I met Adam Smith on a random night out doing karaoke in a little hole-in-the-wall place in Miami. After completely losing my voice singing 90’s rock ballads, I came to realize we had more in common than our love of grunge music. Turns out we both shared an interest in tech. Adam, along with other old MIT friends were out celebrating a friend’s birthday. Adam started selling shareware online at 13. After studying computer science at MIT, Adam was a pioneer at Dropbox, founded Xobni (Y Combinator ’06), which was acquired by Yahoo seven years later.
Needless to say, the night out was pretty epic in that way only Miami could provide. After that night we all returned to our home bases: myself to New York, and Adam to San Francisco. Luckily I’ve had the pleasure of keeping in touch and hearing about some amazing new developments on his end.
Adam’s latest project is called Kite. Kite is a programming “copilot” that augments coding environments by providing a bridge that references all of the internet’s programming knowledge. Here, Adam’s been kind enough to answer some questions about his latest passion project, and how it will benefit developers.
1. How did you come up with this idea?
Adam Smith: It was a two and a half year process. I looked at several ideas, even built out some of them, and ultimately fell in love with the idea for Kite. I love programming but there are many parts of it that are broken, where programmers spend a lot of time looking up basic information or reinventing the wheel. We think Kite will be the company to fix this problem.
2. How long has this been in the making? What was your greatest challenge to date?
Adam Smith: We started the company two years ago (in April 2014). The biggest challenge by far has been assembling the amazing team behind Kite. We’re doing very technically challenging work, so the team is the most important part. Now that we’re together we have a lot of fun learning from each other and working together to build something big and (we think) important.
3. Do you think Kite may have an affect on development speed?
Adam Smith: Yes, it should directly accelerate programming. Kite moves work away from the programmer, so developers using Kite end up more productive (and happier!).
4. How do you anticipate Kite having an effect on coder’s lives?
Adam Smith: As mentioned above, we think Kite will make programmers more productive. We also think Kite, alongside efforts like Code.org, will help people learn how to write code. If this works we will live in a world with more, and higher quality, software, which will in turn amplify what the world can do. It’s a pretty exciting position to be in!
5. Have you been working on anything interesting yourself while using Kite?
Adam Smith: I hacked together a bell that rings every day at noon to signal that we should eat lunch. The team thought it was too loud, though, so it’s now just a fancy-looking circuit board : )
6. After Kite, what’s your next big project?
Adam Smith: There’s no end in sight. We think this will be a long term, multi-decade project, and that’s exciting to us! We’re just getting started.
After skimming through their site I’ve found that Kite has put together quite the A-team. On top of this they also boast an impressive list of investors including founders of Dropbox (not surprised!), Quora, Paypal, and WordPress to name a few. Best of all, if you scroll to the bottom of the page you’ll find that Kite has reassured that there have been “no nerds harmed in the making of this product”. In a day and age where tech culture is as cut-throat as ever, this notion was a comforting one.