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Where Do You Set the Balance Point Between Your Leadership Role and Your Role As a Technologist?

At the VP or CTO level, the primary function is setting the direction and leading the activities of the department. That said, it's important to remained deeply engaged in the underlying technology, and I maintain a personal expertise in a number of areas. That's essential for two reasons. First, it's almost impossible to be an effective leader of technology-based activities without a thorough understanding of the details. Also, it's important for engineers, especially at junior levels, to see that the boss can do the heavy lifting. So I stay engaged. I attend brainstorming sessions and the design reviews of the ideas that emerge. I'm at the tear-down sessions that kick-off cost reduction efforts. I spend a few days every six months writing some code. It's good for me, and it's good for the department.

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