Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kyle Rogers and James Flexman explain how the Kansas Jayhawks inspired the Knoda app

Posted By on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 7:43 AM

click to enlarge Kyle Rogers (left) and James Flexman - SABRINA STAIRES
  • Sabrina Staires
  • Kyle Rogers (left) and James Flexman

Future NBA players Nick Collison, Kirk Hinrich and Drew Gooden were just freshmen at the University of Kansas. Kyle Rogers knew that Roy Williams had something special in the three men.

"When these guys are seniors, KU is going to win a national championship," Rogers recalls telling his mother.
Rogers, 27, was almost right. The Jayhawks made it to the 2003 NCAA championship game but lost to Syracuse.

"She had no remembrance of me saying that to her," says Rogers, who wondered how he could prove it. About a decade later, Rogers believes that he has found it with Knoda, an app in which users give predictions and others vote for or against them. He and partner James Flexman, 31, quit their jobs with Sporting Innovations last year and started working full time on the app, which hit the iPhone App Store November 29. Users can also make their predictions online at knoda.com. (Knoda's Android release is slated for March.)

Occupation
Rogers: CEO of Knoda
Flexman: COO of Knoda

Twitter handle
Rogers
: @KyleR
Flexman: @PacmanJames

Hometown
Rogers: Kansas City
Flexman: Kansas City

Current neighborhood
Rogers
: Waldo, walking distance from Lew's, Remedy and Shot Stop
Flexman: Prairie Village

What I do (in 140 characters)
Rogers
: Dream up ways people can interact with predictions and spread the word about Knoda to as many as possible.
Flexman: I'm an entrepreneur. Every day is different. It's never boring and always challenging. But I love it.

What's your addiction?
Rogers
: Knoda, Twitter and sports
Flexman: Oreos. I like them ... a lot.

What's your game?
Rogers
: Soccer
Flexman: Golf. I rarely get to play, but I love it.

What's your drink?
Rogers
: Boulevard Wheat or a smooth gin and tonic
Flexman: I'm really into wine right now.

Where's dinner?
Rogers
: Any of Celina Tio's restaurants. I love both Julian and Collection. I'm looking forward to checking out the Belfry.
Flexman: Stroud's

What's on your KC postcard?
Rogers
: Union Station, the Kauffman Center, 18th and Vine, Sporting Park, Oklahoma Joe's, Knoda Tower (circa 2020)
Flexman: Oklahoma Joe's gas station
 
Finish this sentence: "Kansas City got it right when ... "
Rogers
: City leadership and private sector got together to revitalize downtown. All of today's momentum stems from that.
Flexman: Downtown got revitalized.

"Kansas City screwed up when ... "
Rogers
: They let Kauffman Stadium be renovated. Baseball should be downtown.
Flexman: Downtown didn't get a new Royals stadium.
 
"Kansas City needs ... "
Rogers
: To drop the inferiority complex and start being proud of what we have and who we are. And In-N-Out.
Flexman: Flying Burrito. Ten times better than Chipotle but the closest one is in Arkansas.

"In five years, I'll be ... "
Rogers
: Sitting in Knoda offices downtown debating the costs and benefits of going public.
Flexman: Still building cool apps/websites.
 
"I always laugh at ... "
Rogers
: The sneezing panda.
Flexman: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

"I've been known to binge-watch ... "
Rogers
: House of Cards, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead
Flexman: Football

"I can't stop listening to ... "
Rogers
: "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic, "Pompeii" by Bastille, "Do I Wanna Know?" by Arctic Monkeys
Flexman: The 1975
 
"I just read ... "
Rogers
: What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell, The Everything Store by Brad Stone, Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton
Flexman: The Racketeer by John Grisham. Need to take a break from nonfiction business/startup books from time to time.
 
The best advice I ever got
Rogers
: Never underestimate the power of dry underwear. Thanks, @MossyOakScott (Dad).
Flexman: To surround myself with people smarter than me.

Worst advice
Rogers
: You have to go to college to be successful. Not sure anyone explicitly said that to me, but you're certainly led to believe that. College has value. It can be useful, but it's not the only way.
Flexman: I'm sure I've gotten plenty of bad advice in life, but nothing too atrocious comes to mind.
 
My sidekick
Rogers
: My brother, @DrewWRogers. We live together and go pretty much everywhere together. Luckily, he likes to drive because I like to text/tweet/Knoda.
Flexman: My newest sidekick is my 2-month-old daughter, Aria.
 
My dating triumph/tragedy
Rogers
: That's classified.
Flexman: My wife, Kallie. And because of the triumph, we're lucky enough to have our daughter.

My brush with fame
Rogers
: Tweeted @Ochocinco in a chain of events that concluded with him trying out/training with Sporting KC.
Flexman: Met Britney Spears at Disney World when I was in high school.
 
My 140-character soapbox
Rogers
: Education is messed up in USA. It's too standardized and generic. Should be more analysis, less testing. Maybe someday Flex and I will tackle it.
Flexman: Just a quick thanks to the KC community. Too many to name, but everyone has been incredibly supportive throughout the journey so far.
 
What was the last thing you had to apologize for?
Rogers
: Cussing in front of my mom and grandma. Oops.
Flexman: Screaming in terror and subsequently waking up my wife after opening my 2-month-old daughter's diaper this morning.
 
Who's sorry now?
Rogers
: Still me. You should have seen Grammie's face!
Flexman: Still me. But not for waking her up. More for having witnessed it. Comes with the territory, though.
 
My recent triumph
Rogers
: Working with Flex to get Knoda off the ground and raise money to go full time. We still have a long way to go, but just getting started is an accomplishment.
Flexman: Getting Knoda to this point. Much, much more to be done, but happy to have the initial product to the market and a super-talented team in place.

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