Dive into the highlights: Reflecting on the success of our November CTO Craft Con

“CTO Craft Con is a conference that punches far above its weight with a diverse set of speakers with unique views, a great community, and represents an opportunity to personally meet and get to know the folks that are pushing the next generation of technology companies forward. Highly recommended for all technology leaders who are looking to expose themselves to new, practical perspectives that they can apply in their roles.” 

James Stanier, Director of Engineering, Shopify

We did it again! Our second in-person CTO Craft Con tech conference in London was (we’re pretty sure considering the glowing feedback), an absolute hit. Once again, we took over the fabulous Tobacco Dock in London for two days of scintillating speakers, insightful content and countless opportunities to network with over 250 senior tech leaders.

The who and what

“CTO Craft Con is a great experience to surround yourself with innovative leaders. It has an unrivaled sense of camaraderie. It’s not just a conference; it’s an immersion in a supportive and nurturing community that uplifts and encourages you every step of the way. Whether you’re a seasoned leader or new to the space, you’ll feel a sense of belonging and inclusion that will fuel your learning and propel you forward.”

Nic Goodall, Head Of Engineering, Learnerbly 

Over two days we held over twenty different presentations, panel discussions and lightning talks presented by over 40 expert speakers. Plus, there were over 250 attendees, creating a supportive and inclusive environment. Thank you to all our speakers, sponsors and attendees for making the conference such a positive and memorable event.

Culture and the CTO: Key points

“CTO Craft Con is packed with leaders in tech in London. You’ll hear from the big names both tactical and strategic advice through keynotes and panel talks. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask them anything you want as they chat with folks after the talks. There’s plenty to learn, and plenty of useful people to meet.”

Morgan Sadr-Hashemi, CPTO at Flash Pack

For the conference, we selected a theme of Culture and the CTO: Unleashing the Power of People. Clearly, culture is a huge topic, with many complexities and viewpoints. However, over the two days, our speakers and attendees covered so much ground, participated in topical discussions and presented considerations that you as tech leaders can take back to your workplace and community.

Here’s just a snapshot of some of the aspects of culture covered:

The nuances and consistency of DE&I:

Diversity, equality and inclusion is not a once a year job or a cause to champion for specific days in the workplace, but something that must form part of your culture and become embedded as ‘business as usual.’

And it’s not owned by HR: everyone is responsible.

Specifically, when it comes to recruitment, we must practice inclusive hiring to find the best person for the job, ensure inclusive hiring from the beginning to the end of the recruitment process and change the business narrative to ensure that DE&I runs throughout all your processes and procedures.

Quite simply, you can’t just decide to tick the DE&I box by treating everyone differently; it’s about creating equal opportunities for all and leading with integrity, openness and fairness.

Variations of psychological safety:

There’s more than one definition. However, the common theme is that difficult conversations are sometimes necessary and often challenging, but it’s about how you conduct them, how you communicate and how the conversation ends. Always ensure mutual respect and openness without the fear of negative repercussions.

If your team are able to converse in heated discussions, but they leave the meeting or conversation feeling positive, then psychological safety is occurring.

Scale your existing culture:

As you grow, it’s possible to hold on to aspects of the founding culture, but it takes work and commitment. You need to ensure you have clear values and expectations and you can evolve these over time to grow the culture with the company. It’s crucial to evolve, otherwise those founding values may hold you back.

Revisit hiring practices:

Getting recruitment wrong can come at a huge financial cost, but also can severely impact the existing and future work culture.

Therefore, take an inclusive and data driven approach: 

  • Avoid bottlenecks in your hiring processes and always consider future needs in your strategy. 
  • Review the numbers in terms of applicants, conversion rates and acceptance rates and then drill down into the detail. For example, if you aren’t receiving an adequate number of suitable candidates or you’re receiving too many unsuitable applicants, can you change your hiring strategy in terms of job advertising or selection processes?
  • Consider how you can test the soft and technical skills required for a role.
  • Use succession planning to identify leaders early on so you can nurture them.
  • Once you promote, consider how you offer support and growth and how the culture contributes to development.

Empathy is crucial:

CTOs should lead by example and along with creating a culture of psychological safety, other behaviours are important. Empathy, compassion and kindness are essential aspects of a strong culture and should not be considered weak. Such behaviour can lead to high performing teams and businesses.

“So energised and inspired after mixing with technology leaders at CTO Craft today! This was a really positive community event, with great networking and open exchange of ideas. I was honoured to moderate this panel discussion and delighted that Google Cloud partnered with CTO Craft for the event!”

Toby Knight, Customer Engineering Manager, Google


Following two sell out conferences in 2023, we’re proud to announce the launch of CTO Craft Con: London 2024, where we’ll relocate to the prestigious QEII venue, driven by the ever-increasing demand and growing number of attendees. 

Pre-registration is now open! You can sign up here to be the first in the know when Super Early Bird tickets go on sale.

If you’re not a member of the free CTO Craft Community, what are you waiting for? With over 10,000 global technology leader members, you’ll get exclusive access to Slack channels, conference insights and updates and other valuable content. 

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