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Prairie Portrait: Kris Nessa of Cerner

Name: Kristine (Kris) Nessa

Bio: An electrical engineer that learns, creates and executes constantly to create a better world.

Title: Solution Manager and Designer for Cerner Corporation

Age: 33

Residence: Kansas City suburbs (I’m from Iowa)

Website: krisnessa.tumblr.com

Twitter: @KrisNessa

Linkedin: linkedin.com/pub/kris-nessa

Intro music: You’re asking a former DJ and avid music junkie to pick only one song? This is the toughest question of all (and yes, I answered this last). I guess a good one that describes me would be “I Ain’t No Joke” by Eric B. & Rakim — “Remember me, the one you got your idea from.”

Silicon Prairie News: As someone who works for a big corporation but who has the “heart of an entrepreneur,” what’s your view of the role large companies can play in sparking entrepreneurship and innovation?

Kris Nessa: Every company is or was a startup. Every company wants to grow, go public and makes lots of money. Every company wants to be a Fortune 500 company. Can you hustle to create a billion-dollar company? Or would you rather create the billion-dollar idea with help from a solid foundation and go to market faster? I happen to work for one of those well-known startups in Kansas City. I love being challenged with one of the biggest problems facing all of us today, health care. I can’t tackle this problem alone, I need help from the rest of our team. I get to bring my entrepreneurial and new venture ideas to work to create our vision. It’s exciting! And I don’t have to be the CEO worrying about all the business nuances. By working for a big corporation that supports creativity, I can choose to focus on innovation while others already in place can worry about business logistics. You know Zuckerberg prefers to code than attend board meetings 🙂

SPN: You list continuing education and staying current on the latest in technology as among your top goals. What are three go-to resources for that continuing education, and why do you look to those outlets?

KN: Good, and tough question. Only three resources … aside from a lot of books and a few magazines:

1. From a coding perspective – What started out as educational books & iTunesU classes has now morphed into Codecademy. (Brilliant idea and venture, I love the Codecademy team!). Why wouldn’t you use this resource if you wanted to dive back into coding (me) or learn from the beginning. It’s free and easy to use.

2. Entrepreneurial & Business (and sometimes Tech) perspective – This Week in Startups (and some of the sister channels, such as This Week in Venture Capital and Web Design). If you don’t know about this show (or station), you need to find out. If you don’t like Jason Calacanis, suck it up and watch the show. If you don’t learn anything from even one episode, you’re doing something wrong.

3. Everything – Twitter. If you don’t see how Twitter is your true up-to-minute news feed, then let me inform you. Follow the companies, executives, leaders and information that excites you and the information will flood your screen. Best news and information aggregate since the AP wire, as far as I’m concerned.

SPN: There’s been lots of talk about what Google Fiber can mean for telemedicine, and other health care-related initiatives. Having worked in health care technology for nearly a decade, what’s your take on what Fiber could mean to that industry in Kansas City?

KN: With speed comes signal strength. With strength comes the capabilities to wire a community and transfer huge packets of information instantaneously. Imagine a community where you could visit any clinic, pharmacy, hospital, therapy center and never had to fill out another sheet of paper answering your medical history. Imagine a community where, if you were unconscious, the ambulance and hospital (who’ve never seen you before) could pull up your personal health record instantaneously and know all your allergies and current conditions. Imagine a wired home that could monitor and transmit critical information about a patient’s chronic condition and adherence to desired protocols. These are just some of the great opportunities that are enhanced with a high-speed wired community.

SPN: You’ve participated in Coders 4 Charities and blogged about the value of the event. What’s your quick pitch to people who haven’t participated in the initiative on why they should?

KN: Coders 4 Charities is the open source software and free software movement of your skills. Share, give back, and good will come of it. Instead of spending the weekend at home in front of your computer geeking out, come out and get some free food and change countless lives. What better way than to hang out with friends, meet new like-minded people, and create a better community to live in.

SPN: I read that Gary Vaynerchuk once promised you tickets to a Jets game if he ever buys the franchise. I imagine there’s a colorful story behind that one. Care to share?

KN: I created the “Thank You Economy” before Gary V. ever wrote about it :). All I did was send a thank you email to Jason Calacanis and Gary at the same time. They both responded, and Gary said they “will have me in for both games” (referring to Gary owning the Jets and Jason owning the Knicks). Ever since, Gary and I chit-chat on Twitter and Jason has mentioned me on an episode of TWiST. See how great Twitter is kids!


Image credit: Photo courtesy of Kris Nessa.

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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