They’re the People That You Meet Each Day.

I spied him over the top of my monitor. He’d walked in well enough, but I could tell by his confused look that he had no idea what to do now that he was inside. This happens frequently. I’d seen that befuddled look on the faces of Gangplank newcomers countless times.

As a Gangplank veteran, I consider it my duty to make visitors feel welcome. Plus, I needed a break from writing marketing copy.

“Today’s subject is Software-defined Networking, boys and girls!” I’d loudly announced to the 15 odd entrepreneurs working out of Gangplank as I arrived earlier. (The crowd had returned my excitement with odd looks and loud groans.)

“Hi, how’s it going?” I asked as I rose from behind my monitor and walked towards the visitor. Perhaps he was an entrepreneur, looking for a home.

He tells me his name, Todd. He wants to know how much is it to use a computer here. He’d like to download a large file that someone sent him via email.

“You don’t pay anything to use the facilities here,” I tell him. “At least not monetarily.”

His confused look returns.

“Walk with me,” I tell him, laughing to myself. “We’ll get you squared away.”

We walk past the hot desks, large tables with office chairs where anyone who wants to can come in, set up a laptop and get some work done.

“There’s no charge here,” I repeat as we walk. “Because payment is in social capital.”

“Uhhhhhhhh-huh,” he says, in that tone that says “I have no idea what you are saying.”

We walk past the 3D printers that line the back half of the main Gangplank workspace. I continue giving Todd an introduction.

“Basically, if you find Gangplank is a space you like working from, and the people here a community you find valuable, all that is asked to use Gangplank’s resources is that you find a way to contribute something back. What you contribute is up to you.”

He’s not from around here, he says. He’s passing through town on tour. Just wants to use a computer, “How much?” he asks.

I shake my head and chuckle.

We continue straight down the hall, past the free library, buzzing conference rooms, and podcast studio. Finally, we arrive at the Gangplank computer lab. He seems a very nice guy, about 50 years old I’d guess, wearing glasses, a gently worn pair of blue jeans, and respectable short sleeved dress shirt.

I help him log on to one of the eight iMac computers in the lab, all freely available to the public. I make small talk while he accesses his email.

“So what is this file?”

“It’s a pilot for a TV show that I’m in. ” he says.

“Uhhhhh-huh” I say using the same tone he had earlier. An actor, just about to make his big break. Yeah, right.

Todd downloads the video. Over the next 45 minutes I am amazed and delighted at his talent. As we watch, we talk about life, swap stories about our kids, and generally just get to be pals.

The people you meet at Gangplank are random and diverse – and always interesting. I love this place.

Todd Oliver, nationally known comedian, ventriloquist, and past performer on America’s Got Talent.

Novel Critique Group: First Meeting Report

The first meeting of the Novel Critique group was a great success. In it, we defined the terms the group. We covered the difference between a critique and criticism, as well as discussing the submission guidelines and methods. Our group will be using a Google Drive folder to share files, allowing both Word and Google Doc file formats.

We had five people at our group, and we are eager to see how the group grows. Our group size will be limited by the total word count submitted. For now, we will be working under the guidelines for the Aspiring Novelists, limiting submissions to 5000 words, and a total word count of no more than 40K words for each meeting.

We look forward to our next meeting, on March 31st.
For more details, or if you want to join the group, contact David at: david@grendelmen.com

Community Meeting Notes, July 29, 2014

The overall topic of today’s meeting was identifying opportunities we have to improve ourselves in a big way. In the process of discussing these items, we touched on many issues. The discussion was disorganized and bounced around a lot, but I’ve loosely gathered some of the ideas discussed into a few points, delivered here in no order.

Content Creation

We identified a critical need to tell our story. Via blog posts, updated information content on our website, more podcasts, #whyGP videos, etc. “A lot of cool shit is happening here everyday, but we don’t tell others about it.” There was a challenge from Jeremy S. that everyone should write one piece of content a quarter for the space. Additionally, it was suggested that groups that host events here should be obligated to provide a blog post recapping their event as a precondition for future use. We discussed identifying major content gaps on the website, etc, and making a to-do hit list for filling it in.

260, Can We Help?

We discussed whether we in the community could help finish the 260 building. We need to reach out to Derek and Jade, who could not be present, for more info, and to see if it needs to help at all.

City Communication, Relationship

We discussed how many of us feel helpless in the run-up to our renewal with the City of Chandler, which provides major funding for our Chandler space. Beyond “telling our story” as discussed above, we committed to finding a new representative to the city from within our ranks. This person would be challenged to divide up tasks and help us better understand what we personally can do to grow our relationship with the city. To discover how this will happen, however, we also need the advice of Derek and Jade.

To-Do List/Kanban Board/Trello/Etc

GP Chandler has needs, from material needs, to content needs, to volunteer needs. We discussed ideas how we can coordinate the communicating of these needs. We discussed avoiding a physical to-do board, like the Kanban board of a few years ago. We will look into a possible online solution and get back with everyone next week.

Overall, the meeting ended with more questions than answers, but some people left after giving the commitment to find some answers by next week.

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