About the author: Rahul Gupta is the founder of Big Wheel Brigade, a custom software and product development shop with an eye on social good. Big Wheel Brigade is an underwriter of Emerging Terrain's Elevate.
On Sunday, hundreds will gather for Emerging Terrain's Stored Potential event taking place atop of bridge above Interstate 80.
Last week the last of the second batch of the Stored Potential banners went up in Omaha. The project was ambitious, the work was hard, and the final project is exceptional. Defunct grain elevators were transformed into a piece of art which speaks for the city.
The city didn’t do it. You and I didn’t do it.
Emerging Terrain, an Omaha non-profit, did it. And they are to be thanked. It is organizations like theirs which are helping to weave the future-fabric of Omaha.
We all want to live in a place that is interesting, inspiring, and fun. It's time to help make that happen. Let's embrace the arts, let's experience and learn from the diversity in our cities, let's sponsor events which make us proud to live where we live.
Let's take an active hand in shaping the cultural and lifestyle facets of our city.
After all, we are already community builders.
You. Me. All the members of the Silicon Prairie community. We support each other, build products, create jobs – we work hard as entrepreneurs and creatives to give our SPN community a sense of identity and a voice.
It's time for us to look outward and to start shaping the community around us, the same way we shape our products and our company cultures.
Look, I get it: We're busy fulfilling the visions of our companies let alone creating a vision for the cities in which we work and live. It's hard to take time away from the heads-down work, work, work we need to do as entrepreneurs.
So like good entrepreneurs, I say we outsource the things we can't handle and entrust our precious resources to the people and organizations who can do the work for us. There are people working to make our cities more vibrant, diverse and inspiring.
People like Mark Steele of Planet Water which has deployed clean water projects in 170 communities across nine countries in Asia supporting more than 150,000 people in under 2 years.
And, of course, people like Anne Trumble, who runs Emerging Terrain which takes our public space and reshapes it, in turn reshaping our experience in the city.
There are leaders like these throughout the Silicon Prairie. My exhortation? Find them. Support them. Let’s help Chris and Beth create a city that can attract and retain talent. Let’s help Anne and Andrew create a city which will joyfully surprise us when we finally take the time to pry our fingers away from the keyboard and peel our eyes away from the screen.
On Sunday, Emerging Terrain is holding its Elevate event to celebrate the completion of Stored Potential. I'm proud to say that my company, Big Wheel Brigade, along with SecretPenguin, is underwriting the event. We are two companies which have decided to take an active hand in shifting Omaha further in the direction of a place where we want to live, a place where we and our employees can be inspired and have fun, and a place where there are interesting things to see and do.
There are so many different ways you can do this. At Big Wheel Brigade, we take 10 percent of our revenue and set it aside in a savings account we call our social good fund. Over the course of the year, we take these funds and donate to causes or support projects.
That's not the right formula for everyone. But you can find a way to help build a city you can be proud of: join a board, donate time, tweet to support. Get yourself involved – it will be personally rewarding and provide an inspiring change in perspective.
Disclosure: I am a former board member of the Nebraska Writers Collective and a former employee of Planet Water.
Update June 4: When published, introduction incorrectly stated Big Wheel Brigade underwrote Stored Potential. The company underwrote Elevate.
About the author: Rahul Gupta is founder of Big Wheel Brigade, a custom software and product development shop with an eye on social good. Since Scott Harrison's talk at Big Omaha 2010, Gupta has strived to include a component of social good in all he does. He has recently moved to San Francisco after 7.5 years in Omaha, but Big Wheel Brigade remains anchored in Omaha.
You can find him on Twitter, @hul.