Some call it “flyover country.” Being a West Coast dweller, I’ll admit I was one of those people until recently. But with the rapid growth of Pramata’s Kansas City office, I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time in the City of Fountains, and to my fellow “flyovers” I want to say, it’s time you came in for a landing.
These days you can hardly open your newsfeed without seeing the buzz about a booming Midwest tech community with Kansas City at the forefront. I’m thrilled that Pramata is part of that boom—not only because of the incredibly talented team we’re building in KC but selfishly, because I get to explore this fantastic town. Every time I return, I find another reason to ❤ KC. As of today, here are my top 10:
- Old tech meets new tech. On a recent visit, I spotted a cargo train, the rails cutting across the Missouri/Kansas state line. On board? Giant wind turbine blades, no doubt heading toward central Kansas—an area thriving with wind farms. It was surreal watching this timeworn train transporting modern energy technology. KC is filled with these examples of technology’s history and future intersecting.
- Shopping the Plaza. It’s been called the Rodeo Drive of the Midwest, but the Country Club Plaza has a sophisticated, small town feel all its own. Where else I can stroll among designer stores like Kate Spade, Sephora and Sur La Table while making my way to a gourmet … BBQ dinner?
- Which brings me to FOOD! If there’s one thing Kansas City has down pat, it’s comfort food with flair. And there are few things more comforting than a saucy plate of smoky BBQ from local favorites Joe’s Kansas City, Fiorella’s Jack Stack and the most recent addition to the scene, hip Q39. Trust me, I’ve done the research, and I have two words for you, “burnt ends.”
- Soccer Capital of America. Anyone who follows my Twitter account knows my proud soccer mom status and my love for the sport. Hometown MLS champions Sporting KC have put soccer on the map—literally—with insanely talented players and some of the most diehard fans I’ve ever seen, known ominously as the Cauldron.
- That Midwest hospitality. I’ve traveled to a lot of places in my time, and I’ve encountered nice people in them all. But in KC, that neighborly nature is everywhere you turn. Passersby smile or say hello, holding doors for people is habit and offering a helping hand is simply “the right thing to do.”
- The P&L. The nexus for KC’s huge downtown revitalization initiative is the place to go for that urban nightlife experience. The Power & Light District (or P&L, for short) feels akin to Austin or Nashville with its own outdoor concert venue and the nationally known Sprint Center arena right next door.
- Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. I would never have expected a center for the arts designed by internationally renowned architect Moshe Safdie right here in the heart of America, but it’s here and it’s breathtaking. You can’t help but see some similarities to the Sydney Opera House, and its distinctive impression on both the KC skyline and the national arts community is just as dramatic.
- Entrepreneurs grow here. I already mentioned KC’s thriving tech scene, but start-ups of all walks call this city home. With every visit I see a new locally-sourced eatery, craft beer brewery or chic boutique popping up. Midwest ingenuity and work ethic are alive and well, and it shows.
- Crossroads Arts District. Eclectic. Creative. Progressive. So many words to describe this awesome, re-energized area of the city. Everywhere you look, old has become new again. Warehouses transformed into art galleries and ad agencies. Coffeehouses turned networking hubs and brimming with virtual workers.
- Pramata. I’ve saved the best for last! Our KC office, located in the Crossroads, has a bird’s eye view of the city and puts us within a quick streetcar ride to all the downtown action. You might think it surprising that a Silicon Valley-based technology company would put down roots here, but our leaders have Midwest values in their blood. Our CEO Praful Saklani hails from Minneapolis and our Chief Product Officer, Justin Schweisberger, grew up playing football and basketball right here in Kansas City before heading to Harvard, San Francisco and then back to his homeland Kansas City.
After exploring all this city has to offer—and I haven’t even seen it all yet—I can’t imagine a more perfect place for Pramata to land and expand. My advice to customers, colleagues and friends? Next time you’re making the trek from coast to coast, don’t be so quick to dodge a layover in KC. You never know what new gem you’ll uncover. And if you do, let me know what I’m missing!