Downtown Chandler Food Drive

There are many families in Chandler who are not able to provide all of their basic needs. This is where you can help out. Our neighborhood food bank (literally they are just down the street), the Chandler Christian Community Center assists in providing food and basic needs. Gangplank Chandler and the Downtown Chandler Community Partnership are partnering to assist CCCC in collecting food and supplies this holiday season.  Please participate in the downtown Chandler food drive.

We have several CCCC boxes at Gangplank Chandler to collect donations in.

photo 93 Downtown Chandler Food Drive

Salt – Flour – Cooking Oil – Sugar
Kid-friendly soups (like chicken noodle) – Ramen noodles
Pinto Beans – Canned Meats – Pasta Sauce – Tomato Sauce
Canned Fruit – Canned Vegetables (corn, peas, green beans) – Canned Milk
Cake Mix & Frosting – Jelly – Peanut Butter – Cereal
Ready-to-eat food with pull-top lids for the homeless

Black Olives – Brown Sugar – Sugar -Butter – Cooking Oil – Eggs – Flour – Frosting – Cake Mixes – Pudding Mixes – Stuffing – Pie Shells – Ham – Turkey – Canned Corn – Canned Green Beans – Canned Pineapple – Canned Pumpkin – Canned Milk – Candied Yams – Celery – Mashed Potatoes – Chicken Broth – Gravy – Jam or Jelly – Jell-O – Macaroni Pasta – Mayonnaise – Mustard – Pickles

Diapers – Diaper Wipes – Baby Formula – Baby Food – Cleaning Supplies

Dangercast #8 – Learning Over Expertise

Derek Neighbors, Jade Meskill, and Ankit Sura discuss the Gangplank Manifesto: Learning over Expertise


Jade Meskill:  Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Dangercast, where we talk about the culture and design of Gangplank. I’m Jade Meskill.

Ankit Sura:  I’m Ankit Sura.

Derek Neighbors:  And I’m Derek Neighbors.

Jade:  Today we wanted to talk about…continuing to talk about the Gangplank manifesto. We’re up to “Learning over Expertise.”

Derek:  Do we have an expert to talk about this?

Ankit:  I’m just learning what’s happening around here.

Derek:  Perfect.

Jade:  We came up with this. We were faced with a lot of people who like to project themselves as the experts. The problem with experts is they tend to shut down conversation and exploration for other people who don’t feel that comfortable.

Just like the other values of the manifesto, it’s not that we don’t value expertise. It is very important. It’s something that we think is useful. It’s that we value learning so much more than somebody who claims to be an expert.

Derek:  A lot of it goes back to some of our work with agility and the concept of inspect and adapt. If you’re constantly challenging the status quo it means that you’re doing stuff there are no experts on. You can only be an expert on something that already exists and already has a large body of work.

If you want to do something new that nobody else has really done before, by default you can’t really be an expert because everybody is learning what that is. The second thing we wanted to push in is, a lot of times when you are exposed to something and an expert is the one teaching it to you, not only do you feel inferior, but oftentimes you will not actually learn.

You’ll take it from rote memory. “Give me the cheat sheet, I’ll just use the cheat sheet that the expert gave me,” instead of taking the time to really learn what that is and master it yourself. We wanted to reinforce that the culture we want to create is that you should always be learning.

It goes back to “Be Dangerous.” Be Dangerous is always doing stuff that is so new to you that you feel uncomfortable, that’s part of being dangerous. The only way you can do that is be in learning mode all the time. If you’re in a situation, you’re like, “I totally got this, no sweat, no problem. I’m not challenging myself.” You’re not challenging yourself, that’s the problem.

Ankit:  On this note, actually, something very interesting comes into my head. “The Learning Organization” by Peter Senge, I forgot the name.

How do we create an enterprise, an organization which is constantly learning, but coming to a space where people are working in different settings? How to facilitate learning between different people in a space requires a culture, and probably this ethos that we are emphasizing over here is trying to cultivate that. That’s how I feel.

Jade:  There is no expert of how to be in Gangplank. It’s never been done before, we’re doing new things. We have to build that into the culture. It has to be based around teaching other people to be comfortable with learning new things, or we’re never going to go anywhere.

Derek:  Some of that is part of the culture is rewarding people who learn. When people take risks and say, “I’m not the expert, but I’m willing to learn it,” we should be rewarding that. The culture should reinforce that behavior and say, “That’s good, do more of that.” We try to put things in place where we don’t hold people’s hands a lot.

When you walk into Gangplank for the first time, it’s kind of scary. You don’t know what to do. You have to learn how to go through even that process. Just to engage in Gangplank is a learning thing, and you see it in people’s eyes. They walk in the door. They look around a little bit. “Maybe I’m supposed to fill this out, maybe I’m not supposed to do this…”

But they learn, and they figure it out. It’s how do we create interactions, how do we create mindsets that propagate that? If you come in here and you’re like, “I’m the expert at this, and you should listen to me because I’m the expert,” people should reject that almost instantly, and you see that.

Jade:  And they do.

Derek:  When we see [indecipherable 04:34] speakers come in, or prisoners come in, and they come off with that ego of, “I know everything.” People round here are like, “Yeah, their ideas are tired and old. They think they know everything. Let’s move onto something more important.” Which I think is great.

Jade:  So you’re pretty new to the community and you said you’re still learning some things. How have you felt? When you walked into the Gangplank community for the first time, could you feel that learning was very important around here?

Ankit:  Let me build on what Derek just mentioned. When you go in the process of learning itself, stepping in the door, it happened with me too. I just read Gangplank, on the website, what it was. It’s a free co‑working space. I couldn’t believe it then, all the beautiful stuff that was there. I came over here and entered.

Someone walked up to me that was Brian at that time. He walked up to me, leaving his work, and said, “Are you new over here? Do you want a tour?” Gave me the feel of the space, what the space is all about. When I got the feel, and afterward they’re summarizing it with the manifesto, introducing me to what they believe in, what this is all ‑‑ why does he hear, why?

When I understood that, it just clicked. Then you just have to get to know people, introduce yourself, what you do and what they do. Learn about the people, get to know them. That’s where the relationship building process starts. Learning happens with good relationships that you’re building on.

Derek:  That’s a great point. I think one of the things that we’re building is a culture of sharing. If you see somebody struggling, the deer in the headlights, you see that, that you’re willing to help teach. If you’re going to build an organization that says we value learning, you also have to build a culture that says that we value people teaching new things.

That goes hand in hand. You see it a lot when people come in. They’ll say, “I need this.” Usually people won’t say, “I’ll give you that,” they’ll say, “I can teach you how to do that,” which is a very different thing. If you’re willing to own learning how to do it, I’ll help you. If you just want me to do it for you, I’m not really interested in that.

That is a big part of the culture and building those relationships. I think the other part of having a strong learning culture is that people understand and collect who knows what. “Hey, maybe I don’t know Spanish, but I know so‑and‑so talks Spanish. If you want to learn Spanish, you should maybe talk to so‑and‑so.”

Ankit:  Go to…


Derek:  Yeah. It fosters or propagates learning. When you do that through relationships…If Jade wants something and I know you know how to do it, and I say, “You want to learn that?” I make that introduction, Jade is more likely to teach you it because there’s a relationship there, even though maybe you two don’t know each other.

Those are all corresponding things within Gangplank. When we talk about Gangplank the collective, that’s what we’re really talking about. How do we start to connect nodes on the system? Whether they be physically in or outside of the buildings that we have, how do we connect those nodes to continue learning, and to foster even more deep connection and learning?

Ankit:  Derek, since you have been with Gangplank ‑‑ and Jade, you two have been with Gangplank for a very long time. I’m a very new person in this enormous, beautiful concept. Could you give me an idea of how the offline physical learning, physical interaction is happening and how are you building on the virtual learning, learning that’s happening in virtual spaces? What’s happening there, how are you doing that?

I see some things happening there too.

Jade:  That’s something that we still haven’t mastered. We’re definitely not experts in that area. We were very focused on the physical connections and face‑to‑face for a very long time because it is critical to building a strong community. Now we’re starting to experiment with some other ways of connecting.

Now we have multiple Gangplank locations, we have communities that are starting to be built that don’t have a physical location. We’re experimenting with a whole bunch of different ways of helping them to learn and teach each other. Really, it comes down to having presence with each other. We’re experimenting a lot in those areas.

We are learning a ton on what is working, what isn’t working. We are certainly not experts in this area, and I think some of the unique nature of Gangplank itself ‑‑ there really are no experts at all for what we’re trying to build because this is a very unique thing. To tie that back into the teaching thing, my favorite way of learning ‑‑ and I love to learn ‑‑ is by teaching people.

When you’re truly teaching, you’re not just dumping knowledge into their head. You’re exploring, together, what the possibilities are. I usually learn so much when I’m helping someone to learn something new. They’re always teaching me something.

Ankit:  That’s actually true. When someone teaches, they actually learn themselves.

Jade:  Of course. I find no better way. To really know something, I need to be able to teach it to someone.

Ankit:  You actually become better and better at it.

Jade:  Somebody who doesn’t know anything, they can ask the questions that you can’t think of any more when you think that you know something.

Derek:  Or they need it explained in a way that is difficult for you, which opens up new ways for how you think about it. I also think there’s a lot to be said on helping somebody to do something. Maybe I know how to do it, I don’t do it for them, but I have them do it and I help them do it. That tends to unlock a couple of things. It tends to unlock a better understanding.

Watching somebody else do something that I know how to do makes me understand how even I do it better, because I have to explain to them the intricacies that are committed to my memory, or my muscle reflex, that I don’t think about. You see this when a guitarist that’s really experienced teaches someone who’s not experienced.

They’re like, “Just do this.” When the person doesn’t get it, you can see their head think…


Jade:  …Just do a G‑shaped bar chord, and then blah, blah, blah….

Ankit:  This is like implicit and explicit knowledge, something, something.

Derek:  The other thing it does is it really creates a bond or connection between the teacher and the student. That bond is part of what really makes Gangplank. It builds that vulnerability and trust. It takes an enormous amount of vulnerability to say, “I don’t know to do something. I’m an infant, I don’t know to eat, I don’t know how to drink.”

Even if it’s, “I don’t know how to play guitar,” I have to admit that and say, “I’m totally at your mercy. I don’t know how to do this.” Taking that responsibility and walking in that person’s vulnerability to help show them how to do it and grow with them creates this event between the participants that then carries on to other things.

Ankit:  Gangplank is a great place to start just coming over here and learning. Learning is a lifelong process and it just goes on. This environment that I have experienced over a short period is that learning can never end, because there is so much somebody knows.

Different people know different things, and you can just go on talking about different things, learning new things, having new experiences, through other people’s experiences.

Jade:  One of the things we’ve tried to do from the very beginning is make it OK, and make it easy, to fail. That’s a fast track to learning. If I can try something and find out that it doesn’t work, I’ve learned a whole lot along that way. Now I have the confidence to try something else because I tried it and it didn’t work, but it wasn’t really that painful, right?

I failed, but now all these people know I want to do this and they’re all going to help me, teach me. I’m going to learn new things.

Derek:  The other thing, too, is it allows people to try new things. Sometimes it’s not even that I fail. I might even be doing OK at it, but it’s like, “I really thought I wanted to play guitar, and then I went to some lessons, and that’s not really want I want to do. What I really want to do is digital music and mess with things with the computer.”

It gives people that ability to not have a whole lot of pressure. When you have this expert coming up and telling you all this, and it’s all really formal, it’s a lot harder to say, “This isn’t really for me.” It’s like opening up a book, reading the first chapter, and saying, “I don’t really care for this book, but because I bought the book, I’m going to read the whole thing anyway.”


Derek:  The same thing happens when you get too formalized in learning. “I already paid for the class, I’m two classes in, I’m just going to stick it out because…Whatever.” If it’s a much more informal thing, it’s like, “That wasn’t really for me, but this other tangential thing is,” and nobody really looks down on you on it.

“Oh my gosh, you didn’t get the degree in whatever it is you were wanting to learn?” Doesn’t matter. Just move on and explore what you want to explore. That’s another part of it, is exploring. I think Gangplank creates a culture where it really encourages you to explore. I almost think of it as like temptation heaven for people that want to learn.


Derek:  There’s so much stuff going on that is interesting. You walk in here and it’s like, “But I want to learn that, and this, and I only have an hour here! How am I going to…I want to build a 3D model, I want to print, do music and I want to hear this podcast…”

Ankit:  You have to get focused, right?

Derek:  Now I have to choose, right? When my son comes here, that’s one thing he really articulates. There’s so much to do, it leaves him a hunger for “I want to come back because there’s other stuff I want to try.” If you don’t have that learning environment built in, it’s all about becoming the expert. If you don’t do that immediately it just sucks, it’s like a grind.

Jade:  We’ve been doing this for a long time and I still feel that every week. There’re still new things for me to learn, new things for me to try. It never runs out.

Ankit:  It’s fun, actually. Learning is fun.

Jade:  Great fun. I would’ve quit a long time ago if there wasn’t more opportunities to learn.

Derek:  It’s funny you say learning is fun, because I don’t know if we’ve got anything around fun in the manifesto. I don’t believe we necessarily do, but I think at least for Jade and I, learning is fun. For us, that was a big part of ‑‑ being the expert feels like the suit and tie kind of…

Jade:  It’s a burden to carry.

Derek:  It’s a burden. Learning implies when you make a mistake, nobody can criticize it because, “Hey man, I’m learning. I didn’t know any better.”


Derek:  “I’m sorry I blew up the car, I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to cross those two wires.” I think that some of the element of Gangplank’s fun is that playful curiosity of a young child learning. I think that’s in the spirit of the culture as well, is that it’s OK to play. Learning is playing and playing is learning, so play a lot.

Ankit:  That’s like being dangerous, right?

Derek:  Yeah, sure.

Jade:  Awesome. Well, that’s all the time we have. Join us again next week, when we talk about “People over Personalities.” Thanks.

play audio Dangercast #8   Learning Over Expertise

Chandler Community Meeting Notes 11-6-13

Meeting notes (from Stephanie Liebold):

If you have a topic for a community meeting that you need more time to discuss, present the topic at a meeting and then be willing to facilitate it at an upcoming meeting (we can advertise the topic if desired).

Trish is giving an hour to Gangplank Chandler projects, such as cleaning, creating flyers, etc. Tuesdays at 5pm. If she’s planning to do a particular project, she’ll post it. Everyone doesn’t need to join, but you’re welcome to join her.

The CCCC food drive is going on now. Details are on the DCCP blog.

Rock the Block is this weekend. We need volunteers to give Gangplank tours, even if you can only be here 1 hr.

Upcoming events:
Desert Code Camp’s after party will be in the Itericom space. Need keyholder to be there.
AZEC is a week from today (11/13).
We’ll do a complete move out of the space – couches, everything will be moved to back, except arcade games, which will be moved elsewhere. Breakdown for this will start at 3pm 11/12.
If you have a desk, please plan to break down then. If not, we can still use help.
Basically everything else for Weds. is cancelled. You may be able to do Hacknight after 7pm. Kevin’s improv class is still on.
Move desks will go back in the main space Weds. night in a new layout.
Francine needs extra ice chests/coolers for drinks. Please bring them Tue. (GP has some buckets, but she may need more.)
Startup weekend doesn’t require move out.

Construction on 260: We are waiting to be cleared by the city to start.

Chandler Fire Department Open House

The Chandler Fire Department is holding a free open house for the public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, at Fire Station No. 8 at 711 West Frye Road. The event is part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to educate residents about the services provided by Chandler Fire, and to share safety, fire prevention and emergency preparedness information with the public.

chandlerfire Chandler Fire Department Open House

Copyright PJ Geraghty

In addition to tours of the station, there will also be fire truck & apparatus displays and demonstrations, drowning prevention information, and children will get hands on instruction on how to get out of a smoke filled environment at the Fire Safety House display. Department mascots will also be on hand, and free balloons and fire helmets will be available for children. 

Throughout the event, Fire Department staff will be available to talk about the Crisis Response volunteer program, smoke alarm program, Fire Cadet program, and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

This open house will also feature instruction on Hands-OnlyTM CPR, which when performed by a bystander has been shown to be as effective as “conventional” CPR in emergencies that occur at home, work or in public. There are only two steps to remember: Call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

Fire Station No. 8 is located on the south side of west Frye Road between Alma School Road and Arizona Avenue. For more information about the open house, please call 480-782-2120.

The Maker Summit

logo The Maker Summit
makersummitheader The Maker Summit
The Maker Summit
You are invited to attend the inaugural Maker Summit, a gathering of like-minded community members who are actively engaged in the Phoenix Valley maker movement. Get to know other Valley leaders, educators and resources for making; make some cool take-home stuff; create a plan to build the maker community; and enjoy some tasty local catering!

Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013
8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
at the ASU Chandler Innovation Center
249 E. Chicago Street, Chandler, AZ 85225 [map]

davidlang The Maker Summit
Summit Highlights:

  • Enjoy our keynote address by renowned maker David Lang, co-founder of OpenROV, contributing editor to Make: Magazine, author of “Zero to Maker,” and 2013 TED Fellow.
  • Participate in a speed-networking activity and connect with other makers, maker space leaders and maker educators
  • Join breakout sessions that explore topics such as developing maker spaces, teaching STEM through making, how to make for a living and the economic impact of makers.
  • Engage in hands-on workshops conducted by TechShop staff to build a cool take-away
  • Be one of the first to get a sneak peek tour of the soon-to-open ASU Chandler Innovation Center, including TechShop Chandler

makersummit The Maker Summit
The first 20 registrants will receive a free signed copy of David Lang’s new book, “Zero to Maker.” Registration is $15 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch.

Register to Attend
register The Maker Summit

Space is limited, so please register as soon as possible. The registration deadline is Monday, Nov. 11.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact

Find College of Technology & Innovation on
Facebook: ASUCTI / Twitter: @ASUCTI / Instagram: ASUCTI

Social Media Boot Camp November 2, 2013

To learn more, please visit

“Social Media Bootcamp” is an immersive experience in learning and improving all areas of your social media marketing . There will be classes ranging from Intro to Twitter, G+, Linkedin, Facebook, and Youtube to classes that help you to create better content. We will also have mentors to help critique your current social media accounts and a photographer to provide head shots.

When you are not in a workshop, enjoy our drop in collaborative workspace. Bring your laptop and work on creating social media accounts, get expert feedback and critiques from fellow social media users, and develop content for your social media or just work on a project while sharing the fun collaborative atmosphere.

Please note that for the weekend, our drop-in space will be on our second floor which is unfortunately not ADA accessible.

To learn more, please visit

Episode #7 – Boldness over Assurance

Clayton Lengel-Zigich, Roy van de Water, Derek Neighbors and Jade Meskill discuss the next item in the Gangplank Manifesto: boldness over assurance.



Jade Meskill:  Hello, welcome to another episode of “The Danger Cast” where we talk about the culture and design of Gangplank. I’m Jade Meskill.

Roy van de Water:  I’m Roy van de Water.

Clayton Lengel‑Zigich:  I’m Clayton Lengel‑Zigich.

Derek Neighbors:  I’m Derek Neighbors.

Jade: We’re continuing our series and talking about the Gangplank manifesto. We are up to boldness over assurance.

Derek: I don’t know if I feel comfortable talking about this.


Jade: Let me assure you, Derek, it will be OK.

Roy: I am only participating because you said this would be good.

Clayton: Is it all right if I participate in this broadcast?

Jade: We’re demonstrating how assurance might work.

Roy: Cut all the jokes out.


Jade: Derek, you remember why this came up?

Derek: I am trying to rack my brain on this, I am not remembering an exact example or an exact reason why this came up, but I think it was more that people had scary ideas a lot, but they wouldn’t really act on them.

I think part of what Gangplank started to do was be like the teenage catalyst that like, “Hey, it’d be really cool if we lit a can of hair spray on fire.”

Roy: I did that once.

Derek: Normally, you’d think, “I wouldn’t do that, that’s dangerous,” but instead Gangplank became a place like, “Yeah, you should totally light that on fire. You should throw it.” It escalated to that…


Derek: “You know what would be cool, if we’d throw the whole propane on the fire. That would be awesome.”

Roy: Then we made it into a kid’s event.


Derek: This is kind of the one that embodies the kind of whole “be dangerous” spirit which is, it’s the thing that says, when you have something in your gut, that you totally know, “If I could do this, this would be a really big deal, and this would make a real impact.”

Then your lizard brain talks you out of it, tells you that you shouldn’t do it or that you’re not good enough to do it, that sort of thing.

What we tend to do is, we tend to go around and try to get assurance from other people that It’s going to be OK. Not until we have enough of that currency of assurance do we actually execute. This is same like, “Just go out and execute it, and if it’s a right thing, it will be awesome, if not, that’s OK. People will support you.”

It doesn’t mean be bold from like a jerk’s perspective, when you know you should be doing something, do it. Don’t be passive in doing it.

Jade: Just like be dangerous doesn’t mean jump off a cliff without a parachute. It’s about taking risks.

I remember that we’re having a lot of trouble with getting people to even show up. There was this weird resistance to, needing to be prompted a whole bunch of times, told by a whole bunch of people, to even walk in the door at Gangplank.

I think that also informed this virtue that we put out here is that, you should just be able to take the leap and just walk in. Don’t worry about it being scary, it probably is scary and that’s OK. Just do it, just get out there and try it.

Roy: That’s interesting. That’s always one of those things where I’ll like, if Gangplank costs money, it would be easier because then you are buying your assurance.

Jade: We’ve had a lot of people tell us that. If I can make some sort of transaction, it eases that tension.

Derek: I actually think that, now you kind of spark my memory a little bit. I think a lot of where this came in is, we got so many complaints when we moved the Gangplank.

Gangplank 1.0 you had the kind of Come in, there was a secretary downstairs for another business. When you came in, you are like, “Is this Gangplank?” They would say, “Oh no, they are upstairs.”

You’d come upstairs, when you open up the stairs, there were some desks right at the front of the stairs that you could kind of say, “Am I in the right place?” You could get assured twice before you engaged.

We moved into the new building, you walked into a lobby and there was no desk in the lobby, there was no receptionist in the lobby, there was nothing in the lobby.

When you walk through the lobby, you were still in this wide open space where there were no desks. It was obvious what the primary desk was. We would get complaint after complaint, “You should really put a desk up front so that people know who to talk to before they come in.”

It was a pattern that kept repeating continually, people that were in the space all the time, “That’s dumb, just come in and talk to people.” What we kept hearing was, “Because some people, they need to understand, and they need a way to interact.” We started to really talk about, “If that’s the type of person you are, Gangplank’s probably not right for you.”

I think that translated into the boldness over assurance. If you need to come in and you need to be coddled, that’s probably a deficiency in interacting with Gangplank culture that is going to hurt you long term.

Roy: And hurt Gangplank, if it’s so difficult like that.

Derek: Hurt you and hurt Gangplank where if you come in and you are going to say, “Yeah, I am going to have the confidence to walk in and own it, and deal with it and do it.” You probably are embodying that boldness of like, “I am scared crapless. I don’t know anybody here, I don’t know what I am doing here, but I am really scared but I am just going to put a smile on it and act like it doesn’t bother me.” It works out.

Jade: You know what’s funny? I still feel that way sometimes. I was away for a while and I came back and I didn’t know most of the people that were here.

I went from knowing everybody to knowing just a few people. Definitely had to re‑kick in those values, “That’s OK, I’ll just go talk to them because they’re here and they’re a part of Gangplank, too, so it will probably just work.”

Roy: They don’t want to be talked to, they probably would’ve stayed home.

Jade: Or gone somewhere else.

Derek: I think that’s translated into everything from relationships to municipalities to relationships to third parties, to starting new initiatives, you name it. That’s one of the things in community building that’s difficult.

If you are going to try new ideas that are truly new, you’re never going to get assurance. In fact, you are going to get the opposite of assurance. You are going to get people telling you, “That’s not possible, you can’t do that, that seems scary.”

Clayton: Yeah, nobody tried this before.

Derek: Right. If you don’t have boldness in what you are doing, you are never going to make it. We tell people all the time one of the ways you know you are doing good work is when people are getting mad at you. Because when you challenge the status quo and you put it in people’s face, that you are making a dent in the universe, they will attack the shit out of you.

If you’re not bold in doing that, what do you think is going to happen when you start to get attacked? You are going to fold like a two dollar Walmart chair with a 400‑pound fat lady sitting in it when they come after you. You got to have some boldness to own it.


Clayton: Just like that analogy, that was pretty bold.

Roy: Walmart chairs are even made for 400‑pound fat ladies.


Derek: Or a 400‑pound fat dude.

Jade: Don’t discriminate there.


Derek: I can say that, as a fat kid.

Jade: Another dimension to this is, we have a lot of people who are entrepreneurs, who are starting their business, trying to make it work, trying to grow.

There are different phases of their organizational life. Boldness is certainly required in that area. If you are looking for assurance, starting your own business is no way to get it.

Roy: Can you imagine being the boss of your own company, who are you going to ask for permission?


Clayton: There have been a lot of people that I have talked to that, based on their personality and the things that they enjoy, would be good fits for Gangplank. They’re very creative or they have the streak in them. I see them a lot, especially on social media. They’ll be talking about how they’re upset about work, they’re upset about this. They don’t have enough, whatever.

I’ll tell them, “Hey, you should go to Gangplank.” It’s amazing they can talk such a big game about all the stuff that they want to do. They talk the game of the status quo basher and the be dangerous stuff.

When push comes to shove, the litany of excuses comes out. “It’s too far. I don’t have the time. Who’s going to do this? Blah blah blah.” I always think that’s interesting that it’s very easy to sound especially bold but then the actual practice of being bold, that’s the part that’s impossible for some people.

Derek: They especially have no excuse because they even got a person on the inside, for them it’s safe.

Jade: Giving them assurance.

Derek: Right. They should be able…

Clayton: I worked with someone once. It was actually right after I left to come work for Integram. He was still with the old company, he hated it even more. I told him, “Hey, you’ve got to come to Gangplank. You are a designer. There are all these people you can talk to.”

He showed up, we talked for five minutes, I said, “Yeah, this is over here.” I did my best by making him feel welcome. He sat on the couch for 10 minutes and then he left.

Jade: We’ve received numerous angry emails about how “I showed up here and I sat down at a desk, nobody said a word to me, how dare you guys run an operation like this?”

Derek: I think my favorite email exchanged something like that, it kind of relates a little bit to this. I made some comments about downtown Phoenix in the state of downtown Phoenix, it upset some folks.

Somebody drove all the way from downtown Phoenix, came right up to the door of Gangplank. They took pictures of the outside of Gangplank, took pictures of the sign of Gangplank. Then they drove back all the way back to Phoenix and they wrote this blog about how horrible Gangplank was, a bunch of things about the people inside of Gangplank.

It was hilarious to have almost everybody at Gangplank call them out, “Did you really just drive 20 miles to come take a picture on the outside and not come in and talk to anybody and then say how horrible we are?”

The person, they’re human, their response back was, “I came because I wanted to talk about it but then I kind of chickened out the last minute, then I just took a picture and turned around and left.”

I think that’s the status quo, that’s what we were talking about when we were not only criticizing this particular thing. It’s also the embodiment of that’s what happens when you look for assurance and you’re not bold.

If you are really passionate about it, why wouldn’t you come in and talk about it? Because you are afraid. I think that boldness over assurance is saying, look, it’s OK to be afraid. It’s OK to want to be coddled and want to have assurance. Everybody wants that when they’re afraid.

It is the difference between walking through that fear and doing it anyways and turning around and walking away instead of entering the door. That, to me, is in a nutshell what boldness over assurance is.

It’s walking through the door when you’re scared shitless instead of turning around and going away, and making some excuse why you can’t walk through.

Roy: It’s not just about walking through the door either. It’s about everything that you do inside of the space and everything you end up doing in life.

Jade: Sure, that’s the great thing about boldness is that it’s really easy to continue being bold. The hardest part is doing that first part where you just open the door and walk in.

That’s obviously a metaphor. It’s not just about coming into a Gangplank but it’s just taking that first step down whatever trail you’ve started, continuing that momentum gets easier and easier and easier.

That would be my advice to someone who is struggling with not having boldness in their life, something scary that comes up that you think, “I don’t think I can do this.” Just do it. With practice, you’re going to get so much better and be able to not worry so much about needing that assurance.

Clayton: I found that I am really good at building up in my mind all this stuff that’s going to happen or the way interactions are going to play out. The way people are going to be and how good or smart, or whatever they are.

One thing that’s helped me is, to try and remember, just assume that I am wrong. “I think I am right about a lot of stuff, but I am going to assume that I am wrong, that everyone in Gangplank is better than me, and they won’t pay attention to me.” If I assume that I am wrong, I’ll just see what happens. That’s the same thing I think you’re making a punch in.

If you take that first step, then you can shatter all those assumptions, that whole thing you built up in your mind breaks down and now you are dealing with the reality of it and it’s a lot easier than you thought.

Jade: And it gets easier every single time that you are bold because almost every single time that you are bold, you’ll get a successful reaction. Every once in a while it will fall back, it will fail. It sucks if it’s the first time you tried, that you failed.

The nice thing is you can show up at Gangplank and I can assure you that walking inside, you are not going to fail if you talk to somebody.

Jade: Even if you fail, that boldness still lives on. You still have that success of just being bold enough to try.

Derek: I guess, if up to me, if I think of this a little like perfection. I see a lot of people that don’t ship their work, or take forever to do something because they are waiting for it to be perfect like, “Oh, if I just get this one last thing, it will be perfect.”

When we look for assurance, we are doing the same thing, we’re saying, “I am afraid of something.” If only I can be assured of this, then I would do it.

I would quit my job and go do this other thing if I could be assured that I would have health care. Well, then if somebody says, “OK great, you’ve got health work.” “Oh, well, I would also need to be assured of this.” You can continue to just say, “that if only I were assured.”

When you walk and you move into boldness, what happens is, you are not any less afraid. If I am afraid of public speaking, getting up on that stage and taking about it, I am just as afraid every single time. The difference is by acting in boldness, I start to believe that, “OK, I am just as afraid but I am able to reassure my own self much quicker because I’ve got more boldness than I have weakness.”

I think that’s one of the things people think of, “Oh, if I only get to this level, I’ll stop being afraid.” The reality is the best people in the world are still afraid at some level. I guarantee you there are major league pitchers that go out to the pitching mound and they’re still afraid. The difference is they just walk through it. They have the ability to say, “I am just going to walk through it.”

Jade: I think that wraps up our discussion on boldness over assurance. Be sure to catch us next time on The Danger Cast. Thanks.

play audio Episode #7   Boldness over Assurance

Dangercast #6 – How Gangplank Works with Municipal Governments

Roy van de Water, Derek Neighbors, Jade Meskill, and special guest Trey Keeler discuss the some common questions we get asked about how Gangplank works with municipal governments.


Jade Meskill:  Hello and welcome to the DangerCast where we talk about Gangplank culture and design. I’m Jade Meskill. Today, we have a special interview with Trey Keeler. He was asking us some common questions that we get asked about how we work with local municipal governments. We thought it would make a really great podcast so we recorded the interview. We thought our listeners would be interested in hearing some of the answers. Hope you enjoy it.

Trey Keeler:  Cool. I guess the biggest question I had for you is, I was talking to Gangplank RVA. I met with these guys at that day. I talked to a guy named David Walizer. Usually nice and I spoke to him about what Gangplank is all about. It was really awesome, because Gangplank is new to the Richmond area, so a lot of people are just kind of learning about it right now.

We’re visiting a lot of different coworking spaces because we’re doing this project on different coworking models. I spoke to him and the project that we’re working on is with an organization that has city government funding to do sort of a similar idea. At least the mission or the goals they have are very similar to sort of what Gangplank has already done.

I was kind of picking his brain and he had mentioned that Gangplank in Phoenix had some sort of relationship with the local government, or somehow interacted. I don’t know at what levels.

Derek:  Yes.

Trey:  That’s why I was calling you guys to figure out how that works and how that all started.

Derek:  Yes, perfect. So, I think there’s a couple of different ways that we’ve done Gangplanks. Maybe I’ll just go over those, and one of the second two would probably be one that would be applicable to what you’re talking about from a government relationship perspective.

The first way was the way that Gangplank was originally funded, which was really the altruistic model or the benefactor model. Where a company has extra space or extra resources and really wants to invest in their community. So they give time, and/or space, or resources to the community and say, implement a Gangplank in our space. I think that’s the current model that Richmond is going under. They have a provider, a space, a company that’s got some extra spaces letting them use that space in exchange for being around smart, creative people.

The second model that we operate under is doing a service‑based agreement with a municipality of some kind where we provide a number of services. It’s a service contract just as any other service provider would do. They then would pay us for those services. Those services would be put directly back into the Gangplank in that location. So, what normally happens there is a number of services are created in a contract that says we will deliver these 20 services or these 50 services.

A lot of those services are the things that Gangplank natively provides whether that be brown bags, entrepreneurship programs, coworking space, maker space, all of those type of things. Then, the funding that is created goes back to basically pay for the rent, the Internet, the electricity. And then, what we do is we basically give all of the resources away at no monetary cost, but the people that participate in the programming, we ask that they give back through social capital to basically provide the services that we’re under contract for.

So it’s like the city kicks‑starts or the municipality kicks‑starts the program by providing the building, and in exchange for that building they get a bunch of services back. And what happens is all of the programming is provided by the people who are freely partaking in the services, right?

So, instead of charging for those services, we say the only way you can pay for them with is your time, which actually connects people back more deeply that of the community which is kind of the whole goal, is to basically jumpstart communities.

Trey:  Exactly, so in the past when you were talking about the city or the municipality paying for services. Traditionally, that has been through allowing you the use of the space or building, or has it actually been monetary?

Derek:  So, the second way that I was talking about just now was that’s through monetary. Maybe the municipality doesn’t have an existing structure, or an existing building that they can put a Gangplank in, but they do have budget. So what they’ll do is they’ll say, “Hey, we’ll allot this budget, and the budget is pretty much magically equal to the amount that it costs to rent a space, and to provide electricity for a space, and provide Internet for a space, and in return we get these services.”

The third model that we have is a model where a municipality or a government organization actually has physical space, where they own the space. They say, “Hey, for a dollar‑a‑year rent, or a dollar‑a‑month rent, what we would like to do is provide you this space, we’ll provide you the electricity, the maintenance, the physical property to basically run your programming out. And in return, you’ll offer these services for us.”

When it comes to working with local government, we can do it either one of those ways. We can either do it as a you don’t have a space and you’re providing funding, and we take that funding and we basically rent the space with that funding. Or, if you have physical property we can just do it in exchange for that physical property. We do it both ways.

Trey:  I guess the case I’m working on that is a organization that has the physical space and probably lacks the resources and the human capital.

Derek:  Right, so that’s perfect for Gangplank. That’s what it’s made for.

Trey:  So in a case like that, how do you guys keep the culture of Gangplank a Gangplank, and how does the municipality feel like they’re actually benefiting from it? Cause municipalities as always like to take credit for things and kind of toot their own horn. How do you sort of create that balance?

Derek:  I think that’s the beautiful thing in Gangplank. One of the things that cities really struggle with is being dangerous, right? Like they have to do everything by the book which is totally anti‑entrepreneurial, totally anti‑place making, What happens is we enter into a relationship where pretty much they’re able to say Gangplank go do the stuff we’re not necessarily allowed to do, or that our PR is not necessarily comfortable doing, and if it works and it’s awesome, we’re going to share in the credit.

We’re going to say, “Hey, we fund that. We do that. That’s part of us. Aren’t we cool?” And if it’s something where it’s like, “Oh, I don’t know. That’s a little too dangerous for us.”

They can easily go, “Oh, that’s those Gangplank people that’s not a city thing.” It kind of gives, especially politicians, it gives them a way to adopt the wins, and distance themselves from the things that are maybe scary to them.

What we find more often than not, maybe they don’t embrace something because it’s scary but it actually turns into a win and they adopt it after the fact. For us, we don’t care. It doesn’t matter to us. We just want good stuff to happen in the community. We don’t care who gets credit for it. I think that that is one of the biggest benefits that we give cities, is we give them an ability to be like a startup without having to go through like a bunch of pomp and circumstance every time they want to do anything.

Trey:  Very cool. So you guys I guess are on paper more or less a tenant and then if things work out beneficially for the city then they can sort of jump in.

Derek:  Yeah, we’re a service provider. So it’s if it’s not working out they can fire us just like they can fire any other service provider.

Trey:  OK. Very cool. I guess the next question I have is that the entity that we’re working with is, when you think about the coworking, obviously people think about coders, designers, more of the creative class or I guess what popular culture decides what the creative class is. Have you guys ever worked with somebody that has a small business in the classic sense of a small business? Say somebody is a plumber, or a contractor, or somebody has an idea to sell ribs on the side of the road. Do you get to that sort of granular level or is everything have to be sort of trendy‑business business?

Jade:  [laughs] We’re not interested in being trendy at all. What we’re really interested in is that cross section of people who are creators. And that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re in the creative class, it means that they are really interested in doing things, making things happen, trying new things. Like Derek said being dangerous.

We’ve met plenty of people who are chefs, or running a restaurant, you know doing these very mundane things, but they’re doing it in very unique and interesting ways that makes them part of that Gangplank culture. You don’t have to be a hacker to be here, but somebody who probably has taken on some of the that hacker mentality and applied it to whatever it is that they’re doing, they’re going to fit in very well with the Gangplank culture.

Trey:  Cool.

Derek:  We’ve seen everything from somebody who was really inspired by Gangplank and how it works and likes the collaborative nature of it. They were really into baking cupcakes, and cakes, and pastries, and they actually went out and started the equivalent of a Gangplank that was for bakers. Where they would share kitchen time, and they would create things, and they were basically starting businesses around cooking or baking.

We’ve seen things like that launched out of Gangplank. We’ve seen one of our current companies that is in Gangplank Chandler, great example, is they’re a coffee distributor, a coffee grinder. One of the things they do is they actually are in the business of investing in coffee refineries in third world countries, teaching them how to grow coffee, process coffee, and bring it back and then distribute it here.

That’s about as non‑high tech as it gets, it’s almost farming. “Chow Locally” is sponsored out of here, which is a way to get farm to table type of stuff why that’s kind of a trendy thing that’s happening right now, it’s certainly not what I would consider your normal high‑tech artsy incubator type of stuff that’s happening.

Jade:  We have another group that’s involved in social services. They’re trying some new interesting things and they fit right in.

Trey:  Very cool, very cool. In the past the Gangplank models that have partnered with government entities, what sort of a process been you as approaching them or they approach you, and how does that relationships ever grow?

Derek:  I think to date they’ve always approached us. I think we do two things as part of that. The first thing we do is, are they a good culture fit for us, because we’re very culture‑driven. We look at cities or municipalities that will be strong partners and let us be who we are, and really jumpstart their community. So it’s usually municipalities who say, “We want something radically different and we know we can’t. We know our culture will eat us alive if we try that, but we would like to partner with you so that you can be the culture we want in our city without us having to change our entire structure.”

Which is I think is a big upside when they approach us. It means they’re ready to have those kind of conversations opposed to if we’re approaching them. I think once that’s in place, I think the next thing is we assess is the community ready for it. Meaning, do they have a community leader that’s willing to really promote and move forward, because there’s no paid positions in Gangplank. It really is like bootstrap, raw, community‑driven stuff.

Do you have people that are hungry enough to build a city and build a community within a city that they’ll invest their time in doing it? If they have those two things, it’s usually pretty easy. We’ve done this enough times that we’ve got boiler stuff that’s city‑approved. Multiple cities have done it, so we can usually give that to a legal team and say, “Here’s a start point, mark it up. However, you need it to be to fit with your organization.”

We can usually put them in a touch with a number of mayors, council members, and economic developers, at places that we’re at who they can talk to and get their questions answered at a very real level. I think, once the matchmaking part is done, the execution of it is usually pretty easy to do.

Trey:  Very cool. What city, what Gangplanks are using this sort of private/public partnership right now?

Derek:  Avondale and City of Chandler are currently using this model.

Jade:  There’s a couple others exploring, they’re in the early stages of going this direction.

Derek:  Yeah, our Sault, our branch in Ontario, who also is currently undergoing. They’ll probably finalize something here in the next 30 days.

Trey:  Cool. This is all really, really awesome.

play audio Dangercast #6   How Gangplank Works with Municipal Governments


Avondale, AZ

Chandler, AZ

Richmond, VA

Sault St. Marie, ON

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