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Prairie Portrait: Cody Butler of Deal Garden

Name: Cody “CornFinger” Butler

Bio: Native to Hastings, Neb., Cody graduated from the University of South Dakota in May of 2005. As football team captain, Cody led the Coyotes in scoring and attained seven school records despite having a career on-field playing time of just 3 minutes and 25 seconds (aka he was a placekicker). Cody is set to marry his fiancé, Colleen, this summer.

Title: Inbound marketer at Deal Garden

Age: 30

Residence: Fremont, Neb.

Website: facebook.com/cornfinger

Twitter: @CornFinger

Linkedin: linkedin.com/pub/cody-butler

Intro music: “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen

Silicon Prairie News: After stints with more established businesses, you made the jump to a startup a little over a year ago in joining Deal Garden. What drove you to enter the startup world?

Cody Butler: I was one of those guys that quit his more-than-decent-paying corporate job thinking I could start a business and make more money. Turns out having an original idea does not automatically translate into profits.  I joined Deal Garden because I had realized that there was a lot I did not know in regards to starting high-growth companies, employing humans and changing the world. 

SPN: After seeing the daily and group deals space heat up and become crowded in a hurry, what’s your forecast for the future of the field? What trends and developments do you see on the horizon?

CB: The crowd already is beginning to dwindle. Finally we are beginning to see more companies exit than jump in, which is good for us. In the future, Deal Garden and others will become a branded medium within which small businesses can deliver the right offer, at the right time, to the right audience and use re-marketing techniques to close the loop. In other words, the model will move away from customer acquisition and towards loyalty centric. And don’t let me forget to throw mobile in there somewhere too!

SPN: What are the most important lessons you learned in taking the CornFinger from an idea to a full-blown, revenue-generating brand?

CB:  As of today, CornFinger, Inc’s lifetime revenue is $33,952.91 and there is only a $1.67 in the company checking account. So needless to say I learned a pretty hard but extremely valuable lesson in business finance and cash flows. But the lessons do not stop there … the list is long.  What I do know is that there is still a tremendous amount of education I still need and want to acquire.

P.S. I definitely learned how to have fun, too … click here

SPN: You recently put the CornFinger brand behind the effort to stop the expansion of the Keystone pipeline into Nebraska. Can you discuss that effort and what went into the decision to align CornFinger with it?

CB:  From the very beginning CornFinger’s mission was to exist in a way that benefited the state of Nebraska, its people and its farmers. Joining the Fight Against Keystone XL, I felt, enabled the mission to be fulfilled in a much more meaningful way than what we were doing previously.  All profits that were realized enabled me to donate back to the cause as well as fund a trip to participate in the “Surround the White House” protest on November 6th, 2011.

SPN: In a previous gig with Daktronics, you worked with customers like the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Steelers. As someone who knows his stadiums, what are your top three venues across all sports, and why? 

CB: Fenway Park, The (Old) Meadowlands and and Penn State’s Beaver Stadium. They are my favorites not necessarily because the stadiums were particularly awesome or anything but because interesting things tended to happen to me while there … whether it be stopping an assault on a store manager at a McDonald’s outside of Fenway Park, using a press pass to get in the New York Giants post-game locker room or taking this photo op with Joe Pa. I am more interested in the off-hand experiences than the stadiums themselves I guess.


Credits: Photo courtesy of Butler.

Prairie Portraits: To learn more about this series, see our introduction post, or visit our archives for past Prairie Portraits. To suggest an individual for a future Prairie Portrait, contact editor@siliconprairienews.com.

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