The usual M.O. for the IdeaMensch team this summer has been to run the spotlight as other entrepreneurs have served as stars of the show. But last week during a visit to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Mo., IdeaMensch founder Mario Schulzke took center stage for 45 minutes to tell the story his Los Angeles-based blog and events company.
The Kansas City stop was part of #IM48, the four-month, 48-state tour that we’ve chronicled the past couple weeks. Schulzke embarked on the roaddtrip in July, along with Will Seith, Adam Unger and Kelley Mattingly.
Schulzke, a 10-year veteran of the advertising world, started IdeaMensch three years ago as a part-time project, filling the blog with interviews of entrepreneurs. Eventually, he decided to leave his advertising job to pursue IdeaMensch full-time. In July, Schulzke and his team embarked on #IM48, during which they have held one event featuring short talks from local entrepreneurs at every stop along the way.
“I wanted to (see) what would happen,” Schulzke says of the trip, “if you sort of took that (blog) format and you brought it into an event.”
Schulzke and crew did that in Kansas City and Omaha last week and in Des Moines and Sioux Falls this week. But in their stop at the Kauffman Foundation, Schuzlke took time to talk about his own journey and observations along the way. A sampling of those observations:
On IdeaMensch’s welcome in the Midwest:
“I just think in this region, it’s just a lot friendlier … But if you think of where you want to live and where you want to do business, a friendly ecosystem is one of the first things that I would consider, right? And in this region I see that.”
On the difference between good and bad entrepreneurial ecosystems:
“I think it’s actually individuals … What makes a difference is, like, one person.”
“You get an ecosystem where people are used to paying it forward … and then they start paying it forward also.”
On necessary ingredients for a thriving tech community:
“I think critical mass is really important when it comes to tech entrepreneurs because those guys, more than anything, they seem to need the support.”
For more on IdeaMensch and #IM48, see our previous coverage:
- “IdeaMensch events coming to KC, Omaha, Des Moines and Sioux Falls“
- “On entrepreneur tour, IdeaMensch finds variety, passion in Omaha“
Credits: Video from kauffman.org.