STUDENT AND ALUMNI PROFILES
Alumni Profile: Blade Kotelly (E'95), Founder
"Whether you're designing a car, a remote control, a
service organization, any time you make something,
you're always making it for people. Understanding
the principles of design enabled me to basically
make anything."—Blade Kotelly (E95).
For Blade Kotelly, anything includes building what
he believes to be the simplest, most powerful online
platform to create video content. His company,
1minute40seconds, is designing a web-based SaaS
product that allows users to quickly insert text,
music, videos, or images into a video-template. A
finalist in this year's 2011 $1 million
MassChallenge startup competition, the team is
working hard to put the finishes touches on their
After Kotelly graduated with a bachelor's degree in
Human Factors (now known as Engineering Psychology)
from Tufts, he spent the past 9 years a visiting
lecturer at Tufts and MIT. From this experience he
believes that engineering students who also have a
liberal arts experience are versatile and able to
apply both sides of the brain into their design
"Tufts students have an openness to how they
approach problems and come out of college with a
broad, adaptable thought process. They're able to be
good leaders in a team and good followers as well.
They can learn from their experience and are open to
It's not surprising then to find out that the
1Minute40Seconds team consists entirely of Tufts
personnel—two of Kotelly's fraternity brothers and
three Tufts interns.
"Everybody at my company is from Tufts," Kotelly
said. He explains that his staff is exceptionally
skilled and they have a fresh eye for the details.
"Even my most technical person is from Tufts but his
style is slightly different than most technical
individuals. He's got an appreciation and a passion
for the human element within technology."
1Minute40Seconds started primarily because of
Kotelly's passion for the human element of design.
He could not find himself a perfect fit in the job
market. "I've mainly had jobs that I had to shoehorn
myself into," Kotelly said. "I really sought out
interdisciplinary experiences where you have art and
science and business and technology fused into one
role. I didn't ever want to be focused on just one
role when you can do so much more by connecting the
dots across the business. However, most businesses
don't usually hire that type of person."
Now Kotelly has acquired angel investors and summer
interns, and his design process is on the move. He
explains the progressiveness of his concept in terms
of Ford's first automobile.
"The other companies that are trying to do it are
doing it in the wrong direction, I believe."
Recalling a Henry Ford quotation, Kotelly said "If
you asked people in at the turn of century what they
wanted for transportation, they would have said,
"faster horses." No one would have said they want a
"car." The idea is that you should look at things
very differently in order to innovate. We're
thinking about building race cars when everybody
else is trying to make faster horses."
As 1Minute40Seconds throttles into MassChallenge,
consumers will soon determine how fast the engine of
this company can reach profitability.