CTO Excellence in 100 Days

CTO Excellence in 100 Days

What does your role as CTO look like if you were valued for who you are and not what you know or do?

As chief innovator and problem solver, the CTO’s value far exceeds technology skills. The CTO must lead as a highly visible, first-class citizen of the C-suite. Still, many technology experts operate in an introverted, support-oriented style, struggling to command respect or assert influence—let alone executive presence.

Whether setting the tone as a new hire or looking to redirect or revitalize an established role, one hundred days are all you need to secure long-term success. In CTO Excellence in 100 Days: Becoming the Leader Your Company Deserves, Etienne de Bruin offers actionable guidelines on how to lead both your company’s technology strategy and the people behind it.

The work begins with assessing whether you’re in the right place. Next, Etienne’s methodical approach helps you build trust and visibility through effective communications and a strategic quick win, introduce your company’s technology vision, and navigate challenges—from engaging stakeholders to managing conflict—all within that vital one-hundred-day period.

Clip from Audiobook Chapter 10: Understand Company Dynamics

CTO Excellence in 100 Days

Becoming the Leader Your Company Deserves

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Head over to the resources page to download all the images from the book. I also created a Google doc for you to use as your CTO Journal (totally free but email registration required)


Drawn from decades of experience with hundreds of CTOs

Etienne has possibly the deepest experience in the world at being, talking with, and coaching CTOs at all stages of the company lifecycle. That deep experience is on full display in this book. Etienne has a knack for telling relatable stories that have informed how he thinks about the CTO role, and his deep empathy for the challenges, frustrations and joys of the role shine through on page after page.

If you're a tech leader wondering how to progress in your career, a CTO who's been thrown in the deep end, or an experienced CTO who wants to learn how someone knowledgeable thinks about the role, this is the book for you. Soup to nuts, this will be the new go-to reference book for CTOs around the world.

A practical and actionable guide for technology leaders

Reading this book from the vantage point of a CTO in a growing 50 person organization, I was reminded that my role is only part technical leadership. I often joke that “business would be easy if people weren’t involved” and that’s the key concept Etienne delivers with this book: working with people is the MOST important part of the CTO role ~ Alex Rolek.

The CTO Career Roadmap!

As the CEO of several venture-backed companies and creator of SaaS Academy, I've hired several CTO's and I wish ALL of them would've read this book first. The way it lays out the first 100 Days to onboard into a new company is GOLD. It acts as a roadmap that's foolproof. It should be bought for ALL CTO's by their leaders and by them to help them show up in a powerful way. Such a great read. Easy and actionable ~ Dan Martell, Author Buy Back Your Time

Captures the varied aspects of what CTOs must be good at

There are a lot of checklist-y management books out there and this is not one of them. Etienne manages to capture the breadth of the scope of the CTO role and provide meaningful and actionable insights that helps growing CTOs plan for how to continue their learning path. A CTO at a small startup will necessarily be a different role than a CTO at a mid-sized scale-up but both will find the contents of this book useful.

I've been a fan of Etienne's work for many years and what I appreciate about him the most is the emotional intelligence and awareness he brings to the many challenges that we as engineering leaders face. This facet of him shines through in the book in a way that I hope will guide others in how they can better lead their teams and companies

Step By Step Guidance for the first 100 days

As an experienced Fractional CTO I have observed that the first 100 days will make or break your engagement. It is often difficult to know what you need to do first to bring the value the client needs. CTO Excellence in 100 Days lays out a blueprint for how to spend this critical time and what kinds of results you can give your business. I wish I had this books years ago - I definitely could have avoided some of the mistakes I have made.

Must Read for Aspiring and Current CTOs

Bruno Miranda

Required reading for aspiring and current CTOs (and other technical leaders). I enjoyed the pragmatic approach and advice to focus on being a value-add leader to the c-suite, and to prioritize the business over simply the tech.

  • Great advice on understanding and most importantly, clearly communicating the role of CTO.
  • Impacting business valuable change and being effective.
  • Practical next-steps for the first 100 days broken up by 10 day tranches.
  • Useful tools and practices, including how to communicate/write/present effectively.

A must read.

Great meta information

by Eric Lawler

I've seen a number of Etienne's talks over the year, but wasn't sure what types of content he'd compile in book form. To my delight, it's chock full of "meta" information on the role of CTO. Besides the obligatory advice on technology strategies, priorities and roadmaps, he provides a lot of insight on establishing networks, providing consulting services to aid your network, and even how to navigate the delicate dance of C-suite interview processes. As someone earlier in my career, this kind of advice from an experienced CTO is incredibly valuable!

A lot of business-related books are full of fluff and filler, in a vain attempt to flesh out a blog post or two into a full-length book. CTO Excellence is not one of those books. de Bruin gets straight to the point, with a spare use of diagrams and even several worksheets to help digest the information and apply it to your own business.

Overall, this book is a lot more helpful to me than the classic "Manager's Path" tome that touches on some of the same topics covered more extensively, and clearly, here. For me, this is definitely a reference book to remain on the shelf--not a one-and-done read.