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What tools are Silicon Prairie entrepreneurs most thankful for?

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For the past few years, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we’ve asked Silicon Prairie founders and entrepreneurs what they’re most thankful for. And we’ve had some great responses—from family and friends to founding teams and co-workers.

But this year, we decided to put a slightly different spin on things.

So we reached out to a group of community members and asked them what tools they’re thankful for, what helps them keep the wheels turning day after day.

Which tools or resources are you thankful for when it comes to making your job easier day-to-day or making your business a reality?

Regan Carrizales

Regan Carrizales, Silicon Prairie News

“I’m especially thankful the our partners who make SPN a reality. They are friends, mentors and provide our team the support we need to tell the stories of the innovators and entrepreneurs in our communities.”

David Tominsky

David Tominsky, Iowa Startup Accelerator

“The tool I am most thankful for is Eric Engelmann. Oh, you don’t mean that kind of tool? The tool that seemed super useful this year happens to be something I first used at Thinc Iowa called GroupMe. The staff and teams with the Iowa Startup Accelerator used it for quick communication in the ever-changing day-to-day of the program but also used it to turn pictures into hilarious memes.”

 Brian Ardinger

Brian Ardinger, NMotion

“I’m a research junkie so I’m thankful for Reeder, which helps me track, organize and sift through hundreds of streams, feeds and articles. It makes it so much easier to stay on top of trends and happenings, as well as share them with others.”

 Nate Fryzek

Nate Fryzek, Presage Analytics

“W H I T E B O A R D S.

I love whiteboards. I’m thankful for having them at work! The ability to sketch concepts and brainstorm as a team allows everyone to get their ideas seen and creates visual engagement.

As for resources, it has been great to be located out on the Silicon Prairie. Not only have we been able to find good talent here, I’m also constantly refreshed by the other entrepreneurs in our city and region that are building new things. It can make you ungrateful when you don’t have to travel far to get to a design conference in Lincoln, an entrepreneurial conference in Omaha or to hear pitches, but also, it can make you thankful that really talented people are building and exploring here with you.”

 Alec Whitters headshot

Alec Whitters, Higher Learning Technologies

“HLT is thankful for:

  • Trello which helps us to better do task management and see what others are working on.
  • 15five which allows each teammate to talk about their weekly wins and losses, what they’re thankful for, what roadblocks they have and then allows the team to engage with their report.
  • Hipchat which is our chat service that allows us to constantly stay connected with in house and remote employees
  • All the great investors, mentors and people who support the entrepreneurial community! (I had to throw this in—they are the best resource we have!)”
 Cremalab logo


“We love Slack! It eliminates unnecessary email and keeps our team communicating like champs.

We also live and die by Asana. It helps us manage our projects down to the smallest detail and helps us collaborate with our awesome clients.

Zapier helps us do more with less.

Base is a solid CRM.

We are pretty big fans of Rdio at Cremalab. Music is always pumping at the lab.

Fully caffeinated, flow through your veins goodness: Coffee.

Post-it Notes.”


Alisha Templeton, Techstars

“I’m thankful for the GroupMe app which makes keeping up with our Techstars alumni companies easy and entertaining. I’m also thankful for the many resources available to entrepreneurs in Kansas City (Kauffman, KCNext, KCSourceLink, ECJC, just to name a few) and the ongoing support and enthusiasm from our startup and tech community.”

 Erica Wassinger

Erica Wassinger, ERW Public Relations

“I am most thankful for the people I work with day-in and day-out—they make being in the trenches far more enjoyable. As far as tools go, I am most enamored with ToutApp and Charlie—they are my lifeblood for new biz development.”

 Amanda West headshot

Amanda West, Seed Here Studios

“Seed Here is thankful for GroupMe, which lets us communicate all at once with so many of our favorite people, including all of our Vault co-workers, the Rise of the Rest partners, the EntreFEST production team and the Iowa Startup Accelerator’s first cohort. Our community is as good as its people and we get to work alongside some of the most amazing and genuine people in the world.”

 Kari Keefe

Kari Keefe, Mozilla Gigabit Fund

“Mozilla Gigabit Fund and Hive KC are thankful for the Gig, Skype and Hyperaud.io (Yahoo them). We are geeked up and thankful for our new friends Corey Scholes at Kauffman and Abby Zwier at CEED. And we give big thanks to our loyal partners in all our edu tech work—KC Digital Drive’s Aaron Deacon and Jason Harper.

Happy Thanksgiving SPN and Kansas City!”


Sumeet Jain, Omaha Code School

“Big Wheel Brigade and Omaha Code School are thankful for Hubot—our friendly chatroom robot, who helps us keep the whimsy alive and strong.”


Derian Baugh, Men’s Style Lab

“Men’s Style Lab is thankful for Calendly. It let’s our customers schedule their Style Interviews on their own time and ends all the back and forth emails trying to find a time that works, giving our stylists hours back into their day to keep picking out awesome clothes!

As the CEO, I’m thankful for an amazing team that shows up and kicks ass day in and day out sending Style Upgrades to guys all over the country. I’m also thankful for the support of friends and family, advisors and mentors. There’s much to be thankful for here at The Lab. We’re building something exceptional and I couldn’t be more proud of where we are.”

Jeff Blackwood

Jeff Blackwood, ABPathfinder

“ABPathfinder is thankful to have a excellent team of employees that are committed to helping therapists better utilize their time and make a bigger impact in autism therapy. Every day, the team focuses on making the software better, the customer experience better, the marketing better, all with the end goal of doing our part to help individuals with autism.”

Jill Liliedahl

Jill Liliedahl, SitStay

“All of Team SitStay is a big fan of Snack by Pack. It’s basically the opposite of a productivity app, but (obviously) we’re pretty into dogs.

Beyond that we’re really thankful for both the Lincoln and Omaha startup communities who have been amazingly supportive and great sounding boards as implement exciting changes here at The DogHouse.”

 Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 11.34.19 AM

Shonna Dorsey, Interface School

“Interface is thankful for Slack, Basecamp, Trello and Google Docs—keeps communication simple for our team. We are extremely grateful for Interface students and grads, the support of Interface co-founders, instructors, supporters and formal/ad hoc mentors as well as the Midwest developer community. We are inspired by our community and happy to be a part of it.”

 Lyndsay Clark

Lyndsay Clark, Bloomsnap

“Bloomsnap is thankful for both Mailchimp and Olark which allow us to personally interact and build a great relationship with our customers.”

 David Arnold

David Arnold, Straight Shot

“It’s fundraising season here at Straight Shot so my top pick is Streak. It’s a ‘CRM in your inbox’ that layers on top of an existing Gmail account. Tracking funnels, storing key pieces of insight and setting reminders are all quick an easy using this tool.”

 Josh Krakauer

Josh Krakauer, Sculpt

“Sculpt is a walking, tweeting billboard for Slack. Slack allows our community managers to go home and feed their kiddos—or the CEO to escape to Big Omaha midweek—and still have a finger on the pulse of all the things, all the times.

The team, surveying their tabs and desks, added: TweetDeck, Trello, Wistia, Rapportive, gaffer tape, tequila and our kickass CoLab space and family.

Lastly, special props to the scheduling powers of Streak for helping 3 a.m. client responses arrive conveniently at 7:05 a.m., right when I “wake up.”

Happy Thanksgiving from Silicon Prairie News!

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