City of Mesa Open Data Road Show

The City of Mesa and Code for America are hosting an Open Data regional event on September 4th. The benefits of Open Data range from enhancing government performance to increasing public participation. Show up and explore the process and outcomes of implementing data driven initiatives.

Code for America Summit 2013 Flickr   Photo Sharing  City of Mesa Open Data Road Show

In Attendance:

  • City officials who have adopted open data policies (Phoenix, Tucson)
  • Start-ups/entrepreneurs who use open data, creating new job opportunities.
  • Community groups actively developing projects that affect the city and it’s residents (eg: transit, health, park apps).
  • ASU faculty and staff researchers who benefit by and contribute to open data sets (eg: budget, water usage).
  • Citizens!

At past events people walked away energized and committed to implement new practices, host hackathons and develop community partnerships. It is an opportunity to share, ask questions and learn from other departments, partner cities, start-ups and community members.

“I thought the open data roadshow was very informative and inspirational! I thoroughly enjoyed it ” -Tony Heinrichs, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Infrastructure/Public Works, City of San Diego

Goals:

  • Bringing the best of open data practices, policies and experiences to cities.
  • Educating a government audience to the concept, values, and opportunities of open data.
  • Consulting and troubleshooting how government staff can pursue open data within their own agencies.
  • Sharing resources and best practices to support governments interested in implementing open data.

The Logistics:
Open Data Roadshow: Mesa
Thursday September 4th 8:30am – 1:00pm
Mesa Arts Center – 1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201
Free of Charge with breakfast and lunch provided!

RSVP Here:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/open-data-roadshow-mesa-tickets-12361508605

More info here:
http://opendataroadshow.com/

Gangplank Guilt-free Book Club: August Recap and September Book Announced

Did you know that Gangplank Chandler is host to a “guilt-free” book club? Guilt free means that you can (and should) participate whether you read the book or not. Discussion is always thoughtful and mind-opening and the group challenges itself with books from every genre and focus as it can. You should check it out!

August Recap

Our book for August was “The Little Prince” by Antoine De Saint-Exupery.  It was a very different book for us, the result of a desire to discuss a book from out past that touched our hearts.  We were treated to French wine, cheese, and dessert by Ann W. as we celebrated  the French-ness of the book, as well as getting back in touch with our inner child. Deconstructing a book so full of metaphors was like trying to pick up a big bowl of spilled Jello (wait, is that a metaphor or an analogy??).  Anyway, we had fun, as usual.

September’s Book

September’s book is, as we are known to do, a real departure from last month’s book.  Join us on Wednesday, September 10th at 6 PM, as we discuss Nassim Nicholas Taleb‘s newest book, “Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder.”

His general thesis of the book:

With the velocity of change it is impossible to predict if, when and how things will change.  Better, then, to create organizations and platforms that benefit from disorder and change (antifragile) than ones that are broken or made obsolete (fragile).

Taleb says, “The antifragile loves randomness and uncertainty, which also means – crucially – a love of errors, a certain class of errors. Antifragility has a singular property of allowing us to deal with the unknown, to do things without understanding them – – and do them well. Let me be more aggressive: we are largely better at doing that we are thinking, thanks to antifragility. I’d rather be dumb and anti-fragile and extremely smart and fragile, anytime.”

New York Times says, “Mr. Taleb — who has worked as a derivatives trader and quantitative analyst, and who holds the title of distinguished professor of risk engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University — writes with great certainty and vigor. At his best he serves up provocative theories that encourage us to look at the world anew. He reminds us of the limits of Enlightenment reason, goads us into thinking about why small might be less fragile than big (a rule, he implies, that applies to animals and corporations alike) and gives us a renewed appreciation of practical knowledge (of the sort possessed by engineers and entrepreneurs) as opposed to the sort of academic knowledge acquired in school.”

Also, check out his talk at an Authors at Google discussion on the book.

Remember… our book club is a guilt-free book club, so you don’t have to read the book to join in.  So, join us on Wednesday, September 10th at 6 PM, as we discuss Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s newest book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder.

RSVP on Facebook or Meetup or share the event page on your social media.

Community Meeting Notes, August 20, 2014

Some notes from this week’s Community Meeting

Restarting the Gangplank Chandler Incubator Program

Derek N. proposed we reform the Gangplank Chandler Incubator program. There is popular support for this idea. Reasons include:

  • Forming an Arizona incubator that is both unselfish and effective. Derek sees many of the local incubators take too much or lack the effectiveness Arizona needs. We already have the resources to give both!
  • Building stronger accountability in the community. By building an incubator where each business is collaboratively accountable to each other, versus to the incubator organization, they will grow stronger, faster.
  • Leverage the power of our GP mentors. Our GP mentors are awesome, but some of them are frustrated with the one-and-done way most mentees go through the program. They volunteer mentor to make a stronger AZ entrepreneurship environment, and they want more opportunity to make that happen. A formal incubator could use their experience to the maximum and give them a more rewarding reason to mentor.
  • An application process will draw greater attention to GP, helping us bring more vibrant people to the space.

Derek plans to take this discussion offline and people interested in supporting this program should reach out to him.

Snack Machine will go Bye-Bye

Jeremy S, who manages the vending at GP Chandler, announced his intent to remove the snack machine after we finish the rest of the inventory. The machine was popular at first but lost interest as people began to not trust the machine to work. With Jeremy S and team not always here, there wasn’t a good system in place to offer refunds when the machine got stuck. The machine is for sale for $60 if you want to own the nostalgic style snack machine.

Spontaneous Exploding Glass Incident

Last week on Thursday, a large glass panel shattered sometime in a two hour window between the late crew closing up on hacknight and the first co-workers arriving in the morning. Without evidence of break in and no knowledge of cause otherwise, we’ve chalked it up to spontaneous glass breakage. This will be repaired in the coming days. Thanks to Phil S. for getting quotes and acting as lead person on the repair.

250 & 260 Update

Our current Gangplank space, despite what address we advertise, is at 250 S Arizona Ave. Our building, which we share with Planet Sub and other tenants, may be up for sale soon. Derek discussed seeking out a motivated Gangplank-friendly investor to purchase the building.

Phil S. gave a verbal update on the 260 construction project. Glass windows and doors for the front were installed this week, but otherwise, we are still waiting on engineering plan updates for roofing to begin.

Bonanza Ed & GP Jr. First LEGO League Team

Bonanza Educational is sponsoring a GP Chandler (GP Jr.) based First LEGO League team. Parents with kids interested in LEGO Robotics should reach out to them for info on how to join and participate.

Going on this week

This week, the GP Health crew is taking videos of what people do “for the health of it”. The crew is recording on hacknights and Thursdays for the next few weeks. Reach out to Trudi W. for more info.

ASU and GP Chandler are co-sponsoring Brain Fair this weekend. Eileen K has helped get some significant media coverage for the event. The crew was looking for a few additional material donations. Check the GP Facebook group for more details.

Drink & Draw: Let’s Give It a Try 3rd Mondays

Drink & Draw returned to Gangplank Chandler during Creative Mondays last week. Artist Gilead led our Drink & Draw this past Monday, August 18th with a demo of animal anatomy, cats & horses. Moving forward, every third Monday at 7 PM, we’ll provide space for beginners through professionals to get together and just draw. Bring your own adult drinks or choose a softer beverage if wanted. If you’re a professional artist, please consider sharing a 20 minute or less technique demo. Next Drink & Draw is September 15, 2014, 7 PM.

Now for some pictures!

14783300790 d89145a86c z Drink & Draw: Lets Give It a Try 3rd Mondays

14783293339 4cbae2c202 z e1408756113947 Drink & Draw: Lets Give It a Try 3rd Mondays

14969628072 cce73db097 z Drink & Draw: Lets Give It a Try 3rd Mondays

14783377738 1ae9ce5dfe z Drink & Draw: Lets Give It a Try 3rd Mondays

14783378968 af8c4180b9 z e1408756101269 Drink & Draw: Lets Give It a Try 3rd Mondays

14947005336 ef22f27277 z 300x225 Drink & Draw: Lets Give It a Try 3rd Mondays

New 260 Project Laison and Update

Hey guys! I’m Phil and I’m newer to the Gangplank Chandler community. I’m most likely at GP in the evenings hacking on projects. Most recently, I’m working with Startup Weekend team SharkBite Boards to develop a line of surfer-inspired skateboards. I lived in Northern California and spent a lot of my life doing utility-related construction projects. I love Gangplank and agreed to act as the community liaison for the 260 project. I hope my construction experience will serve us well in helping to get the project finished while keeping you guys in the loop.

So here is my first update for you all:

Duane is the supervisor and he and I got to know each other this week. A lot of the project is on hold waiting on city approval for the roof and rear facade. The roof engineering has been delayed because Glacier Construction had to get a new engineer. The age of the building is making for problems getting a signature from an engineer.

This week they were working on electrical-related projects include moving conduits and lighting. A group of community members are getting together to plan low-voltage (networking, phone, etc) electrical projects in the coming weeks.

The crews saved a bunch of the aged, antique wood from demolition on Derek’s request. We got together a team this week to sort through it and save a bunch of it for future furniture and decorative projects for 260. I’d like to thank Jay, Jeff, Ita, and Noah for the huge help. Also, special thanks to my brother for lending me the truck and trailer!

We’ll need to get a little more help, because the dumpster got overfull that night and we needed to wait for it to get emptied before we could finish. Once its done, we can get the last of scrap wood loaded and I’d love some more help on that… keep you posted.

Here are some pictures from inside the project!

 New 260 Project Laison and Update

Here is a photo of the current stopping point: the roof. Boo!


 New 260 Project Laison and Update

Pictures of the antique wood slats behind recent drywall. This might be a salvage project coming up!


 New 260 Project Laison and Update

View from the mezzanine level of the building. Lots of framing progress!


 New 260 Project Laison and Update

This is one of the cool features of the building still leftover from its days as a butcher shop.

Community Meeting Notes, August 6, 2014

A majority of the discussion this week was related to the follow-up from the previous week’s meeting. A few Gangplankers met earlier this week with Derek N and Trish G. to discuss our questions and get some answers. Jeremy S. took notes and he reviewed them today. Derek N. was also on-hand to clarify.

Continuation of Discussion re: Can We Help 260?

Following our meeting with Derek and Trish this week, Phil S. will step into the role of community liaison and coordinator for the 260 construction project. His goal is to better the communication between the construction crews and GP to keep us informed and updated. He will also communicate any needs and ways we can help, which happened on Tuesday when a crew of volunteers helped salvage antique wood for furniture and decorative projects after the project is completed.

Phil will also be writing blog posts and posting pictures. This will help with the communication efforts but also help build some buzz! Derek N. warned us that the goal of the project is a certificate of occupancy and that many side projects will be left undone which we will fundraise for after we take control of the building. With a wider community buzz around the construction, our fundraising efforts will have greater support!

Continuation of Discussion re: Can We Help with our City Relationship?

Our current contract with the City of Chandler will remain active through June 2015. After that, a new contract is under consideration. Derek’s goal with the city with the new contract was to limit the metric-driven rules (eg: must have x number of y per year) and replace it with deliverable items (eg: a redesigned economic development website for Chandler). This new contract is in the works and our old one is generally considered satisfied. That said, between now and receiving the new contract, there are specific things we can do to help strengthen our presence in the city:

  • Document, document, document! We need to share (with the world) what we do! The city does follow our activities and relies on things like blog posts, tweets, and event notifications to see what is going on. Jeremy S. is setting up individuals with “contributor” author accounts on our wordpress site to welcome in more content creators. Bug Jeremy if you’d like to help.
  • GP Jr needs love. Junior Initiative has suffered from lack of support yet our current contract stipulates 10 events per year. Technically the Bonanza-sponsored free LEGO Robotics club (which has met all summer) qualifies, but we really can use more fun. Eileen K. reminded us the Brain Fair this month will also qualify. Josh S recommitted to coordinating events for GP Jr but needs help. Conversation will continue offline.
  • Support Epic-fest. Epic fest is a collaboration between the city, TechShop Chandler, Intel, DCCP, and Gangplank to bring a maker-festival to Chandler. We will need to be whole-heartedly behind it to ensure success.
  • More community liaison’s to outside groups are needed. Specifically, we need individuals to be regular representatives… merely having a GP rep a meeting is not helpful. At one time, nearly every Chandler citizen’s board had a rep from GP. Derek doesn’t feel we need to go that far, but they recommend:
    • Liaison to ASU –Jeremy S considering
    • Attendance at relevant Council Meetings
    • Arizona Business Incubator Association (Monthly call, Quarterly in-person)
    • For Our Cities, Councilmember Hartke’s project –Anne B considering
    • City of Chandler Economic Development Board
  • Nerf WW3 Heating Up

    We briefly (in-between shots fired) discussed the fun and craziness of our recent Nerf-wars. We thought it right to discuss the three rules of engagement:

    1. No modifying of darts. (Modifying guns okay).
    2. Pick up darts after the fun. Why? Darts run over by chairs are ruined, and those buggers cost money.
    3. Be respectful if someone needs to work. Even if they play most of the time, be cool if they want out of it for a while

    Otherwise, we are having fun and should make sure it stays fun. Carry on!

    Tonight is Hacknight BBQ

    The BBQ on Hacknight continues this week. Jeremy S. and Brian S. (Bonanza Educational) will be sponsoring tonight. FYI: its about $40-$50 to sponsor a BBQ with hamburgers, hotdogs, buns, and chips. If you can sponsor one or a few, that’d be awesome! Phil S. and David M. lead the hacknight and can tell you when you can sponsor.

    ImprovMania Moving in Next Door

    A group of regular Gangplankers are growing their business and moving in next door. ImprovMania will be moving into the suite 3 of 250 building, or the front-half of the old magic space. Including HiringSolved and the photographer, three of the four other tenants of the 250 building were first Gangplank-affiliated businesses.

    Janitorial FYI

    FYI: if paper towels or toilet paper run out, be a good Gangplanker and go get a roll or two of paper towels or toilet paper down the road. Ultimately, its the responsibility of the property managers to keep the shared-hallway and bathrooms cleaned and stocked up. They visit on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sat/Sun to clean and restock.

Gangplanker Profile: Kameron Williams

Hi! My name is Jason Bastian and I am a new addition to the Gangplank content team. Thank you for having me aboard and I hope I can contribute in a meaningful way. I am originally from Omaha, Nebraska, and yes I know all about cow tipping. I love writing and hope to blend my unique observations, people skills, and comedic insights into some great blogs and stories for everyone at Gangplank. I’m going to start off by profiling some of the Gangplank regulars!

First up, Kameron Williams of LilliMedia. Kameron is a big contributor to Gangplank and I was able to sit down with him one on one, see what he is all about, and what he could enlighten us on with photography. The Gangplank Photography Classes were started by Kameron and have grown into a prosperous meet up at Gangplank.

Me: Why did you get into photography?

Kameron: I got into photography because it was the best way to create an emotional connection with someone. I feel there are a lot of different mediums that people engage with, but for me personally photography is the best way to take a feeling, an event, or an occasion of that particular point in time and really preserve it and share it with someone else.

Me: How important is it, in this day and age, with video, high-speed internet, the I Max with 3-D, advanced special effects, iPads that play music videos, movies, and television shows, and even phones with video blogging capabilities, that when you have photography, you still have to appreciate that. How do you see [photography] as still an important piece of our everyday lives?

Kameron: I think that multimedia as a whole will always continue to evolve. You see, as you mentioned, these huge I Max theaters and things like that I think one very important piece of information that people forget about is a lot of movies that you watch are a conglomeration of many different images moving together, so for me, where you have all these different realms of multimedia; i.e. YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, things like that I think the epicenter, the core, the anchor that holds all these pieces together will always be photography. Whether it’s in a moving format or a still format the basic image is what we always see –the basic image is what we always identify with.

Me: Why is lighting so important [in photography] [for you]?

Kameron: For me, I believe that lighting is a large contribution to the emotional connection of the image. Whether it’s inside or outside, studio or ambient, I feel that lighting sets the tone for the way that imagery is going to be perceived. So, if you were to liken it to something else, I would say that lighting is the secret sauce of the palette of imagery and it’s what distinguishes one artist from another, or one photographer from another. As well as one feeling from another.

Me: Tell me about your company, LilliMedia.

Kameron: LilliMedia is a full service web design, web development, and interactive agency. What our focus is, what our primary function is, is that we articulate brand messages, we really show people what different brands do in order to help brands connect with different groups of people.

So, what that means for us is that we look at photography, videography, web design, web development, their marketing assets, and we carve out a road for a brand to specifically engage with a particular type of target or individual and a large portion of what we do is focused on engaging imagery, i.e. still photos to accomplish that mission or that goal.

Me: Can you predict the next phase in digital photography? Where do you see the future of photography headed?

Kameron: I think that multimedia will continue to evolve as it has. I think that photography will still be through that river of evolution. With a lot of this mobile technology coming into place, things like wearable technology, location based technology, the pace of life is always getting quicker, so people want to do less reading, more looking and just understand what something is. So, I feel that digital photography moving forward will play a paramount role in that because where you see a reduction in text and verbiage, and things like that I think that digital photography, iconography, things like embedded in small squares that we wear on our wrists and put to the sides of our faces, I think that imagery will be the primary means of human communication moving forward.

Thank you very much Kameron Williams for a wonderful and very insightful interview. Say hi to Kameron if you see him around Gangplank!

Kieran Thompson: Funding a Local Film w/ Kickstarter

Gangplank Chandler welcomed Kieran Thompson on July 28th, 2014 for our weekly Brownbag. He shared with us his personal experience with using the Kickstarter crowd-funding platform to fund the production of his local, feature film: Broken Leg.

Watch it here:

You can also follow along with Kieran’s visuals on his Kickstarter page, now over two years old.

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