Sebastian Gnagnarella

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Sebastian Gnagnarella CTO Four Winds Interactive

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“If I could only pick only one piece of advice that I have carried throughout my career as a Technology and Product leader, it would be: stay technical. 

Staying technical doesn’t necessarily mean spending your time creating wireframes, pulling complex database reports or coding, but that you could do it if you had to. Staying technical means understanding what your team does, how they do it, what technologies or tools they use and the principles of how those work.


• It shows that you can walk the walk: showing your team that you are willing to walk the walk with them builds trust and respect. You are part of the team, you do not sit in your ivory tower making decisions in a vacuum.

•It improves your decision-making process: how can you work on the overall strategy if you don’t understand the tactics? Or even worst, not understanding the tactics could lead you to make decisions that will harm the overall outcome.

•And last but not least, it enables you to HELP: that is our main job as leaders. Staying technical – together with your years of experience – enables you to help the team: removing obstacles, reducing pain points and thinking through problems.

How to get there?

•Ask a lot of questions: search to understand how things work and why things are done the way they are. Be candid on your intentions from the get-go to avoid your team to feel challenged with every question you ask.

•Read, and read a lot of subject matter books: I am personally biased against “how to” books, I’d rather focus on the ones that describe personal experiences.

•Tinker around: give yourself some time to play as part of your learning process, either with a tool, a technology or a framework.

It is important to remember: you are not the technical expert. Do your research, come up with ideas, help others think through problems, but always come from a humble spot opening your work to be criticized or to be just wrong.

Joel Beasley

Joel began writing code at age 13 selling his first technology by age 18 for one million dollars. In his first three transactions, he developed key relationships and began working with Investors and Chief Technology Officers collaborating and building products in Real Estate, Law, Finance, and Fitness.

Today, Joel is a Chief Technologist volgging the process of building a company Joel is an author of the book Modern CTO a #1 New Release on Amazon and a #1 Technology Podcast with 70k active listeners. Joel has a clear vision and passion for modern technology, placing him as one of the most exciting Chief Technology Officers to watch out for.

Joel is the President of a charity that designs STEM related children’s books Back to the Moon and Princess Physicist. These books are then donated to orphanages, homeless pregnant woman and in-need children. Beasley Foundation was formed in February 2017 after Joel, Mitch and Valerie lost their Mother to Leukemia after being diagnosed 6 weeks earlier. Joel and his siblings wanted to do something unique with her life insurance money and the Beasley Foundation was formed.

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