Imagine having access to an executive team of the most experienced and sought-after talent in an industry but for a fraction of the price that traditional companies have to pay. Think of the benefits a fledgling, young business could gain from leveraging an experienced leadership team without having to invest years of training and development and hundreds of thousands of dollars in overhead. In short, imagine a company taking advantage of top-flight strategic talent without the commitment to big dollars and long-term contracts–a no strings attached team.

Is all of this wishful thinking, or is it actually possible? With the rise of the part time executive, this flexible arrangement is possible for companies looking to build their strategy and future with little to no formal executive infrastructure in place. But how does this work? In the popular imagination, senior level executives are the pinnacle of the corporate pyramid, replete with gilded executive suites, fancy skyline views, and decadent salaries to match. However, this is no longer necessarily the case. As reported in Forbes, over the past five to ten years there has been a growing movement towards part-time and freelance executive talent within the intellectual labor market. This movement has been influenced by the rise of start-up cultures that frown on unnecessary formality and look towards efficient, fast, and smart growth. These companies no longer view full-time executives as the assumed necessity they had grown to become in the twentieth century. In this new reality, growing companies can shop for the executives they want to lead their business, and they can customize how they engage this talent to support the organization.

Technology Organizations Lead the Change

Business conditions are evolving rapidly, and nowhere more so than in technology organizations. Most technology organizations rely heavily on an experienced Chief Technology Officer to help them navigate the complex issues of emerging tech, entering an industry as a disrupter, and facing the competitive challenge of retaining technical talent. Despite the critical need for sound, experienced leadership as a business is in its growth stage, a large percentage of tech companies find they do not require or cannot afford a CTO on a full time or permanent basis. Fortunately, the role can be outsourced. This is part of a natural progression, where companies are increasingly hiring out central functions such as payroll, IT, manufacturing, and even C-level finance, because it’s cheaper than hiring full-time workers and faster/better than developing the talent in-house. This also means that top talent can be shared between start-ups and tech companies. This helps advance the industry as a whole by sharing knowledge and best practices, rather than the biggest companies with the most resources dominating the scene. Clearly, just as tech leads workforce trends in pay, benefits, and productivity management, it is leading the movement towards part-time executives.

How Drawing on the Talents of a Part Time CTO fits into the Tech Landscape 

Another advantage to be gleaned from the use of part time executive talent is leveraging this with the availability of a cowork community, start-up accelerator, or think tank for innovation and networking. A part time executive who is established in the industry can provide valuable connections to tech companies looking to build the right relationships for a fraction of the price of a full-time CTO. The fastest way to leverage these connections is to join a community of creative innovators where a network of relationships can build and expand. In the Denver-Boulder area, the DaVinci Institute is a central hub of the tech community, and it provides the ability to collaborate, test, and create. A community like this helps complete the strategy of using a freelance CTO by allowing companies to form connections and share knowledge that would have traditionally been done by a full suite of salaried executives.

Want to learn more about hiring a Part-Time CTO? Join us on April 11th at DaVinci Institute for a presentation with Wil McCarthy.

The DaVinci Institute exists to support and advance the tech industry. We are a think tank, cowork hub, and community of futurists. If you would like to learn more, contact us today.