Silicon Prairie News

Posts by Guest Contributor
4430_099d779101_small July 7, 2012 by Guest Contributor

Kansas City One Week KC was Kansas City's first major step towards realizing the vision established by our Chamber of Commerce: to make Kansas City America's Most Entrepreneurial City. It was one week (nine days, rather) of activities all around the city to help local entrepreneurs connect, form bonds, get inspired and celebrate entrepreneurship. It was an opportunity to spotlight the regular meetups and events that are already going on … read more

4421_2f26a621f0_small July 6, 2012 by Guest Contributor

Kansas City (Guest post by Matt Watson.) Software developers are usually very good problem solvers. So are entrepreneurs. I think a lot of software developers want to start their own business, but they struggle to find the right business idea and problem to solve. I have always loved the challenge of a big problem and I am a third generation entrepreneur. So I would say it was in my blood. But like other developers, I always struggled with what kind of business to start. Lucky for me, one day the opportunity presented itself. While I was in college I sold computers at Sears. On one random day a car dealer came in to buy a computer. He also needed some help with some software he had. Next thing you know, I was … read more

4393_9260260903_small June 30, 2012 by Guest Contributor

Des Moines (Guest post by Brianne Sanchez.) I traveled 7,317 miles to Qatar and came back wanting to go to Fargo. Yes, that Fargo. Let me tell you why. But first, a confession: I am not an entrepreneur. (Well, at least not yet.) I'm a lurker here in this space where ideas meet action, repurposing your #-ed wisdom for my more 8-4:30 career at a nonprofit. … read more

4360_db7bf567a4_small June 23, 2012 by Guest Contributor

Omaha (Guest post by Daphne Eck.) For one glorious year, Fresh Juice entrepreneur and creative consultant, Elle Lynch, was the owner and chef of Daily Grub. If you're from Omaha, you probably know the joint as 2010's Best New Restaurant. A whole food, farm-to-table lunch spot that didn't necessarily sell itself as a vegan restaurant, but was. Everyone … read more

4355_6edd7cb125_small June 22, 2012 by Guest Contributor

Des Moines (Guest post by Michael Ferrari.) Sure the idea was mine, but to bring my idea to life, I needed help. This may or may not hold true for everyone starting a company. And more power to you, if you can design, build and launch your product on your own. Aaron Patzer, founder of, once told me that he basically locked himself in a room for months and coded the first rev of Mint all by himself. God bless him. But if you aren't a programmer (like me), chances are you won't get far with your idea until you bring on some help. Be it a business partner, outsourcing or hiring. I'm a firm believer that if you want to be taken seriously with a product, especially an online financial product where people will be entrusting you with their money, branding and design … read more

4334_56c84db9bc_small June 18, 2012 by Guest Contributor

San Francisco In the weeks leading up to Apple's World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, various conversations between Andy Peters, Gabe Kangas and I snowballed into tweets and Facebook posts that culminated in an Omahans and Expats meetup one week ago. We had more people show up than had RSVP'd and we ended up being the last patrons left at the Press Club of San Francisco. For those in attendance, from either end of the geographic divide, the event provided … read more

4315_beb0fc7c09_small June 15, 2012 by Guest Contributor

Des Moines Startup founders establish the culture of their companies. Culture means different things to different people, but here we're discussing the way the startup works, how team members interact, their work ethic, how they behave and how they react to outside inputs. How that culture expresses itself can be a strong asset to the startup or a destructive force that contributes to its death. We all have vague ideas of what we'd like to see in our working culture and more can say exactly what constitutes a toxic culture. Far too many have experienced the abusive boss, the stifling bureaucracy and resistance to change. For some, those factors caused them to start a company to begin with. The founder has the obligation and challenge to set and perpetuate … read more

4283_c0d9cd365e_small June 9, 2012 by Guest Contributor

Des Moines This week Tej Dhawan, Andy Stoll, Amanda Styron, and I trekked from Iowa to Boulder Colorado for the Startup America Partnership Regional Leaders Summit to represent StartupIowa. Over the two days, the SUAP team and our peer regions (states) were relentless in sharing best practices and programs that they have developed to build their entrepreneurial ecosystems. The Summit has had me thinking deeply about where we are in the gestation of StartupIowa and the overall ecosystem … read more

4274_8841b6e8ea_small June 8, 2012 by Guest Contributor

Omaha First things first, the role of a founder is to do things like this. Share their experience, learn from others' experiences, and give back to communities that have helped shape and grow their companies. I believe founders have both strategic and tactical roles. Strategic roles are things like crafting the vision, creating and maintaining a desired culture, recruiting the best team, and generally keeping the ship moving in the right direction. These are likely consistent throughout … read more

4244_e37d156728_small June 2, 2012 by Guest Contributor

Omaha Last week the last of the second batch of the Stored Potential banners went up in Omaha. The project was ambitions, 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 … read more

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Winners will be announced live on stage at
our August 30 event.