that are all…

Mark Ridley

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