People of the Silicon Prairie,*
It’s a sad day and one that I didn’t think would come anytime soon. However, after the company announced a new CEO on June 14 it wasn’t unexpected. When a new leader takes over an organization it’s natural to change some things up, and in this case my role as the company’s COO is one of them. To be clear, SPN isn’t forcing me to leave. Rather, my box on the new org chart just isn’t something that I can be passionate about in the way that I‘ve been passionate about building the company the last several years. I am disappointed that I won’t be part of the team as my community hosts the Silicon Prairie Awards and Big Des Moines this year (I did offer to stay on through the fall but I understand the company’s desire to move on right now). So, it’s time for both of us to look towards whatever is next.
The last four years have been some of the most fun, stressful, fulfilling, educational and rewarding of my life. SPN was the exact situation I was looking for when I moved back to Des Moines in 2009, at which time I was completing an MBA and leaving a more traditional corporate job. I wanted to find a founder who had a bold and exciting vision but needed operational help and expertise to make the most of it. SPN was a great match and I loved that the company rewarded those who took initiative and provided opportunities to grow along side of it. I had the opportunity to do pretty much everything—finance, community building, HR, sales, sales support, ad & sponsor ops, process definition company-wide, daily management of the business and more.
I’ve learned much, worked with some pretty impressive people and made so many friends through it all. Also, I think — as a team — Silicon Prairie News has been able to accomplish some really important things for and with the startup communities in Des Moines, Omaha and Kansas City.
I want to thank SPN for the opportunity to be involved these last four years and I also want to thank my fellow Iowans who embraced both me and the company along the way. Without your sponsorship of SPN, donations of time and resources, ticket purchases, and readership of the blog we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish anything.
While I’ve never considered myself a journalist, I’ve always enjoyed writing and SPN has given me the largest platform to share my work. SPN’s editors have also improved that work tremendously and for that I’m really grateful:
So the big question is “what’s next?” and honestly I’m still trying to figure it out. My wife, Hope, recently launched a law practice in Des Moines and I’m excited to help her build it (if you need legal services in Iowa - she’s pretty awesome) and a few friends have reached out with projects that they’re working on so I’ll probably start there. Long term, I’d love to find someone else who has a bold and exciting vision and needs operational help and expertise to make the most of it. If that’s you, give me a shout and let’s have coffee.
All the best,
There’s a joke in SPN’s newsroom related to my disgust with publications that use criteria-less list posts to generate page views. It’s in that spirit I couldn’t go out without writing one of my own. See my “My Top 5 favorite SPN moments”.
*hat tip to Andrew Mason