WASHINGTON – It began as a “perfect storm.”
Two young entrepreneurs from Virginia, Justin Kauszler and ACe Callwood got their hands on some scientific research that described how mid-level ambient noise can help boost creativity.
At the time, they were hanging out often with their laptops at a Richmond-area coffee shop, searching for their next great opportunity.
Kauszler was having a tough time concentrating with the rather sterile background noise at his day job, and suggested recording some coffee shop audio to listen to at the office. Callwood pointed to the research.
“Coffitivity” was born.
They found some techie friends and put together a website featuring the ambient noise recording.
“Coffitivity was always supposed to be a side project for us,” says Callwood, who is the company’s creative director.
On day one, they got 120 page hits. On day two, they got 49,000 and crashed the host server.
Since then, the site has become an online community, with comments from around the nation and the world.
“It’s a talking point between creatives, entrepreneurs and just, as we call them, ‘cubicle crusaders’ or ‘stay-at-home hustlers,'” says Callwood.
Callwood says site visitors are usually people who work alone but feel the need to connect with others.
On an average day, between 10,000 and 15,000 people use the site, with the most visitors coming from Seoul, South Korea.
Washington, D.C., ranks No. five among American cities.
The company has developed a mobile app that is currently only available in Apple’s app store.
Callwood says 80 percent of Coffitivity’s users are on iOS, but developers expect to release an Android app in the near-future.
Time Magazine has named Coffitivity one of the 50 best websites of 2013.
Callwood says they never got a heads up from Time and didn’t learn of the honor until a few days after the list came out, when Coffitivity noticed a bump in web traffic.
“We did a little digging and found out we were on the list and that was mindblowing,” says Callwood, who notes the site got the award from Time for its quirkiness.
“We are quirky as a team and as a project,” but Callwood says they took a simple, but effective idea and came up with a site that just makes sense.