Tagged: Des Moines

The Roll-on Butter Story

Josh_Fleming_Roll_On_ButterThe Business Record gives all Forty Under 40 honorees a list of about 10 questions, Miss America style, that honorees may be asked upon receiving their award.

And I felt like I was prepared for all of them.

So as we’re standing in line waiting to enter the ballroom, fellow honoree, Lindsay Alderman tells me “If I get the passion question, I’m going to tell people I am passionate about passion.

I smiled.

Then I cried a little bit inside.

Because that was my answer. Passionate people make everything better and that was the way I was going to go with my answer. I didn’t think much of it at the moment, given that there was really only a 10% chance I would be asked that.

So you can guess what happened next. I get asked, “Josh, what are you most passionate about?” I took four really slow steps to the microphone trying to plot out my answer. I’m passionate about a lot of things but what could possibly trump passion?

I had an answer.

I’m going with this.

Big Ideas.” I said. “For example, I have this crazy idea for a roll-on butter product. Imagine butter in a deodorant stick and you roll it on corn cobs.” I said, making hand gestures indicating how this would work. “But the problem is that if you use it on toast, the bread crumbs get stuck on the butter and everything gets messy.

Did I just say that out loud?

I got more laughs than I anticipated. But laughs were what I was aiming for.

I think.

So there I was in front of 450 of Des Moines brightest minds hyping roll-on butter. At least I had a captive audience.

I went on to make some sense of it all.

I think.

“My ideas make people uncomfortable. Sharing your ideas with others who can make them better allows a good idea to become a great idea. Big ideas can change the world.

Or something like that.

And I supposed I gave this answer because I have always been full of big ideas, many of them bad. But in having the bravery to share my ideas, even the ridiculous ideas, a lot of people more talented than I am have made those good ideas – great. And if only 10% of your ideas are good, you might as well give people ten of them and see what sticks.

In 2010, the startup I co-created, vineme.com. It started as Tony Muse’s IDEA of photos on a timeline. I took that IDEA and ran with strategy. Ben Milne gave us validation of the IDEA. Chris Taulborg took all those IDEAS and built arguably the most beautiful website I’ve ever been a part of. And I’ve created more than a few.

Big ideas can change the world.

Now pass the roll-on-butter.

How To Network In Des Moines

That title seems a little off. This isn’t a guide book, as there is no single way to go about networking in Des Moines, or in any town for that matter. So I’ll just say that these are  suggestions.

It seems like I’m often asked for recommendations on how to network in Des Moines. Mostly a combination of college students and job seekers looking for ways to be discovered and be a part of this awesome community.

And while my efforts tend to lean towards marketing related events and people, there is a ton of overlap that you may find valuable.

Organizations that consistently offer networking value: 

American Marketing Association – http://www.amaiowa.com/
Social Media Club Des Moines – http://smcdsm.ning.com/
Young Professionals Connection – http://www.ypcdsm.com/

News / Personalities You Should Read / Know

I can’t possibly list them all, so I will list the ones I know and that I know are accessible with a little effort.

Silicon Prairie News – Geoff Wood runs the show out of Des Moines and if you are interest in ANYTHING startup in Des Moines, this is the first place to start. Check out Prairie Cast every Tuesday at 2 p.m. with Wood and his Staff Ninja side kick Andy Brudtkuhl. Not to mention, SPN is always hosting networking events of their own. Everything from Big Omaha, Thinc Iowa and Startup Drinks. If you pay attention, its hard to miss.

Adam Belz is a business reporter for the Des Moines Register and has a pretty good pulse on the Des Moines scene. His Opening Belz email is a must read every morning. Here’s the Register’s Central Iowa Networking page. 

Kyle Oppenhuizen is a reporter for The Business Record. I make sure I read everything he writes in every weekly issue.

Des Moines Twitter Community

If you want to network in Des Moines you have to be on Twitter. There really isn’t a choice. And you can’t just be on Twitter, you must engage.

Here are a few solid Des Moines tweeps lists.


And while you’re at it, follow me @joshfleming or @admavericks.


Almost too many to list without leaving great ones off the list. So, do yourself a favor and plow into those Twitter lists and discover blogs for yourself. If you find one you like, let them know!

And if you are looking to reach more people than networking events and through Twitter start your own blog. It doesn’t matter if you think you don’t have anything to say. You do, you just don’t know it yet. Go out and experience something then write about it. Building your online brand starts and ends with you.

Hope this information was helpful, and if there are things you’d like me to to add to this list just let me know in the comments section, or at that next networking event.





Des Moines Social Czar – All I Want for Christmas

I have two requests this Christmas. I think they are both manageable.

The context you seek is here.

Please vote for my dumb ass here.

And introducing my new campaign poster. Giddy up!

Des Moines Social Czar – Dream-Working

What have I gotten myself into? How about the chance to act like a complete moron for my favorite charity? True story. I am both honored and bewildered that the Des Moines Social Club has asked me to participate in the contest to become Des Moines’ Social Czar.

Turns out, you don’t have to be a scenester after 6 p.m. or stay awake past 10 p.m. on a school night to be considered for the award..and for that, I thank them.

They are widdling the field from ten, to five finalists and I’ll need your vote to make the top five in a Bash to be held on New Years Eve. If you are so inclined, you can vote for me here. 

So, here’s the pitch…

As many of you know, my daughter was born with a birth defect in her right eye. Because of this, my wife and I have supported Prevent Blindness Iowa (PBI) for almost a decade and I have served as a board member for the last two years.

PBI’s mission is to prevent blindness and preserve site. PBI does a ton of great work, but my true passion with the organization is their vision screening of almost 20,000 Iowa children every year. These screenings identify vision problems that a lot of parents never knew their children had. Catching these problems early allows for better results to maintain vision and prevent problems like lazy eye (which my daughter also suffers from.)

I encourage you to learn more about PBI on their Website or watch this video I helped them put together.

Thanks for stopping by, and my apologies for acting like a complete moron – this is for a good cause! So if you’re so inclined, rock the vote here.