Help needed: a genealogy project of Iowa commerce

Jon Thompson is the founder of StickShift

Last week, I suggested leveraging a StickShift-enabled kiosk to Amanda Styron West for EntreFEST in May. We discussed the idea a bit and settled on a timeline of "Entrepreneurship in Iowa". Something that would be able to catalog not just what is going on today but what went on before us. Think of it as a genealogy project for commerce.

When did Principal start?

Younkers? Rockwell-Collins?

When did Gateway computer move out of West Des Moines?

What was the first company incorporated in Iowa?

There are interesting bits of information that could be pulled out of a timeline, if one existed. It could start with pre-colonial Native Americans and end with the current push of technological entrepreneurs. I know that’s a huge arc of history. One which I cannot create personally. Which is why I’m asking for your help. I’ve created a basic form that records information about significant events in entrepreneurship. Spend a few minutes and fill out whatever bits of information that you have. Enter your company’s information. Enter your parents’ businesses. Enter points that you find important.

The form is a very quick hack and will be replaced with something more usable later. I know that Startup Genome is tracking similar data worldwide and would love to merge the data into it at some point in the future but it doesn’t capture data that’s pertinent to the past events, so I can’t use it yet.

I’ve opened up viewing the data, as well as entry, so that others can see what has been entered. I don’t expect a lot in a month but let’s see where we are.

Jon Thompson lives in Des Moines and is the founder of StickShift and Evolve.

Photo Credit: Younkers photo via, headshot via Thompson