Thanks to the Thinc Iowa community for helping raise the bar

By SPN Team / October 16, 2012

Some observers of college sports will tell you that athletes improve the most between their freshman and sophomore year. While I’m no coach, I believe that theory has to do with the idea that the initial year sets your baseline. After seeing how your particular skills and ability fit into the new environment, you take that first offseason to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. You make adjustments. And, in that second season, you enjoy the largest …

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Yes, we saw Ryan from The Office say “Silicon Prairie” last night …

By SPN Team / September 21, 2012

… and, yes, we got a good chuckle out of it, just as many other Prairie people seem to have.
As “The Office” opened its ninth and final season last night, viewers of the sitcom were brought up to speed with a rundown of how the show’s characters spent their summers. As you can see in the video above (cued up to about 30 seconds before the Silicon Prairie mention), Ryan Howard …

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Mars Cafe reopens Saturday

By SPN Team / September 14, 2012

The reopening of a coffee shop isn’t something you expect to read about on Silicon Prairie News, but today we’ve made an exception: Mars Cafe is back.

The coffee shop located near Drake University was a favorite among Des Moines’ creative class from the time it opened in 2006 until it closed last month. A group of Mars regulars purchased the establishment a few weeks ago and have scheduled its grand reopening Saturday. …

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A (belated) midyear look at the “10 Silicon Prairie startups to watch”

By SPN Team / August 9, 2012

One counts McDonald’s among its account holders, another carries recognition from the SXSW Interactive Awards and another had its product featured on the PBS News Hour. Seven months ago, none of these milestones had been achieved, but we’ve seen quick progress and achievements.

In January, I presented a list of 10 Silicon Prairie companies that I deemed “startups to watch in 2012.” My reasons for choosing the 10 ranged from experienced …

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So, who’s moving to Kansas City?

By SPN Newsroom / July 26, 2012

In an interview today, Zaarly founder Bo Fishback said Google Fiber will “kickstart a wave of new startup energy and activity” in Kansas City’s startup community. On Twitter, it appears it’s begun.

Though not specifically “startup energy,” a Twitter search for “#GoogleFiber AND ‘move’ ” turns up …

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Straight outta Fayetteville: Thoughts from a startup tour through “NWA”

By SPN Newsroom / July 19, 2012

One of the most underappreciated aspects of working online is that fact that you can set up anywhere. I choose to work from downtown Des Moines most of the time, but for a few days last week I found myself in Northwest Arkansas (colloquially “NWA”).

While there visiting my parents, I took the chance to get a glimpse of the Natural State’s startup community. I started by picking what looked like a cool local coffee shop in Fayetteville (which I found out …

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Revisiting the question of who’s the No. 2 startup in Des Moines

By SPN Newsroom / July 12, 2012

Last December, I wrote a post asking “Who’s the No. 2 startup in Des Moines?”
In that post, I shared the results of an informal (and unscientific) poll that I conducted around the community to seek out which companies were the “top startups.” While Dwolla was a unanimous selection at No. 1, there was no consensus on No. 2 or even what makes for a “top startup.” The folks I talked to clearly felt like Dwolla was doing the correct things to be at the top even though most people didn’t necessarily have a concrete opinion on what those “things” were. It seemed it was Dwolla and then everyone else.

Fast forward to today, and progress within the local startup scene has helped bring greater clarity to the question I posed in December. Rather than defaulting to one company to characterize the startup …

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Five key points from the Silicon Prairie Stories panel at TechWeek

By Jeff Slobotski / June 28, 2012

I participated Monday in a Chicago TechWeek panel titled “Stories from the Silicon Prairie: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Outside of the Valley.” I was joined by Naithan Jones of AgLocal, Thad Langford of Open Air Equity Partners, Ben Milne of Dwolla and Greg Kratofil of Polsinelli Shughart, who served as our panel’s moderator. This was the first time that most of us had presented on the same panel, and I was interested in hearing stories …

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Congratulations to Slowdown on five amazing years

By Jeff Slobotski / June 11, 2012

It’s hard to believe but Saddle Creek Records’ physical manifestation, Slowdown, in Omaha’s North Downtown district just turned five years old.

Slowdown began in 2000 as an idea to start a rock venue, the club’s website explains. Jason Kulbel and Robb Nansel first sought to renovate a space in downtown Omaha to give the city a music venue they felt it needed. The venue, which turned out to be new development, opened in June 2007. …

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Four years in, reflecting on the Big Omaha community

By Jeff Slobotski / May 7, 2012

It’s hard to believe that we’re days away from the fourth year of Big Omaha. It seems like just yesterday we were debating about hosting an event, fondly something similar to an “Omaha Web 2.0 / Social Media” conference.

I for one am glad that we decided on the name “Big Omaha” instead of the “Web 2.0 Conference in Omaha” as the event is so much more than just the latest trends or predictions …

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