Handmark founder Augie Grasis reflects on life, work in KC (Video)
Silicon Prairie News has occasionally chronicled the work of Kansas City, Mo. application developer Handmark and regularly reports on the exploits of Handmark's social media app spinoff, OneLouder. (In fact, we published a story on OneLouder's latest offering, Slices, just last week.)
We've had less frequent opportunity to report on the man who's ultimately responsible for both companies, Handmark founder and CEO Augie Grasis (left).
But a promotional video released earlier this month by the Kansas City Area Development Council as part of the America's Creative Crossroads campaign provides us the chance to take a closer look at Grasis.
The campaign aims to raise Kansas City's profile as a great place for business and life, and that's certainly evident in the work-leisure balance depicted in the video. "My name is Augie Grasis," he says at one point. "I built my business and my life in Kansas City."
Grasis is an avid water-sportsman who apparently plays a pivotal role in an open water swimming group. But of greater interest to SPN's audience is how Grasis spends his time while on dry land. The video doesn't dive into Handmark's story in any great depth, but Grasis does offer some interesting insights about his company and approach:
On building a company in Kansas City:
"When I started in technology, there certainly, in my mind, wasn't any clear reason to go anywhere else."
On Handmark's culture:
"We really do try to, you know, keep it pretty loose because that's where creativity happens."
"There's great talent available, and these are really, really bright, fun guys. And I get more from them than they get from me, for sure. … I just give them a structure and an environment where they can thrive and they can create."
On what drives him:
"I don't consider myself necessarily a creative person, but at the same time I know what drives me. And what drives me is building great stuff for people. And what really turns me on is getting on an airplane and looking over at the person next to me and they're using some software that Handmark created."
"I guess I'm creative, but I don't think of it at all that way. I just think of it as, like, 'Well here's this new technology, let's bring this to the people.' And a lot of what we do, I think, is kind of de-geekify what's out there."
To see the video in its entirety, see the embed above.