Meet our Co-Founder, Yoel Sommer

Meet our Co-Founder, Yoel Sommer


Where are you from?

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, moved to Chicago in 2003, sweet ever since.

What made you decide to become a developer/engineer?

I was fascinated with technology and computers since very young, mostly on the gaming side: at 8 you’d find me playing with my Commodore 64, at 12 getting my first PC, and at 12 dabbling in BASIC.

When I was young I loved the idea of writing commands and making something appear; as I grew up I seeked the challenge of providing a solution that didn’t exist. I kept seeing this as a hobby until I decided it was time to start programming, so I did in database grounds. I’m an SQL server developer.

What was happening (or what happened) the moment you decided it was the right time to create CSW Solutions?

Ray, my business partner, and I were working together for another company. He had experience as a business owner and I didn’t, so we decided to open a business that included our set of values related to software and customer service. We put our notice on a Friday, and were able to negotiate with that company to rehire us as contractors; that gave us the kickstart.

Can you share at least one tool or trick that makes your life easier as an owner of a software development company?

On the operations side: JIRA. It allows me to manage development and see that status of every project in the company. On the productivity side: Evernote. I’m a heavy Evernote user, it’s a digital hub of my brain– there are saved blog posts, important emails, conversations, documents, saved bookmarks, ideas…

What is your favorite client question and why?

“What differentiates you from other software development companies?” I like it because it allows me to focus on that difference, which is our level of expertise (our team is made of experts, passionate individuals who enjoy creating solutions together), the quality of our service (our responsiveness and attentiveness), and our communications systems (our clients know the status of their projects at all times; and somewhat related: our ability to take something as complex as technology and software solutions, and put it in words that anyone can understand).

I like to say that we don’t just build websites, but we construct code.

What industry blogs or sites do you read no matter what?

My favorite tech blogs are Mashable, Engadget, Tech Crunch.

What motivates you?

The notion that I’m able to make businesses better and more efficient by creating software that actually fits their needs and processes.

What are some things that most people don’t know about you?

That I’m a pretty good poker player, a pretty good cook, and that I used to scuba dive a lot.

What’s one thing everyone knows about you?

That I have a sense of humor and don’t take things too seriously; I live by rule no. 6.

What’s never missing in your daily routine?

Eating, brushing my teeth.

What’s never missing in the fridge?

Veggies. I love veggies. I always have veggies in my fridge. Mmm, veggies.

Do you have a secret hunch about how CSW will look like in 5 years?

I have an expectation. We’ve run CSW for almost 9 years, we’re in the process of designing new marketing and expansion initiatives, we’re set to growing our exposure internationally. On another side, we’re also focusing in our team’s evolution and needs.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

The ability to teleport from place to place. I love to travel, if I could be in Bangkok in 5 seconds, that’d be awesome.

What do you value the most in your team?

Honesty and integrity.