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Des Moines, Iowa
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Working on what’s next: Welch Avenue

Geoff Wood

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who has inquired about how things are going for my family and me in the transition. I’ve had calls, texts, notes, and even tweets of support from across the Midwest and many points beyond, and honestly that’s pretty awesome. I’ve probably connected with 150 or more friends and colleagues in one manner or another and it’s gotten me even more excited about what’s next in my career. You people are amazing.

“So, have you landed anywhere, yet?” 

That’s the question I’ve heard most often since I announced late last month that I was moving on from Silicon Prairie News. The answer is “no” but that doesn’t mean I’ve been idle.

In recent conversations with various people inside and outside the Iowa startup community, people kept pointing out that through my experience the past few years I’ve accumulated two things that I didn’t have when my family moved here in 2009:

  1. A knowledge base of startups and technology in Iowa
  2. A network of people across the state (and beyond) with an interest in Iowa startups

I’m really excited about finding different ways to utilize and provide benefit to these two resources moving forward. To that end, I’m launching a couple initiatives and I’m housing them in a new umbrella entity called “Welch Avenue.”*

Welch Avenue Weekly

First up is a weekly newsletter of the top news for the Iowa startup community. It’s called the Welch Avenue Weekly and you can subscribe right here. I’ve had this idea for a few months after I had a conversation with a local entrepreneur who told me he just didn’t have time to stay caught up on all the news in the community day-to-day. Rather, he just trusted that his Twitter stream would surface the best news each week. That’s a great strategy if you’re following the right people (and use Twitter) but it doesn’t work for everyone. The Welch Avenue Weekly will also surface those stories as well as add some interesting context and side notes.

Starting up a new podcast

The other initiative that I’m working on is starting up a new weekly podcast. I’m a huge podcast consumer and had so much fun co-hosting a weekly startup community-focused podcast called “PrairieCast” with my friend Andy from 2010-2012. Ever since our last show in April 2012, every few weeks I’m asked, “When is the podcast coming back?” Until now, I’ve never had a good answer.

I’ve teamed up with my friend Chris New from Quadrant5.tv and after a few planning sessions, we already have some really exciting things in the works. We can’t do this without the help and support of the community. We’re looking to validate the idea with a modest Kickstarter campaign to fund the initial run of shows.

“How can I help?” - you

Right after “So, have you landed anywhere, yet?”, the immediate next question I get from almost everyone is “How can I help?” It’s always awesome to hear, so here a few quick ways:

  1. Sign up for the Welch Avenue Weekly (free!)
  2. Back the podcast on Kickstarter (not free but very inexpensive)
  3. I’m also working ad hoc on a few project-based engagements with organizations looking for operational help. I have a lot of experience and in several areas and always up to meet new folks and learn about what they’re working on. Feel free to refer me.

*About the unconventional name: I’ve always believed in the importance of place and how that ties a person to a community. As a proud Iowan, I named the company after one of my favorite places - the Welch Avenue in Ames. Welch Avenue is at the heart of the Campustown district (adjacent to Iowa State University) and is symbolic of the time in my life when I launched my first startup, CampusAuthority. 

UPDATE:

July 30 (post edited to reflect that the Kickstarter campaign has launched).