Weather truly does have an impact on this city. As the cold slowly pulls back and we’re getting longer days and more light, energy is coursing through the streets again and people are outside and engaged. The result makes for a pretty exciting month. Here’s a look back on a few things that happened in April:

Ok ladies now let’s get in formation.

“I am woman, hear me roar” was one of the temporary tattoos on attendees’ arms last weekend at the third annual North Dakota’sWomen’s Startup Weekend. Four teams pitched their ideas to a panel of judges, with first place going to team “How the F,” a website that will produce quick how-to videos on life skills.

Mari Baker, a Silicon Valley exec that has been a leader at multiple companies (Intuit, BabyCenter, PlayFirst), flew from San Francisco to Fargo for the weekend as the Sunday night keynote speaker. We spoke with her about lessons she has learned as female Silicon Valley exec, and how workplaces can change to encourage more women in leadership.

The article we published on Mari Baker was also picked up by Tech.Co, in a timely manner; Bill Campbell, former CEO at Intuit and a very inspirational leader whom she mentions in the article, passed away that same week. Baker expressed her hope that the leadership principles he shared will live on. Read the article here.


Drones, so hot right now.

The drone industry is continuing to turn heads in North Dakota and across the world. People are jumping to plant a stake in market, predicted to hit $5 billion in value by 2020 — and in more ways than one.

John Vislosky is doing so through access spectrum. Drones need dedicated spectrum to fly on, and Access Spectrum is a company that has old television bandwidth that they are willing to sell.

Vislosky and Northern Plains UAS Test Site Director Bob Becklund partnered to offer dedicated spectrum to North Dakota until a buyer claims it, which is a big deal for locally based drone companies who need that private spectrum in order to fly their drones.

Access Spectrum

What’s up with higher ed?

Concordia had the big announcement of the month, with the news that they are officially bringing back a computer science program that will be open this fall. The major will focus on data anlytics and computing, and, according to Offutt School of Business Dean Doran, students are already lining up to join the major.

NDSU wrapped up their Innovation Challenge, and some of the winners took the stage at 1 Million Cups this month. One of whom, Jade Monroe with Carbon Negative, shared how they plan to turn unused land into new energy.

Another NDSU Ph.D student, Manpreet Bains, won their 3-Minute Thesis competition with his research on bacteria and their connection to the human brain. Did you know that there are just as many bacteria on your body as there are cells that make up your body? And, Bains’ research shows, the thoughts that go through our brain actually have a correlation to what our bacteria is like on our body. Crazy.

Matt Bains

The Tech World

We took a look at the world of virtual reality with Brookings based video game startup Mantis Digital Arts, weighing both the super-cool benefits of the technology as well as concerns that this could serve as an enhanced form of escapism. Right now, much remains to be seen from this emerging tech.

In a similar realm, 360 cameras have also begun to shake things up in our ability to experience reality. Local videographer Rob Burke spoke with us about the capabilities of filming with 360 cameras and some projects he has coming up using the tech.

Marlo Anderson, “The Guru of Geek,” also shared with us about 360 cameras, TVs and how they might be listening to you (seriously.) and his top ten must-have mobile apps. Check it out.

Here in Fargo, Mind Shift (formerly Specialisterne), is aiming to shift the paradigm in the tech world. They are a program that trains individuals with autism for skills in the tech world. We caught up with how this past year has been for them, and how Fargo companies have responded to the program.

Perhaps our moment of glory this past month took place in an electric car known as the Tesla. On a particularly cold day earlier this month, we had the great privilege to ride in a Tesla Model X, owned by founder Scott Bintz. Experiencing “Ludicrous Mode”, 0-60 miles per hour in under 2.9 seconds, was unforgettable — read all about it.



Emerging Prairie also reached out to North Dakota’s gubernatorial candidates to ask their opinions on entrepreneurship in the state. All three candidates, Marvin Nelson, Doug Burgum and Wayne Stenehjem, received the request; the latter two have responded so far. They were published in the order we received them:

Read Doug Burgum’s response here. Read Wayne Stenehjem’s response here.

It’s gonna be May.

Looking forward to May, we’ve got a few big events coming up — and we’re now officially on the brink of summer. TEDxFargo tickets are live, Drone Focus Con 2016 has announced a killer line up of speakers, and Fargo Prom is…next week.


Posted in

Marisa Jackels