The Pitch Questionnaire with 1 Million Cups' Nate Olson

Olson talks about 1 Million Cups and his favorites in KC.



Name: Nate Olson

Occupation: Analyst in the Entrepreneurship Department, the Kauffman Foundation

Tell us about your work: My colleague Cameron Cushman and I share the Kansas City Entrepreneurship portfolio. Our job is to engage the community of entrepreneurs in Kansas City, create programs and events that can serve as education tools for the entrepreneurs and, it’s hoped, accelerate the growth of their companies by doing so.

Tell us about 1 Million Cups: The Kauffman Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Team developed 1 Million Cups as a way to engage Kansas City’s entrepreneurs on a weekly basis, educate the community about the great startups in Kansas City, and to accelerate the growth of these companies by doing so while building a dynamic and diverse entrepreneurial community. As a team, I think we sensed an opportunity to fill a gap in the Kansas City startup community through weekly educational programming. Two startups per week, six-minute presentations, 20 minutes of Q&A.

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

Current neighborhood: Brookside East, whoop whoop!

Who or what is your sidekick? My iPhone and my guitar. iPhone for practical reasons — it gets me through the day. But my archtop hollow-body electric is a trusted friend and brings me a lot of joy.

What career would you choose in an alternate reality? I don’t really think about this question a lot because I have a pretty awesome job. I love it. But I would be a skyliner cue Flight of the Frenchies. The quest for total mental freedom fascinates me.

What was the last local restaurant you patronized? Chai Shai on East 59th in Brookside

Where do you drink? Faucets

What’s your favorite charity? Vitamin Angels — check it out.

Favorite place to spend your paycheck: Southwest Airlines — when you got to get away.

What local phenomenon do you think is overrated? The Pitch (sarcasm) and the entire Power & Light District with exception to the Cigar Box (if that counts).

Where do you like to take out-of-town guests? The Power & Light District (whoa, sarcasm again). After barbecue, the Mutual Musicians Foundation, the Nelson, Westport, Brookside and the WWI Museum.

Finish this sentence: “Other than the Kauffman Center, Kansas City got it right when ... ” Working together to bring Google Fiber to 
Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas.

“Kansas City screwed up when it ... ” Picked yellow and red for the Chiefs’ colors. Objectively, these are terrible colors together.

“Kansas City needs ... ” More entrepreneurs and to support the ones that we have.
“People might be surprised to know that I ... ” Speak Mandarin.

“On my day off, I like to ... ” Explore new cities through the art of power walking to music. If I’m in town, I’m probably working or dabbling on a few side projects.

“In five years, I’ll be ... ” Running my first successful company.

What TV show do you make sure you watch? I don’t watch TV anymore. I prefer to listen to podcasts like Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff You Should Know and This American Life.

____ take up a lot of space in my iTunes: Daft Punk, Digable Planets, Blues Traveler, the Decemberists, James Taylor, the Killers, Bon Iver, Trevor Hall, and Bob Marley ... a lot of Bob Marley

What movie do you watch at least once a year? It’s a Wonderful Life — every Christmas with my mom.

What local tradition do you take part in every year? I’m working on starting some of my own traditions. I really like KC Irish Fest and the American Royal.

Celebrity you’d like to ride the Mamba with at Worlds of Fun: Andy Rooney

Favorite person or thing to follow on Twitter: Marginal Revolution, @MargRev

Person or thing you find really irritating at this moment: I don’t think it is irritating me but more troubling me, about the clear digital divide in Kansas City. If you look at the Google Fiberhoods, everything east of Troost is yellow and everything west green. I’d like to see Kansas City work on bridging the clear gaps in our community.

What subscription — print, digital, etc. — do you value most? Make: magazine because it is full of creative and fun projects.

Last book you read: The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

Favorite day trip: Grove, Oklahoma, three hours south of KC. My grandparents live on Grand Lake.

What is your most embarrassing dating moment? I thought it was a date ... she didn’t.

Interesting brush with the law? I was a masked vigilante for a while ... but the character didn’t take off.

Describe a recent triumph: 1 Million Cups has been really successful. I think people vote with their feet, and they keep coming back each week.

1 Million Cups meets at 9 a.m. Wednesdays at Kauffman Labs. See for more information.

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

Add a comment