Vasyl Soloshchuk
31 May 2022

How to Be a Passionate CTO and Build a Flexible Dev Team

Daniel Reibsamen is CTO at Guidance Residentiala provider of exclusive Muslim-tailored home financing options. With his primary task being to take the company national and digital, he dedicated 10 years to Guidance Residential and continues to push the limits. Daniel’s main goal is for the clients to get access to the technology that all the large banks have, just the way they need it.

In our interview, David shared lots of things that didn’t feel right to just squeeze into this article. So, if you’re up for a podcast walk or prefer to watch the interview, check out this Fintech CTO Podcast.

The road to becoming a CTO

Every tech leader has their own story, and Daniel eagerly shared his. 

About 15 years ago he started as a developer: writing code and making changes to it, gathering specs, testing and managing the database was what he enjoyed doing day-to-day. But then came the turning point.

I found that in order for me to grow, to really implement the tools that I wanted to implement, I needed a team. It was kind of just a natural progression. Do I want to just continue to sit around and do tasks every day? Or do I want to actually build tools? Do I want to actually shape companies and design things that are used by thousands of users instead of just a checkbox here or there?

Just at this turning point, he was offered the CTO role at Guidance Residential. Not knowing if he’s actually fit for the job, he decided to take the risk and learned one important truth.

They say that great executives wake up every day, hoping that nobody realizes that they don’t know what they’re doing. And I don’t take that as a bad thing. What I take it as is in order to move forward, you have to step into these territories that you’re not familiar with.

Now he is a Zend certified engineer, holds Oracle certification as a DBA, and builds “little startups” when he has time. And if one thing hasn’t changed with all these years, it’s Daniel’s passion for coding and love for details. When talking to the low level developers, Daniel often surprises them by his meticulousness. That he takes as his biggest strength as a CTO.

Daniel’s dev team: The structure and how it works

If there’s one word to characterize David’s technology department, it’s “tribe”. And looking at the structure and culture David established, it’s easy to see why.

We focus on a really tight knit team and we try to focus on specific products at a time and try not to stretch ourselves too thin about what the team looks like. Our goals change so often that we don’t always finish a specific two week sprint. We might shift right in the middle, but it’s intentional, we’ve set it up that way.


The team is small and includes:

Director of engineering—the one keeping everyone together and on track, setting goals, and choosing a product to focus on. 

Two lead developers—one is the lord of datatypes, securities, and storage options, while the other focuses on the company’s products (where the features can fit, how they can interact and how they need to connect). 

Development team— it consists of six developers.

Supporting staff—product support, internal support, and IT-support.

Getting the best out of it

Daniel’s development team might be working with one lead developer one day and the next lead developer the next, depending on what they focus on. Having a small and flexible team has the following benefits, according to Daniel: 

  • You’re not reliant on one person.
  • There’s no developer who just does check boxes, rather everyone is capable of launching an entire dashboard for corporate use or a new tool for thousands of customers.
  • Upon building a whole new product, the developer gets credit and something concrete that they can showcase as their own achievement. 
  • The team’s own culture creates a unique bonding. Daniel says that they’ve opened a separate technology headquarters—a location that’s dedicated just to the technology team.