Kyle Kesterson is a creative guy now working on the bleeding edge of technology. How did he get there? After quitting his job as a professional toy designer, he got a call from a friend inviting him to Startup Weekend. Though he initially dismissed it as too “geeky”, Kyle’s friend wouldn’t let it go. The next morning, Kyle found himself surrounded by entrepreneurs and got bitten by the startup bug.
“I saw a fit for where creativity worked with technology,” Kyle says of walking around the room at Startup Weekend. “I got into the flow of sharing thoughts and ideas.” From there, he found ways to infuse his creativity into technology projects and startups, and eventually made his way into TechStars and the Kinect Accelerator.
Working with Microsoft Kinect, Kyle has a front-row seat on some pretty futuristic technology. He loves “being part of an early market, using bleeding edge technology” to make awesome things happen. “This is the future,” he says. “We’re sitting in the driver’s seat with only the future to look into.”
His ride is made easier through support from mentors, both from Microsoft and outside. He says of his Microsoft network, “The people that make up the organization are incredibly smart, incredibly keen, really passionate, and want to do things that are relevant and awesome.” And his mentors outside are just as good. “I wouldn’t define my success on how many meetings I took,” he explains, emphasizing the importance of quality of quantity.
The self-described “startup community junkie” is wary of those trying to jump into the trendy startup game just because it seems cool. He says, “There’s a lot of fad and culture around startups and accelerators that people want to get in on.” His advice for those thinking of taking the leap?
Have a support system, set expectations, and hold on tight.