He throws the Play-Doh down on the table and I squeeze it through the press. It's important to collaborate with someone that will push you to be better.
When they tried to promote a side project, Kyle Sollenberger and Aaron Gotwalt discovered how hard it was for the two of them to tweet from the same Twitter handle. Kyle explained the simplicity of the problem to Kern and Burn. He said, “There were two of us and one Twitter account. If we were having trouble, imagine what would happen when a large business with hundreds of people, across multiple business units tried to do the same.”
This was in 2008 when businesses were just beginning to discuss whether or not they should be on Twitter—Kyle and Aaron took a bet that they would. They hired a business developer and CoTweet was born. Within a few months large brands like Whole Foods, Starbucks, Pepsi, and Southwest tested the beta version of the service and it was a hit. In 2010, CoTweet was acquired by ExactTarget. The application allows company’s social media management teams to collaborate and tap into social media conversations as they happen.
A high school interest in architecture led Kyle to pursue drafting. At the same time, he discovered HTML and Flash and realized that the web allowed him to create a virtual space that people could interact with in real time. He believed in himself and trusted that his experience would win out over a degree. Kyle said, “Rapid iteration and user testing are much harder in the physical space. I wanted to move quickly so the web won over architecture. I don’t learn well in an academic setting and college life wasn’t appealing to me.” At age 20, he became a partner and creative director of a web development company. He managed people twice his age and created over two-thousand websites in three years which taught him a lot about business. Kyle now describes himself as an “architect for the internet” who translates ideas into the real world.
Kyle and Aaron continue to collaborate on ideas and products at their company Tomorrowpants. When I asked Kyle to describe their process he said, “The best way to describe our relationship is that he throws the Play-Doh down on the table and I squeeze it through the press. It’s important to collaborate with someone that will push you to be better. Aaron always does that for me.” Often the place to find an idea is by solving a problem in your own life. CoTweet solved a problem in their own lives and grew into a successful product that solves problems for others.