Time for a transition

Hi everyone,

I’m not going to bury the lead here: I’m officially closing the Chicago CTO Forum down.

Whew…sorry for the blunt opening but I’m a man of few words 🙂

And now to answer everyone’s questions

“What, why?”

Two reasons:

  1. First, let’s go to the numbers:
    1. 5(!) years
    2. ~50 meetups
    3. 1000’s of slack messages
    4. 3 social networks
    5. 1 email list.

    Along the way I had 2 kids and 4 jobs (including starting two companies). Frankly I’m tired 🙂 While this group doesn’t take a lot to maintain, it’s more than 0 effort. I haven’t been doing the group justice the last 12 months and that’s not fair to all of you. I just haven’t had the time to devote to it and grow it into what it could become.

  2. When I was several years into my career as a technology leader, I grew frustrated that peer groups for me didn’t exist. I knew I didn’t know everything and really wanted to improve. Being the stubborn SOB I was (am…) I put some chairs into the biggest conference room at Spartz Inc, invited people I knew for some pizza and thus the group was born.That was 5 years ago and while I have enjoyed every minute of it, I also have come to the realization that my career is taking me into other directions that are not exclusively tech. Even before starting my new venture, I already knew that after Enova I would be looking at roles that were not strictly CTO roles, but more like COO roles. With the new venture, I’ve even made the shift to a CEO role. As such, the focus of this group has become a little less relevant for me, personally.

“OK, so what now?”

That’s the good news: three of the most active members of the group, Kal Walkden, Steven Maguire and Francois Toubol, have volunteered to create and admin a new group. As part of that process they plan on addressing a lot of long standing items that I never got to including:

  1. Updating the format, membership criteria and focus of the group.
  2. Modifying the logistics ( location, date, time and format ) of the meet ups.
  3. Better definition over what membership looks like and how to contribute.

The new group is called the Chicago CTO Group and can be found here. There’s good news and bad news:

The good news is that the Google and Slack groups have been renamed and preserved. So if you’re a member of either of those groups, you’re already in the new group.

The bad news is that the LinkedIn group will be closing down. We never used it for that much and with LinkedIn changing groups so much, it was decided that the effort to maintain and admin it wasn’t worth it. The much-neglected Twitter account will also be shut down.

It’s my plan to participate in the new group and support the community however I can as a participant.

“Why not just have the new admins take this group over?”

Good question with a slightly complex answer. The short of it is that I’ve been building the group for several years, in Chicago and with admins in other cities. I’m not comfortable having my name associated with something that I don’t have a hand in running and maintaining. That’s not a knock on any of the admins, past current or future. It’s a personal choice that’s important to me.

Lastly, I wanted to thank all of you for the past 5 years. This group would be nothing without all of you as members, supporters and participants. Thank you for everything. It’s been an honor to help you and the Chicago community with my crazy little idea.

Griffin