As a lifelong resident of Minneapolis, I’m 99 percent sure I can hear you what you’re thinking, because it’s unfortunately the dominant narrative of my home city. When I say “Minneapolis,” you say “It’s cold.” Undaunted and with my head held high, I’ve become quick on the draw and well-versed in the many rejoinders to this narrative. (Also … really? We’re 5 – 10 degrees colder on average than Chicago.)
The most common Minneapolis bragging rights:
- Lakes and parks. Known as the City of Lakes, Minneapolis has 13 lakes offering dozens of miles of shoreline for biking, running, or rollerblading alongside and 94 percent of Minneapolis residents live within 10 minutes of a park.
- Minneapolis is second only to New York City in live theater seats per capita, from Tony award-winning shows at the Guthrie to Fringe Fest.
- One word: Prince. (I hope all you Gen Xers are nodding vigorously at this.) Prince is a Minneapolis legend and an enormous source of pride for Minneapolitans, especially because he stayed here after he became famous.
The story rarely told about Minneapolis is that of our rich tech community.
In DocuMNtary, filmmaker Nick Roseth interviews many of the numerous contributors, including founders, CEOs, and venture capitalists, who’ve built our thriving ecosystem of startups and early stage tech companies. To lend some context, in 2016, $215m of venture capital was invested in MN tech startups, and in 2015, $388m was invested (not to mention our forebears, including IBM and Great Plains Software, purchased by Microsoft in 2001 for $1.1b).
Minneapolis is Silicon Prairie at its best. Technologists can work in any number of amazing companies, purchase a beautiful home for $300,000, and easily afford to enjoy all the fine things the Twin Cities have to offer. I often get cover letters from Midwesterners who’ve been working in San Francisco looking to move back to be closer to family who are astonished at all the Silicon Valley-like companies, exclaiming they’d figured it would be career suicide coming here. It’s just not true! From Leadpages, to When I Work, to Kipsu, there are a plethora of thriving Minneapolis-based tech companies setting the pace in their industries.
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Though we don’t get street cred for our flourishing tech scene, talent-hungry companies have long since caught on. BuzzFeed has had a Minneapolis presence since acquiring HyperIQ in 2014 and Amazon just opened up shop here trying to entice software engineers through their sexy new building doors. As the No. 1 in Fortune 500 companies per capita, Minneapolis is swarming with talent. I know that caught your attention and, yes, single folks can and are recruited away but those with families tend to stay put (#sorrynotsorry).
With ERE being held in Minneapolis this October, what are some quick sights you should take in during a break in the action?
- A trip to the Walker Sculpture Garden, home of the iconic Cherry & Spoon
- A Surly Furious (local IPA beer) and Parmesan Tots at Hell’s Kitchen
- A stroll through our massive skyway system, landing in the Crystal Court
- A gander at the stars of First Avenue, the nightclub featured in Purple Rain (the outside of the building features stars of notable bands and acts that have performed there)
I sincerely hope you enjoy your time at ERE in Minneapolis. I know I love it here and heck, if it was good enough for Prince, it’s good enough for me.