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How to lead a successful call with CTO of a Series F startup I am joining? Any advice for a to-be Tech Lead at a startup in India?

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Senior Software Engineer [G4] at Taro Community16 days ago

Context

I have secured a job offer as a Tech Lead at Zepto - a series F startup based out of India.

The company is operating in quick commerce space which is like e-commerce in 10 minutes using Demand Prediction and Dark Stores in a certain region.


Career Aspirations

I have aspirations for career growth as an IC and the HR were rolling out offer for Staff as well, but stuck with Lead Software Engineer for now, so as to establish myself better first and then move towards staff role.

The Hiring Manager mentioned that it is possible to quickly progress to staff role in 4-5 months, which is a pure IC based role while Lead Software Engineer involved some level of team task prioritisation/planning etc. also

I had been trying to move ahead to Lead Software Engineer position in my previous company for a lot of years and did not get enough support.

Thus, I am really grateful to this offer and just want to give my best.

Would love any hear your thoughts on how to succeed as a Tech Lead.


Introductory call with CTO

With the context setup, The introductory calls are being scheduled now each coming week.

The first call being with the Company CTO.

I want to be able to have good learning and career growth at the company.

What are some of the questions I can ask as a to be Tech Lead at Zepto so as to make the best use of my call with him?

I was thinking about the following:

  • What are some of the focus areas for us at Zepto in 2024?
  • Does this translate to some high level focus areas for engineering teams? - such as building abstractions or a platform using which we can enable business better?
  • Are there some technical hindrances that are being faced to achieve the focus areas for the business? or What could be some reasons to not be able to achieve above focus areas? And how are we planning to preempt them?
  • Are there some areas of improvement you are seeing from an operational perspective in Tech & Product teams? Are we doing anything towards that?

Would love to hear your thoughts on the above. And hear more about the things I can discuss in the call.

My goal is to succeed as a Tech Lead for my team at Zepto, contribute as much as I can in terms of impact and learn from the experience.


References in comments due to character limit

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Discussion

(8 comments)
  • 0
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    Senior Software Engineer [G4] [OP]
    Taro Community
    16 days ago
  • 2
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    15 days ago

    Congrats on the offer!! I've heard a lot about Zepto, which is impressive since I don't live in India 😅

    The questions you wrote are great. The CTO is operating at the highest altitude of the company, so don't waste time on specifics of a project or team. Instead, use the time for things around company priorities and biggest blockers to achieving company goals.

    A very relevant resource is this video from a VP of Eng talking about skip level conversations: How To Effectively Leverage Skip Level 1:1s

    Another worthwhile discussion to have is about finances: what are the company margins, and does the company feel like they have PMF? This is a great blog post on the topic: The really important job interview questions engineers should ask (but don't)

  • 0
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    12 days ago

    Congrats on the offer! I have also heard of Zepto despite not being Indian. It seems like a great company with a lot of momentum.

    My main advice on being an effective tech lead is to prioritize the relationships. Focus on meeting as many people as possible and setting up recurring 1 on 1s with core stakeholders. The technical bar is very low when you're new, so this is the best time to lay down as much social infrastructure as possible.

    For all the other stuff about being a tech lead, we're currently making a course about that, but I recommend this in the meantime: [Course] Grow From Mid-Level To Senior Engineer: L4 To L5

    At FAANG, senior equates to tech lead most of the time, so that course has a lot of good tactical advice on how to lead.

    • 1
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      Senior Software Engineer [G4] [OP]
      Taro Community
      12 days ago

      Thanks Alex

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