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How to become a CTO by Balaji Srinivasan CTO of Coinbase

Career Karma

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Published on Mar 05, 2019
Ruben, Artur and Timur Meyster from the Breaking Into Startups podcast sit down with Balaji Srinivasan, the CTO of Coinbase to talk about where tech jobs are headed, the state of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, and his advice for people looking to break into technology.

Balaji talks about his insights into traditional education vs. alternative education, as well as numerous concepts on technical debt, voice vs. exit, idea maze, idea vs. education, what does a CTO do, and many more!

Prior to that, he was a co-founder of Counsyl, Earn, Teleport, and a General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

Balaji believes that not everybody can be a founder, but anybody can be an investor.

Fun fact - Balaji was one of the first people Rubén connected with on Twitter back in 2014 who encouraged him to leave finance and break into tech.

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Interview in Podcast Format 📻

💡 Highlights of the interview :

[01:33] Balaji describes the role of CTO in tech and how it intersects with other departments. Find out two ways to get into this role.

[03:30] How to stay up to date with technology and decide what's the right fit for your company. Why Apple invests in their Spring vs. infancy and why Balaji thinks it's a good rule of thumb.

[06:33] Balaji explains the concept of technical debt and two ways to pay it off.

[08:20] How you can make yourself stand out: ability over experience. Find out other qualities Balaji is looking for in their candidates.

[09:50] Balaji's educational background; his thoughts on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC); the state of education today; where alternative education like bootcamps are heading; and college student loans.

[16:10] The evolution of tech, the advent of algorithms and data, and why every industry has this underlying logic, and the concept of mass migration to shared beliefs, interests, and hobbies vs. geographic proximity.

[22:35] Balaji differentiates Voice and Exit through some concrete examples and how this relates to businesses. He also shares his thoughts on massively collaborative mathematics.

[29:00] His advice for those starting out: Find out why working remote is the route to financial independence and why creating your own startup is not for everybody.

[36:45] What Balaji would have done differently if he were 21. He envisions a social network where everybody can invest.

[41:05] Balaji explains the concept of idea maze, idea vs. execution, and back to the concept of how everybody can be an investor, specifically in cryptocurrency.

[48:55] How to keep on top of different trends, make a list of skills you want to build up, and his insights into company selection

[55:10] What is Coinbase? Balaji explains what people should pay attention to with regard to cryptocurrencies.

[01:04:55] Discover Balaji's routine to set himself up for success each day
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