Tony: That Kansas City Internet Boom that Never Happened

Despite the techy hype local media outlets have bestowed on everyone under the age of 50 who uses a computer in their job, the Kansas City Internet Boom is nothing more than urban legend.

Sure, there’s an illusion that has been carefully crafted by reporters and dating sites that KC is the tech hub of the Midwest, but classic start up ventures which have defined the Internet progress in other places like Silicon Valley and NYC’s Silicon Alley are pretty much non-existent in the metro. Yes, the Office Port is full of people spending their parents money but just ask a few questions and it will become apparent that running PR online is not really a technology play.

There is one exception. More than any other techie company in Kansas City Spiral 16 has epitomized this town’s lack of a real Internet boom. Recently, I had a chance to talk with two former employees and associates who reveal a lot about their experience with the biz.

“I’m so glad I’m out of there,” one former employee told me at a recent biz conference I attended at The Uptown Theater. “It was a nightmare and during my last weeks of working there things were really desperate.”

Just today I ran into another associate of the place and he revealed his opinions about the place after his departure. “They’re nice enough people but they took on a real risk by developing a high end and expensive product.”

His comment points to the crux of some complaints I’ve heard about S16. At first I thought they were just another lame advertising company but in reality they’re developers of a product/service amalgamation that retails for big bucks. Problem is, I’ve read through their site and I still don’t see how it’s any better than just signing up for Google Alerts which is currently free.

On the bright side, the company has hired a new CEO who just might be able to explain what it is the company does other than go through an awful lot of employees very quickly.

In the meantime, I’m actually hoping this company will see brighter days because so far The Internet in KC Proper is mostly for looking at porn with very few business opportunities other than hookups with fat chicks.

Tony Botello

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6 Responses to Tony: That Kansas City Internet Boom that Never Happened

  1. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Anderson
    Much too pessimistic. True, most of the development is in Johnson County but KC has some companies worth highlighting like MK-12.

  2. Anonymous says:

    tony…kc has some incredible companies in the
    internet area…
    adknowledge…local guy started it…all over
    the world now….
    there are others..its just a risky business
    right now and since start up venture capital
    has really dried up its hard to get one
    up and running.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Two disgruntled former employees from a strip mall marketing company in JoCo is news?

    Spiral 16 is a pretty good company. I have talked with them in the past and worked with them tangentially on a few projects. They’re offering much more than google alerts. Their analytics are good. Spark wasn’t really developed for the purposes they use it for now, but they’ve done a good job marketing it as a valuable service.

    There are some truly horrible interactive “agencies” in this city (one in Corporate Woods comes to mind) – taking a shot at Spiral 16 based on vague quotes from two former employees is weak shit Tony.

  4. Anonymous says:

    There is a lot of big business happening in the tech sector in Kansas City, especially in the web space. Local firm VML just landed Gatorade as one of their clients and has many other big name clients as well like coca-cola and southwest airlines. Many smalled interactive marketing agencies are hiring as well as doing quite well for themselves. Beyond that companies like Garmin and Cerner are still hiring to boot. I would venture to guess that the tech industry is one of the bestto get into in the city. Don’t believe me? Put out a bogus resume on career builder for a software development job and see how many calls you get. I get calls or emails weekly about open positions from spots all over the metro, including KC proper. The industry is so big that there is even a booming cottage industry just focusing on finding qualified talent and linking them up with good positions.

    In any case, what gives you any credibility on this topic at all besides the fact that you talked to a couple of spurned employees from 1 company? This is why ‘new media’ has such little credibility. You’re basically just spewing uninformed gossip.

    Let’s put it this way; everybody I know in the industry who wants a job has a job, and there is a lot of opportunity for advancement. How’s the posting smutty pictures of chicks in thongs while whining about PLD dress codes business going for you, by the way?

  5. Anonymous says:

    VML is advertising not tech.

    But Tony is all about gossip.


  6. Anonymous says:

    It’s advertising but it’s an interactive marketing agency. They hire a fleet of web developers to make all of that happen. So it’s advertising and tech. The tech people are the ones who actually deliver the product.

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