Quick thinking and an explanation for everything – key CTO qualities

You thought that presentation would be dull as styrofoam flavoured water when...


Who, Me? In these times of remote working, we're all a bit more cautious about what might be on our shared screen or lurking on the shelves behind us. Some things never change, as today's Who, Me? makes plain.

"Larry", for that is what the Regomiser has dubbed him, was a technical lead at a communications startup in the early part of this century. Clearly a valued member of staff, he was involved in the interview process for a new CTO after the previous one left under a bit of a cloud.

"He had misrepresented important details on his CV," remarked Larry, "He had been escorted off-premises carrying his cardboard box of possessions and his imitation samurai sword."

There was a delicious irony in this, since the CTO had fixed Larry with a steely gaze back in the day and told him to expect to be held accountable for his actions. "Sure," said Larry. "Shouldn't everybody be accountable for their actions?"

And so it was that a short time later the hunt was on for a replacement.

"We had a CTO candidate who seemed to walk the walk," remembered Larry, "He had documented experience in telecom. He had more credibility because he had less charisma. Early 50s, receding hairline, baggy khakis..."

We know the type all too well.

The final bit of the interview took place in a meeting room rammed to rafters with corporate bigwigs and a few select techies (including Larry.) The expectation was that a technical presentation would be forthcoming to show off the wannabe CTO's brilliance.

Suffice to say the candidate exceeded all expectations. Just not quite as expected.

"He proceeded to plug his laptop into the monitor cable and booted up," recalled Larry. To be fair, persuading a laptop of that vintage to talk to a projector was achievement enough, but the CTO hopeful had more in store.

The candidate was making small talk in the room and, importantly, maintaining good eye contact while electricity was introduced to silicon. He wasn't paying too much attention to his laptop.

"As the laptop came out of hibernation," recalled Larry, "it proceeded to display a plethora of explicit pornographic images on the large, expensive meeting room display screen."

There was a stunned silence in the room. Nervous glances were exchanged.

"The candidate," said Larry, "looked back at the risqué display but did not miss a beat."

"I've been travelling a lot, spending a lot of time in hotels," was the explanation and rationalisation. And with that, he was straight into his presentation.

Either through his demonstration of quick thinking in the face of certain disaster, or perhaps the desperation of the company, he got the job.

Ever had Tiny Elvis pop up where he wasn't wanted? Or seen a career crash and burn after an accidental PowerPr0n presentation? Share your tale with an email to Who, Me? ®


Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020