Mike Manos is new Huffington Post CTO, Technology iterating as fast as the news

Mike Manos has been on demand as a Data Center executive going from Microsoft to Digital Realty Trust to Nokia and his latest job at AOL.  Mike let me know of his latest job being CTO for Huffington Post.  First question of course is what what happened to your old job?

on taking the responsibilities of CTO of the Huffington Post Media Group. . .


Today I was asked to take over the responsibilities of Chief Technology Officer for the Huffington Post Media Group and I can tell I am extremely excited for this opportunity. This new set of responsibilities will be in addition to my current role as Senior Vice President of Technology at AOL where I have responsibility for the Operations and Day to Day Delivery of all AOL products and services.

OK, so Mike still has his old job at Sr VP of AOL Technologies.  So, what is his new job as CTO of Huffington Post?

Some people familiar with this type of industry may think its nothing more than a simplified website with a custom CMS. I can tell you that the back end systems, custom CMS, widget interfaces and overall flexibility that these systems operate on and develop to are part of the reason for the platforms overall success. In a world where ‘Internet time’ generally means an aggressively accelerated rate of time, the Huffington Post Platform operates at a Faster than Internet time rate. Its an incredible challenge and one I cant wait to sink my teeth into.

Huh, Mike is kind of like a Sr VP of DevOps, expanding into the development of content and web site design.

In computing, "DevOps" is an emerging set of principles, methods and practices for communication, collaboration and integration between software development (application/software engineering) and IT operations(systems administration/infrastructure) professionals.[1] It has developed in response to the emerging understanding of the interdependence and importance of both the development and operations disciplines in meeting an organization's goal of rapidly producing software products and services.

I've known Mike for quite a few years and we always enjoy discussing big ideas.  So, what can a Sr VP/CTO who gets the paradigm of DevOps do?  When you see how the pieces work together. You can implement changes.  What type of changes?  For Huffington Post it can be how do you create a better web site.

First the integration between the Editorial, Design, and Technology components of the company are truly three equal and dependent legs in the overall delivery of the service. Unlike many media companies where Technology plays a secondary role, at the Huffington Post its an essential and core part of the overall product and delivery strategy. Technology literally iterates on a daily basis.

One of the choices you have is to change when the pain of staying the same is more than the pain of change, but in IT services that can be too late.  Isn't it wiser to change before the pain comes?  Think of the ultimate pain as an outage.  Do you want to wait for an outage before you change?  Of course not.  The slow performance degradation of a site with increasing costs is what people would run into more often, and is a more realistic pain.

Mike discusses the idea of change in his blog post "Breaking the Chrysalis"

Breaking the Chrysalis

What has come before

When I first took my position at AOL I knew I was going to be in for some very significant challenges.   This position, perhaps more-so than any other in my career was going to push the bounds of my abilities.


AOL has been around for over 27 years.  In technology circles, that’s like going back almost ten generations.   Almost 3 decades of “stuff”.  The stuff was not only gear and equipment from the natural growth of the business, but included the expansion of features and functionality of long standing services, increased systems interdependencies, and operational, technological, and programmatic “Cruft” as new systems / processes/ technologies were  built upon or bolted onto older systems.

This “cruft” adds significant complexity to your operating environment and can truly limit your organization’s agility.

Mike's latest change to CTO and Sr VP of Technologies may be the future of what companies need to replace the CIO and/or CTO role.

AllthingsD reports on the other changes at AOL.

More AOL Tech Moves: HuffPo Tech Head Tim Dierks Out After 5 Months

Yet more change at embattled AOL: Tim Dierks, the top engineer at its Huffington Post Media Group unit, is out, less than six months after he joined the company. AOL tech SVP Michael Manos will replace him, at least temporarily.

Dierks left Google to work for Tim Armstrong and Arianna Huffington back in September. He was first hired as Huffpo’s senior vice president of engineering, andeventually replaced chief technology Paul Berry, who had helped Huffington build the site and left in February, a year after she sold the company to Armstrong.