When we first created nibletz.com “The Voice Of Startups Everywhere Else” people thought we were nuts, “no one cares about startups in Bozeman Montana” they would say. Well there was a guy, one we eventually met, that was making news out of startups in Omaha, and Lincoln Nebraska and eventually Kansas, and Iowa too.
Jeff Slobotski was a making a name for himself, right where innovation was happening in the middle of country. His news site, that co-founder Dusty Davidson helped create, Silicon Prairie News, was keeping track of the heartbeat of America. Silicon Prairie News, affectionately known as SPN, weaved their way into every relevant startup community. They had their pulse on the ups, downs and all arounds of starting up.
Slobotski and company turned that online site into off-line events in their BIG conference series. The conference series ended up being three of the biggest must attend startup events outside of Silicon Valley and New York (outside of Everywhere Else and hcon) Big Omaha, Big Kansas City and Thinc Iowa were fixtures across the landscape known as The Silicon Prairie and the SPN team delivered year after year.
SPN was built on a very active newsroom of sorts gathering the stories of these startups in this vibrant community by people thoroughly entrenched in the community. They ran the SPN site full time and you could see a handful of stories daily.
On December 18th 2014 SPN referenced something big with their lawyers and that they were taking time off to be with families. That’s totally understandable. Then on January 12th it was announced that they had been acquired. On both February 4th and February 10th the new regime at SPN said they would be back soon and Monday they were back… sort of.
SPN’s new Managing Editor, who Ryan Pendell penned a post on Monday that said they were back without any other startup news. He was a bit guarded and coded in his post and promptly called out in the comments. Pendell has no startup experience to speak of but he’s taking as many coffee appointments as he can get.
On Tuesday Pendell penned a post about local startup accelerator Straight Shot and that was it. We’re anxious to see what they come up with next. SPN used to be a great source for content for Nibletz in version 1.0. Nibletz is now in version 3.0 and that’s the way it’s going to stay (more on that later).
The past several months have seen Southern Alpha acquired, SPN acquired, and Nibletz acquired, and then acquired again. The true authenticity in each of these sites as that they are or were startups themselves. None of them are like a magazine or newspaper newsroom where it doesn’t matter who’s at the helm.
No one is going to care about Southern Alpha as much as Kelly Boothe and Walker Duncan. Nobody is going to cover startups everywhere else like, well the Nibletz team, is it believable that Pendell will do a better job or as good a job as Slobotski and Davidson.
For now let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Pendell does have credentials as a writer, but Slobotski and Davidson have BIG shoes to fill. And if you guys ever want to sell we’d love to buy it.