McKay Thomas

Faux-founder (in a good way)

By McKay Thomas

McKay Thomas welcomes Otavio Ferreira to the team and introduces the term "faux-founder"

A little while ago, we hired a CTO named Otavio. He joined us during a really interesting time in the business. In some ways much of the action had already been seen: I had been living in Brazil for over a year, we had launched the ecommerce store over 7 months previous, and we had over 80 employees. 

Yet, in other ways, we couldn’t be a less mature technology startup. We hadn’t hired a single developer, written a single line of code, or even had a clear idea on how to go about building the product that would allow us to accomplish our longterm goals.

When we first found Otavio, we didn’t believe he was the real deal. It was one of those “he’d be perfect, if he was for real,” kind of moments, which led to an overly lengthy hiring process for him. We put him through the ringer to make sure he was the right guy for the job and in the end, he taught us a few things about recruiting.

First, he had this air of confidence that seemed to say, “You may not know it yet, but I am the man you’re looking for.” Even when our search took us in other directions, he didn’t seem deterred. Next, since we hired him, he has exuded a certain amount of control and wisdom that I don’t really find in people generally. Other than entrepreneurs, that is. 

Somewhere along the way, I realized that this man who has only ever managed technology teams at larger companies, has the makings of a great founder. He sees solutions in places no one else would. He gets crazy when solving problems and, harkening back to his pre-hire swagger, has a confidence and a wisdom that says to me and our product team to be cool, be calm, think clearly, we will finish, we will succeed. 

We were interviewing someone together on Friday when, in the middle of it all, I got hit with a term that I think captures his role really well. He’s a faux-founder. I mean in it the most endearing of ways. He’s part of our founding technology team, will play such an enormous role in our longterm success, and he has already shown this swagger that, to me, calls for something more clever, more cementing. Something fitting of such a great guy and technologist. I use the term not in a negative way, but in the most positive of ways. We went out to hire a CTO and got this guy that is that and even more. He’s here too late to really be a co-founder, but just in time to be a real faux-founder.

I can’t wait to show you, and the rest of Brazil, the future as teamed up with Otavio. We have some amazing things in store and trust me when I tell you that we, as a company and as a team, have only just begun.

About McKay

McKay Writes And Designs

I’m a graphic, UI and product designer. I’m from all over, but São Paulo, Brazil most recently, as I co-founded Baby.com.br. I’m now in the Bay Area working on what could be my magnum opus. I’m a father of a daughter and a son and I’m married to The Startup Wife.

I love writing. I write about what to do and what not to do. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes I’m controversial. But I’m always ready to do something big and crazy.

I’m on Twitter all the time. Let’s talk.

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