My journey at Royal Legal Solutions starts with a job listening on Craigslists seeking for help with development and technology.
It was February 2018 and I was working as a CEO at my own company: Club de Gorras, as you can read on the previously linked article, we were having financial problems on the company due to external conditions: bad economical conditions in Argentina at that time and internal conditions: our warehouse was robbed early that year. It was really hard to generate money without stock (Club de Gorras was a man fashion e-commerce company). That was the main reason I start seeking a job: to bring more money to the company.
So I start working on March 2018 as a “ninja developer” helping the company with some basic stuff like fixing problems with their WordPress site and create custom forms.
It was not a big deal at the beginning, I was working as a freelancer taking care of errors and problems. We start gaining more synergy and the COO, Mark Swedberg, began to gain more confidence in me.
Early on May of that year, they bet on the company creating a technology department to start crafting custom software for internal use. I start working as a CTO at that moment, with more responsibility and in charge of the new hires: other developers, designers, and marketers.
Our first challenge was to develop an internal checkout system, using Stripe to process the payments, with cool features to create customers and save cards directly on their account, with great HubSpot integration so we can keep everything updated and synced.
Nodejs was the backend language chosen to build an internal API and ReactJS for the front-end. MySQL for the database. All working in Google Cloud Platform using services like Kubernetes, Cloud Storage, SQL, Virtual Machines among others.
Once we were able to launch this new software, we were able to see that we reduce human labor to run orders from 10 minutes to less than 30 seconds.
That was a really exited project to work on because we had to create something new from scratch and it was really important having in mind the vision of the company for future developments. It was crucial to do previous research and good planning before start writing any line of code.
On the other hand, we knew that the data generated by the internal system would be available to our company’s customers through a new tool. Having a good database schema was really important at this point.
Today that software is the “masterpiece” of the company we have all our internal team using it and all our customers used it once at least. We are collecting a lot of feedback and improving every day. We converted a small internal system into the heart of the company – and for me, that is why Royal Legal Solutions is much more than a “legal company”.
Being a CTO in a small company or in an early-stage startup is not easy (and I love it that way). For sure you need to wear many many hats. It would be really hard for somebody to write a list of your weekly or monthly activity since everything is changing faster, you are moving faster (we hope so) and you are going to break a lot of stuff.
Sometimes you are going to need to be an HR and doing some interviews and write some job listenings, sometimes you are going to be in a finance meeting to define your department budget. Most days you are going to be looking to your IDE and monitoring your cloud provider.
For my point of view, in order to be a good CTO, you need to be able to multi-task and be very well aligned with the vision of the company. You are not going to be working on coding and DevOps 100% of your time, you are going to understand what are the priorities for the company and sometimes you are going to need to stop working on an exited project and work in a boring one in order to generate more revenue, fit a customer requirement or simply fix something you postponed long time ago.
Finally, you need to understand your role is going to evolve and change over and over again. And that is awesome!