Kyle Kesterson

Kyle Kesterson, the co-founder and creative force behind Seattle startup Giant Thinkwell, is leaving the company in order to pursue new opportunities. What those are, Kesterson isn’t quite sure yet.

“I have a vision and a passion for what I want to collaborate on and where I want to leave my mark and it is clear that Giant Thinkwell is just a piece of that puzzle for me,” Kesterson tells GeekWire. “It’s hard to truly wrap my head around the amazing team and wild roller coaster that I was blessed to have been a part of, however feel like this is still early on in my own endeavors.”

A talented artist and designer who studied at the Cornish College of the Arts, Kesterson stumbled into the Seattle startup community after a buddy matched him up with Kevin Leneway at a Startup Weekend a few years ago.

The Giant Thinkwell team -- Kevin Leneway, Adam Tratt and Kyle Kesterson -- on the GeekWire podcast in April. (Click on the image for the full show)

The entrepreneurial duo graduated from the inaugural class of TechStars last year, and went on to raise cash from Founder’s Co-op and Madrona Venture Group in June.

Adam Tratt, CEO of Giant Thinkwell, described Kesterson as an “extremely talented guy and good friend.”

“We’re going to miss him,” Tratt said.

Kesterson said his future plans are not set in stone, noting that there was no specific job or project that led to the decision. He hopes to stay in the Seattle area, working with Startup Weekend events and helping to bridge the gap between the technical and artistic communities.

“I am taking some time to digest this last year-and-a-half of eating squid, but don’t imagine I’ll be very idle,” said Kesterson, referring to the Giant Thinkwell squid mascot that frequents many tech events. “Actually it’s already quite an invigorating feeling to be standing in front of such a blank canvas, which could drop me anywhere in the world.”

If all else fails, Kesterson joked that he could always fall back on his artistic talents.

“Perhaps I’ll fulfill my lifelong dream of growing a thick beard, standing next to a freeway onramp and selling doodles at $5 a piece,” he said.

Meanwhile, Giant Thinkwell, which started out with the concept of celebrity-based games, is making a bigger push into social TV with the recent launch of FlickMob.

Follow us @geekwire.

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Comments

  • Zee

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  • Zee

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  • http://frugalmechanic.com/ Eric Peters

    Worth noting Kyle just won the best startup designer in seattle 2.0 awards: http://www.geekwire.com/2011/night-seattle-20-awards-winners-acceptance-speeches

    A real loss for Giant Thinkwell, but an opportunity for whoever else he ends up working with!

  • http://frugalmechanic.com/ Eric Peters

    Worth noting Kyle just won the best startup designer in seattle 2.0 awards: http://www.geekwire.com/2011/night-seattle-20-awards-winners-acceptance-speeches

    A real loss for Giant Thinkwell, but an opportunity for whoever else he ends up working with!

  • Guest!

    I’m not sure I understand what any of these words mean or how they make coherent sentences, but best of luck to all involved.

  • Guest!

    I’m not sure I understand what any of these words mean or how they make coherent sentences, but best of luck to all involved.

  • CAA

    Watching the company grow from before and after getting funded, my gut says putting a “CEO” in control of a young creative company likely caused tension, and displaced one of the most creative and talented people in Seattle’s tech community.

    If that is the case, I would say shame on the investors and board and maybe someone needs to do their homework on the structure of top performing tech companies before making decisions that lead to a nano-cap serfdom.

    • CAB

      Wow, this is barely-disguised nastiness, I can’t even tell what the second sentence is trying to say. But at least you have your gut!

      As someone who also watched (from close by), there’s no doubt that getting smart and creative people together (and I mean everyone on this team) can cause challenges, and if they disagreed on direction, so be it. But blaming the CEO (or, sorry, the “CEO”) because the designer is a cool guy who draws awesome squids is being certain to only tell part of the story – and then maybe you shouldn’t tell the story at all.

      If this ends up with Kyle, Adam, or any of the GT folks being thought of as less-than-awesome, then the wrong result will have happened.

      • CAA

        I’m an consumer software entrepreneur and angel. I don’t live in Seattle.

        I’m not blaming the CEO directly, I blamed the investors because I’ve seen this unfold before. So, thanks for emphasizing my point about the value of creative talent in a creative company. Your condescending tone suggests a management background that misunderstands the value of designers. Squids… really?

      • Fred

        First of all, best of luck to you Kyle and the team. GTW is now missing a huge part of their soul! This whole “leaving” feels a bit murky. (ink pun partially intended/formulated)

        CAB – Your tone summarizing Kyle as a squid doodler obviously shows a bias and lack of understanding, oh yeah and a total lack of empathy. Pretend to be invested in creative talent but only tolerate them so long as they don’t get in your way, right?

        Is it getting cold in here or is it just because winter’s coming.

  • http://twitter.com/bcrimmins Bob Crimmins

    Best of luck to you, Kyle!  I know a lot of us will be watching with great interest to see what you do next.  The GT team is packed to brim with talent and you were a big part of making that happen.  The talent tank will definitely need to be refilled with your departure.  If you end up on a street corner selling $5 doodles, I’ll be circling the block over and over!

  • http://natewhitehill.com Nate Whitehill

    Kyle is the man. I look forward to seeing what he does next!

  • http://natewhitehill.com Nate Whitehill

    Kyle is the man. I look forward to seeing what he does next!

  • Anonymous

    Good luck to both Kyle and Giant Thinkwell without Kyle. It feels like there must be a big part of the story that we are not hearing.

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