Name: Meade Kincke

Current position: Founder & CEO of Imperfektus

Bio: Meade is the Founder & CEO of Imperfektus, and has been a CTO for over 20 years. He is the CTO’s CEO. Meade has the technology expertise and background, while also having business acumen that drives any company forward. He has worked with startups, SMBs, and global enterprises, leading operations from the ground-up, directing greenfield development, performing extensive audits and vulnerability analyses, and so much more. Meade loves building elite teams and scaling organisations. He is passionate about security and privacy, loves solving puzzles, and making things more efficient.

His craft is a living organism that future-proofs technology. Understanding that any business is a long-term endeavour, and it comes with bumps. Meade embraces the dynamic challenges and opportunities that come with rapid growth. The joy is the journey of working through ideas together, and it is an adventure. With that being said, Meade is always on the lookout for new partnerships.

In addition, Meade brews beer, is a pilot, speaks at global events, and is a mentor for several different organisations.

Tell us about your life before leadership – what kind of roles and projects did you work on?

I am not what one would call “traditional” in regard to my career path. I did not study CompSci in Uni, get a job as a software engineer, and then make my way up the corporate ladder. I am a “self-made man”, and my expertise did not come from a formal education. It comes from needing to know with a child-like inquisitiveness: how to make, how to build, how to break things.

A funny story: a long time ago, someone asked in a sysadmin subreddit,  ‘Where did everyone learn how to do system administration?’ The best and most accurate answer was, and still is, ‘Where we all did. In a basement.’

What I did from the beginning is learn, read, and offer my knowledge to companies in need of it. Hence, I have been a Fractional CTO since the start.

How did your first leadership position come about, and was it intentional on your part?

A pint, a handshake, and a good relationship. That is the starting point of anything where you are in charge. My first role was through a personal connection with a small business. They were struggling to keep up with the times, so I offered my services. Over the course of 9 years with them, I spearheaded a myriad of initiatives, from building out the technical team to fortifying system security through red/blue teaming and penetration testing to implementing disaster recovery protocols. Additionally, I successfully navigated vendor negotiations to optimise costs, among other endeavours.

I would not say that this particular role was intentional, as in I did not apply for it, but being a leader has always been intentional.

What was your biggest failure in that first leadership role?

The aforementioned Disaster Recovery, rather, a failure in it. I needed to design a comprehensive Disaster Recovery plan to safeguard the business continuity, optimising the balance between capital expenditures and operational expenses, all while maintaining robust incident management protocols. It reminded me to always plan on things turning red, and then make sure you keep the lights green.

Tell us a fun fact that nobody knows about you.

We are about to launch our first product for my company, Imperfektus. We have released and will continue to release, some teasers leading up to it, but you will need to wait until the reveal for more information. Enjoy the mystery 🙂

What are the three key skills you think every leader needs?

1) Listen. Care about your house. Care about how everyone is doing in their everyday lives. Plan the course, but realise that goals are moving targets. Communication goes both ways. If you are talking, you cannot listen.

2) Be a child. Learn from anyone. Encourage your team to share ideas. I always encourage my teams to be creative, have a voice, and elevate each other. I promote their professional and personal growth. I have established knowledge-sharing sessions, encouraged engineers to experiment with emerging technologies, and implemented mentorship programs. This not only enhances the team’s skills but also results in more creative problem-solving and a stronger sense of camaraderie among team members.

3) Trust your instincts, and everyone will follow. That does not mean rushing to a decision or pushing something too soon. In fact, quite the opposite. Everyone wants everything done last week. It is important to treat everything like carpentry: measure twice and cut once. Shiney is useless if it is not functional. If something feels wrong, it is wrong. Take a step back and ask yourself more questions.

What have you learned about acquiring and retaining talent?

I have a talk called Hiring With A Handshake where I go on about this subject. I point out the mistakes and offer solutions.

For my teams, I size everyone up with a casual chat. I can tell from a conversation whether or not they will excel in the role and be a good fit for the house. Hiring people who get along is more important than what they have done before or their tech stack. I look for personality, passion, intelligence, and a desire to learn. Think about what someone can learn. That does not come with knowing the answer. That comes with finding the answer.

When it comes down to it, computers are computers. It is about finding good people. Hire someone because they are kind and trustworthy. Hire someone because you genuinely like them. I call it “The Pint Test”. If the idea of us having a pint together makes you happy, then we can work together.

How do you motivate your team and manage their stress levels?

Being that they are employees, not volunteers, money is a huge factor in motivation. I make sure to reward my employees with bonuses. When the company succeeds, they should see some of those profits. This financial appreciation shows them that their hard work counts. If they work more hours and do not see anything in return, they will leave. I have a rule: Hire Less, Pay More.

To keep stress levels low, I stick with the Golden Rule. I am kind. I check in periodically, but I trust my team to get the work done and come to me with any issues. Micromanagement is a surefire way to fail. When you hire people that you trust, micromanagement is not a thing. Also, having them work on things that challenge and make them happy will help. Most importantly, remember they have lives, so always ask about how things are at home. Bottom line, see point A in the key skills above, care about them.

How do you manage your own stress levels and productivity?

Focusing on what matters most: my family. Family is everything. Remembering that all that I do is for them. Being a husband, a father, a pilot, an entrepreneur, it is always making sure that everyone and everything get the appropriate amount of attention.

Stress is a moving target. There is good stress and bad stress. Knowing when to let things go and say no is paramount in avoiding bad stress. Keeping all the plates spinning is an art.

One big thing is to stop worrying, and the work will get done. Remember to have fun, and stop taking things too seriously.

How do you stay in sync with other parts of the business?

I keep things tight. Overhiring is a plague, and being successful does not equate to size. It is easy to become too big. When things get out of hand, communication is difficult. When communication breaks down, everything falls apart.

What learnings or benefits have you gained from being part of the CTO Craft Community?

Good people. The members of CTO Craft are extremely welcoming. It is an active group, and everyone is very positive and helpful. Someone will ask a question, and they will receive a dozen responses that same day. There are resources always popping up, and even a joke every so often. I am looking forward to attending an in-person event where we can have some pints 🙂


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