What Vincent Learned in 3 Months While Interning at Gangplank

Guest post by: Vincent Nguyen

Gangplank is amazing not only because it allows you to avoid spending $5 at Starbucks every time you need to work with WiFi, but it’s filled with learning opportunities. You’re around people from different backgrounds (usually tech-related) and everyone is willing to help.

Not only that, but there are multiple events on a weekly basis. For example, I now know the basics of writing and publishing a press release, how to speak to clients without too much jargon, and how to build a personal brand. With an environment like Gangplank, it’s difficult to leave without having learned a thing or two.

I’ve only been going to Avondale’s Gangplank for three months now, but I’ve made my own observations over these past few months and reflected upon them. I realized there’s a lot of things I’ve learned both personally and for all things business.

I’ve seen what it’s like to work for yourself

They don’t teach you this stuff in school. People are expected to go off to a 9-5 job and come home. That’s it.

Gangplank houses several anchors, many who are working for themselves as freelancers and they’re doing a good job at it. They work where they want, when they want, and they’re happy to do it.

I’ve always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit and I know it’s a lot of heavy-lifting, so I think it’s awesome to see people who are self-sufficient and doing things they want to be doing. I’ve never heard anyone at Gangplank complain about being there. Gangplank is the office for many of the anchors. As far as I can tell, collaborative workspaces are amazing.

Working together drives more productivity than alone

I’m a person who can’t stand being in one place for too long. I think that’s part of the reason why I moved an entire state over after high school. I need change because when things are too comfortable I get bored, unmotivated, and drained.

What’s cool about Gangplank is that it’s not just a “workplace,” it’s a collaborative workspace. This means there are always different people when I step in the door on an afternoon to get my work done.

Like I said earlier, I used to spend $5 every time I wanted an environment with other people working and it was spent at Starbucks. Sure, there were conversations had and maybe I even flirted with girls on occasion, but it’s like paying for productivity.

Gangplank does it better. It has people who know what they’re doing, people of interesting background, and people who are for more than just small talk. They specialize in different fields and it just happens that many of them are related to the work I do. How cool is it to be able to socialize AND learn from other people?

I’ve been on a momentous productivity-driven slide for a while now and I thank a lot of that to Gangplank. When I have no motivation to work and get things done, I change it up to the one place I know I can focus. It’s even better that I know there is at least one person in the room who knows how to help me if I really need.

I’ve gotten different perspectives for the same topic

From professional storytellers, to graphic designers, to web designers, everyone’s got a different take on things. I’m just a lowly second-year college student with very little real world experience. What do I know?

What’s awesome is that I can take the different ideas from everyone around me, put my own spin on it, and come to an informed decision. Whether it’s on the best way to speak to a client from a business owner’s perspective or where to put certain designs of my website, there’s a large mess going on in my brain and I piece them all together.

That’s the beauty of the collaborative workspace. Where you learn personal things that tie into the business end of your world. I don’t intend on leaving Gangplank anytime soon because my brain isn’t done learning yet.

Vincent’s Bio:
Vincent Nguyen is an intern for Gangplank HQ who decided to work there because he was interested in the idea of a collaborative workspace. He is currently based out of the Gangplank Avondale location. He runs personal development blog, Self Stairway,. Follow Vincent on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+

How Do You Picture Your Summer?

Become a better photographer over the summer at Gangplank Chandler!

We all know you’ll be Instagramming your day at the beach or grilling out, so why not take your skills up a notch?

Gangplank Studios is offering a workshop for all skill levels. From intro lessons for aspiring photographers, to master tips for seasoned professionals.

How Do You Picture Your Summer runs May 29 – September 25. Students will meet Wednesdays from 6:30 – 8 p.m. at Gangplank.

2 picture your summer flyer small 1024x791 How Do You Picture Your Summer?

Instructors Kameron Williams and Andrew Ruiz are sharing their skills as part of Gangplank’s Studios Initiative.

“I’ve learned so much at Gangplank, this is my way of paying it forward,” says Williams.

As Creative Director of Lillimedia, Williams knows the importance of visuals in today’s marketplace. He also understands the hurdles.

“Photography is expensive enough, spend it where it counts, on gear. Learn for free.”

When asked about helping competitors in his field, Williams says teaching helps him grow artistically, and believes in Gangplank’s mission of collaboration over competition.

In fact, the course is designed with collaboration in mind. Each class begins with students sharing and critiquing each other’s photos. By working together, whichever skill set you’re starting from, your photography is guaranteed to jump to the next level.

The course is divided into three 6-week sections.
Section 1: How To Take a Good Photo
Section 2: Ambient vs. Studio
Section 3: Break-Away and Shoot

Students will need to use their own gear; including but not limited to a DSLR Camera, SD Card, and USB thumb drive.

Sign up here, and good summer shooting!

For more information, contact Williams at Kameron@gangplankhq.com.

Gangplank Avondale hosts WordUP AZ

wordupaz Gangplank Avondale hosts WordUP AZOn Saturday, March 16, 2013, Gangplank Avondale will host WordUP AZ, a one-day event for WordPress Developers. The event will kick off at 9:00AM and run until 3:00PM.

WordUP AZ will use the unconference format, giving attendees the opportunity to bring up topics they most want to learn about while also allowing them to share their own expertise.

This free event is open for developers of all levels. Lunch is provided.

To attend, signup at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5567101350/efbnen.

Creating the Next Generation of Web Developers

Local web developer, Dharma Kelleher will be teaching a series of courses designed for young adults and teens to learn the basics of web development. These courses will be held on 3 separate weeks during Gangplank Avondale’s After Hours. After Hours is open to the community. This is a great time to drop in and work on a side project or learn something new. As a collaborative workspace those in the space are encouraged to share ideas and work together toward solving problems. We hope to give students the basics they need to get started in web development and introduce them to the space. Students are encouraged to continue to join us for After Hours once the series is over.

 Creating the Next Generation of Web Developers

Gangplank Jr: Intro to HTML for ages 16-20

Learn to create a web page in HTML. This class is designed to help encourage the next generation of web developers. Intended for students ages 16- 20, but older students are welcome are as well. Students must provide their own computer.

When: February 7, 2013 6pm-8pm

Where: Gangplank Avondale

 Creating the Next Generation of Web Developers

Gangplank Jr: Intro to CSS for ages 16-20

Learn  how to add styling to an HTML web page with CSS. Students should have a basic understanding of HTML. This class is intended to for the next generation of  web developers. Designed for 16-20 year old students, but older students are welcome as well. Students must provide their own computer.

When: February 21, 2013 6pm-8pm

Where: Gangplank Avondale

 Creating the Next Generation of Web Developers

Gangplank Jr: Intro to Debugging Your Website for ages 16-20

Learn how to find and correct errors in your HTML and CSS code. Students should have a basic understanding of HTML and CSS. This class is intended for the next generation of web developers. It is designed for ages 16-20, but older students are welcome as well.

When: February 28, 2013 6pm-8pm

Where: Gangplank Avondale

Listen to a Folktale to Grow Your Business.

So in the midst of so much technology and business development comes a troupe of storytellers. Why storytelling when there is work to be done? Aren’t there other good things to do at a brown-bag besides telling stories?

Stories are catalysts to new understanding. I have been storytelling professionally since 1986. I’ve learned how even the simplest story can lead the listener to thinking differently or contemplating a bit more deeply about their own life and work. At other times, the story is just plain fun and simply meant to be enjoyed. You, as the listener, get to decide if you are listening for understanding or just to have fun.

Let’s take a look at a folktale. Here is a story that I told at the StoryRise brown-bag event in June. It’s short. Watch it before you read more of this article:

There are many ways to interpret that story. When I told it at this particular performance, I was thinking about what it means for the entrepreneur. I’ve created a few questions for that story to help you think about it in terms of your work as an entrepreneur or small-business developer:

1. Were you “asleep” before you started on the entrepreneurial road? It’s easy to just go through the motions at a job but not really accomplish anything. What were you doing before you started out on your own? Were you engaged with your work or just plodding through it?

2. The boy in the story lies down and finds that the ground is uncomfortable. What “uncomforts” forced you to move forward to your life as it is now? Why do you do what you do?

3. It was necessary for the boy to take action. He had to start digging up the ground to find the chest. He needed tools. What actions have you taken to move your work forward? Did you discover, find, borrow or create new tools in order to start “digging” into your business or creation? Do you have the right tools now?

4. Everywhere you look people are shouting about “starting your own business.” Maybe within your path is a “golden box” for you. However, the boy in the story can’t open it until he has dug deeper for the key. What is the “key” to your business? What or who is it that finally allowed you to unlock the box of treasures that is your work now? Are you still looking for the key?

5. The story does not end. It simply asks the listener to imagine the treasures inside the box. As you move through your life in your own business, what “treasures” are you finding in your work, your family, your understanding of the world and others? Is your box empty or full? Are you surprised by anything in the golden box?

Now that you have thought a bit more about the story, go back and watch it again. Let your subconscious work on understanding what the story says to you.

Just as with music or any art form, there are things going on below the surface of any tale. Next time you hear a story, think about this: what are the characters doing at any point? Those actions may be symbolic of what you need to do or stop doing. Objects (fields, tools, boxes, keys, locks) in a story may also be symbols intended to make you think, “Oh, I have something like that in my life.”

Don’t worry, you won’t have to work so hard every time you hear a story. Just as you have learned to listen to and appreciate music automatically, you’ll find that appreciating and understanding story will come as naturally.

Come to our next StoryRise at Gangplank or other location. Enjoy a story just for the fun of it and/or feel free to get all introspective.

More information about StoryRise is at StoryRise.

***
Sean Buvala, storyteller, is a coach for public-speaking and presenting skills and a mentor at Gangplank Avondale. You can learn more about him at seantells.com.

Event: June 15 Brown Bag – "Will Your Business Idea Be Profitable?"

spreadsheet Event: June 15 Brown Bag   "Will Your Business Idea Be Profitable?"Building a profitable business requires the ability to tract important financial performance information. At the Brown Bag presentation at noon on Friday, June 15, John Bradley, Ph.D., demonstrates how to use a “Proforma Financial Spreadsheet.”

John says, “Most people start a business to make money.” In his brown bag presentation, John will show how to use this spreadsheet tool to calculate startup costs, price points, sales goals, cash-flow and income statements.”

Bio: John Bradley joined Estrella Mountain Community College in 1992. While he gets paid to teach business and management, making dreams come true is what he does best.

He says that EMCC’s flexible Organizational Management Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree program is his best tool for business growth. John has a PhD in Education, an MS in Technical & Industrial Education, and a BS in Agricultural Industries. You can find more about him at johnlbradley.com.

John suggests that you bring your laptop, to get the most out of the presentation.

Here are the details:

When:
Friday, June 15, 2012
Noon – 1:00pm

Where:
Gangplank Avondale
525 N. Central Avenue
Avondale, AZ 85323

Cost: FREE

Event: May 18 Brownbag – "From Idea To Invention"

iStock 000006501684Small 300x221 Event: May 18 Brownbag   "From Idea To Invention"Every product you use, every service you employ started with an idea. The iPad. The fuel injector in your car. Even that ridiculous helmet that your Uncle Louie wears to the Arizona Cardinals games –the one with the two beer holders and the straw. All started with an idea. And now someone is making money on those ideas.

And we know you get those little nudges. Those sparks of innovation that hit while you’re working out or about to fall asleep. Wouldn’t you like to be making money on that idea?

On May 18, inventor Elia Martinez will be presenting her free seminar “From Idea to Invention”, helping you to navigate the often confusing process of turning ideas into salable products and services.

So if you’ve ever come up with an idea for something but weren’t sure how to take it further, grab your lunch and join us for the discussion.

Here are the specs:

When:
Friday, May 18, 2012
12:00 noon – 1:00pm

Where:
Gangplank Avondale
525 N. Central Avenue
Avondale, AZ 85323

Cost: FREE

 

Event: May 11 Brownbag – "Anatomy of a WordPress Theme"

wordpresstip Event: May 11 Brownbag   "Anatomy of a WordPress Theme"Ever wanted to change something in a WordPress theme but weren’t sure where to go to make the change? Fear not!

On May 11 at noon, Dharma Kelleher of Kelleher Web Design will be examining the various parts of the typical WordPress theme, explaining what they do and how they interact with the other parts. And all with her brand of outrageous humor.

People of all skill levels are welcome. So if you use WordPress for your blog or website, or have been considering it, grab your lunch and join us for the FREE seminar!

Questions answered. Reality questioned! Lunch eaten.

The Deets:

Friday, May, 11, 2012
12:00 noon – 1:00pm

Gangplank Avondale
525 N. Central Avenue
Avondale, AZ 85323

Disability as a Catalyst

Wired Magazine calls Asperger’s Syndrome “The Geek Syndrome”. Bram Cohen, founder of Bit Torrent, often talks about Asperger’s as a catalyst for his success. STEM Force Technology is a local for-profit social impact company that hires individuals with Asperger’s in the STEM fields. Learn how individuals with Asperger’s, and Autism Spectrum Disorders, have shaped the field of technology and how creating pathways for underserved populations benefits individuals and the marketplace.

Garret Westlake is the founder of STEM Force Technology. He is also the Director of the Disability Resource Center for Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus, and a faculty associate in the College of Technology and Innovation where he teaches in the Technological Entrepreneurial Management program.