logo Axolo
Published on

8 key takeaways from Tim Glaser, CTO of PostHog


As a CTO and co-founder of PostHog, Tim Glaser has valuable insights to share about leading a technology team. In a recent interview, he shared eight key takeaways for CTOs and aspiring CTOs.

Here is the video of the webinar with Tim

1. Building on open source (OSS)

One of the most valuable things that PostHog has done is to build on open source. Tim explains that by allowing contributors to test out the product without risking much, they've received a lot of feedback early on. As an early-stage company, feedback is the most valuable thing you can get.

screenshot github posthog

1400 issues at the time of the screenshot!

2. Code quality

Tim stresses the importance of code quality, and mentions that they forbid styled code reviews, use TDD, and make sure that all backend changes are tested. He also notes that most of the coding he does today is to improve the backend test, as it multiplies the performance of engineers.

Learn more about code quality in this article : What is code quality and how to improve it. .

3. Security

When it comes to security, Tim's advice is to not engage with extortionists. He says that if they send actual security issues, they deal with it appropriately, but most of the time, it's irrelevant.

4. Becoming a good CTO

Tim emphasizes the importance of having a coach, someone who can help you dig into your motivations and get better at your job. He shares that he had terrible feedback from his interview style and the coach helped him improve it, in part by helping him understand his motivation.

Tim also recommended the book: "An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management" by Will Larson. By the way, Will Larson has a blog you can learn from, check it out here: 4 CTO blog you can learn from. .

an elegant puzzle

5. Improving build and test time

Tim mentions that he once bought Apple M1 computers for all engineers because they were much quicker than Intels to compile and run tests. He believes that it was worth investing in expensive computers for the team. He also donated the old MacBooks to charities.

apple M1

6. Making people pay for your product

According to Tim, people don't invest time in a product if they don't pay for it. He believes that by making people pay, they have an incentive to make the product better, thus giving valuable feedback.

7. Favorite daily tools

Tim lists his top 3 favorite tools as:

  1. Apple standard notes: so that he can take notes anytime on his iPad or iPhone, whenever he has a new idea or a todo list to add he knows he will get it on his computer later.
  2. Metabase for data analytics.
  3. and PostHog also for analytics, sessions feature flag and more. Tim encourages his team to use PostHog as much as possible; They even have an internal leaderboard to know who uses PostHog the most.

8. Having a bigger vision

Finally, Tim encourages CTOs to have a bigger vision for their projects. In the case of Posthog, he wants developers to choose their framework and then add PostHog to it

Enable your team to mergepull requests faster with Axolo