Prairie Portrait: Derek Brooks of Modest Inc.
Entrance song if I was a wrestler: This is one of the hardest questions I’ve ever been asked. I could definitely have new one for every match, but let’s start serious with Johnny Cash's "God’s Gonna Cut You Down."
Prairie Portraits is a weekly set of questions intended to help the community get to know someone from the Silicon Prairie startup scene a little bit better. Prairie Portraits feature a fixed set of questions ranging from career background and personal perferences to, perhaps, off-the-wall questions on YouTube videos and entrance music.
Name: Derek Brooks
Title/Occupation: Founding engineer at Modest Inc.
Hometown: Port Byron, Illinois
Current city: Des Moines, Iowa
Title of my autobiography: “broox dot com”
Thing I can’t live without: Music. Always have music.
Drink of choice: Every morning, I wake up and slam 24 ounces of ice cold Diet Mountain Dewski. This is the second thing I can’t live without.
Last book I read: Hmm, my ADD disallows me from taking part in this seemingly enjoyable activity.
Ultimate road trip snack: Beef jerky, Diet Cokes and a healthy serving of Queens of the Stone Age.
Entrance song if I was a wrestler: This is one of the hardest questions I’ve ever been asked. I could definitely have a new one for every match, but let’s start serious with Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.”
Celebrity doppelgänger: Bam Margera. If my hair’s right, kids have been known to ask for autographs.
Guilty pleasure band and/or film: I get into any and all terrible rappers. 2 Chainz, Ace Hood, Waka Flocka, you name it. Also, ABBA.
Chosen career in an alternate reality: Home builder or remodeler.
Worst OCD tendency: Attempting to hyper-accurately geotag and timestamp old photos for the purpose of data and story telling.
Quote I might have said: Well, the latest “OverHeard” I saw posted about myself on Twitter was from a poker party I hosted last weekend, and that quote was, “Do not wrestle here. Do not. Just. Keep. Dancing.”…Poker obviously didn’t last long.
Which actor or actress, and why: Brad Pitt because he’s hilarious… And also because I barely know any actors or actresses.
Favorite YouTube video: Probably the one where my buddy Harper paid this Sri Lankan dude on fiverr to eat a photo of my sixth-grade, mullet-sporting self out of some tropical fruit.
Best place in Des Moines no one knows about: Sunday Brunch at The Fremont. Buy a bloody mary from this dive bar and get a free made-to-order omelet with it. It’s a little slow and sketchy because there’s only one dude with one portable skillet making one omelet at a time… but you can always order a second bloody mary while you wait.
Des Moines’ obligatory tourist stop: Tour the Capitol. It’s free. It’s beautiful.
One thing Des Moines has that other Silicon Prairie cities don’t: Des Moines has one of the best balances of city, country and close proximity to other cities around.
Best thing going for Des Moines’ startup community: Currently, StartupCity. I believe that hubs like StartupCity are hugely important for growth, both for companies and communities.
Last local restaurant I ate at: Zombie Burger. Always eat local.
Best meal I’ve had in Des Moines: I don’t know, but it was likely at Alba. Those dudes are amazing.
Des Moines would be better if… it had better public transportation and more street-level shopping downtown. Maybe a local grocery store like Hy-Vee, on like… 5th Street and Court Avenue. I dunno. 😉
The Startup Scene
Social media pet peeve: People who are simply consumers. Especially when they are over-consumers.
App I’m obsessed with: Currently, Snapchat. It’s terrible. I love it. Pro tip: Allow people who aren’t your friends to Snapchat you.
Silicon Prairie startup crush: Is there some kind of Silicon Prairie hot-or-not I can check out? I’m kinda new here.
Most comfortable startup T-shirt I own: My Modest hoodie.
Something most people don’t know about me: This is hard because I’m a huge oversharer. I’m sure you can find something at derek.broox.com/bio.
Entrepreneur I most want to grab a drink with: Eric Schmidt. That dude seems like he knows how to party.
I do what I do because… I love solving challenging problems.
Before I was in startups… I wrote research software for a giant company and that was not my scene.
If money wasn’t an object, my next company would be… aggregating and hacking on fun personal data on broox.com. This would not be a very viable company.
The Silicon Prairie startup scene is missing… numbers, experience and resources… but we are getting there, and that is super exciting.
In five years, I’ll be… 37.57 and probably still dressing like an asshole.
In five years, I’d love to see the Silicon Prairie… having more shared co-working hubs, incubators and hacker spaces. The more we combine these communities, the better we’ll be.
Credits: Photos courtesy of Derek Brooks.
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