November 2016 Events & Meetups at Gangplank Chandler

Tuesday, November 1

Modfit continues their free pilot clinic through the end of the month, open to the entire Gangplank community as well as your business associates, friends, or family. Modfit is a Chandler based startup building personalized clinics for today’s desk-bound workforce, and are equipped with the latest fitness technology to help you lose weight, alleviate stress, reduce pain, and power through you workday. Download the Modfit app from the iTunes or Google Play app stores to schedule your first session.

Wednesday, November 2

Freelancers Meetup: Setting Boundaries with Demanding Clients, Spark Phoenix, 5:30pm, Main Space

This month, we’ll swap invaluable insight around questions like: How do you decide who to work with? How you set up parameters from the start of the relationship? How do you project manage yourself and your clients? Regardless of industry, we all share similar experiences as independent business owners! We try to ensure everyone leaves with insights and connections that will help their business thrive. Networking & refreshments. RSVP

Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space

Join us to discuss whatever comes up living the Gangplank Manifesto and co-working together. Interested in desk space at Gangplank Chandler? Drop in and find out what it’s all about.

future-of-collaboration-500

Hacknight, 6pm until last keyholder leaves (late-ish), Main Space

Day job keeping you away from co-working out of Gangplank during the day? Our weekly Hacknights are project time, an open house, jam space and brainstorming session all rolled into one. Hacknight is an opportunity to connect, share ideas and launch new ventures in the community. It’s a great time to come work on a side project or pursue a hobby.

GP Software Engineering Reading Group, 7 – 9pm

Selecting the next book to read: Before the meeting: 1. Pick a book you want to read. 2. At the meeting: Present your book to the group. 3. At the meeting: Once all books are presented, we vote. Book presentations may be simple or fancy. Your choice. Voting will likely be approval-style. That is, each member may approve (vote for) any number of books. The winner is the most-approved book.

Thursday, November 3

SouthEast Valley .NET Newbies Group, 6 – 9pm, Main Space

We will be continuing our review of the internal project selected for development via the full SDLC, focusing on finalizing the requirements, making final selections for the team members and formalizing the development process. For the MVC portion, a review of routes is next on the agenda. There will be a brief review session for those new members that are new to C#, continuing with the basics of declarations, classes, SOLID and dependency injection.

microsoft-stack

Women Who Code Show Your Stuff – HTML/CSS, 6 – 7:30pm

Study group open to women working with or learning HTML/CSS. Beginners always welcome.

Saturday, November 5

East Valley Job Seekers, 10am – 12pm, Conference Room
For more information, contact: LuisWongCampos@cox.net.

AZLOCO Install-fest/Linux Workshop, 10am – 5pm

Anyone interested in Linux is welcome. We can just chat or we can install on almost any version of Linux on your computer, router, server, or Raspberry PI. Fix or learn open source programs in a one on one training class.

linux

Wednesday, November 9

Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space

Hacknight, 6pm until last keyholder leaves (late-ish), Main Space

Guilt Free Book Club, 6 – 7pm

We will discuss The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture by Glen Weldon. Amazon summarizes: “A witty, intelligent cultural history from NPR book critic Glen Weldon explains Batman’s rises and falls throughout the ages—and what his story tells us about ourselves.” Also, at our next meetup we will pick books to read for the next six months. Please bring your ideas. Guilt-free because you don’t have to read the book to join the discussion.

the-caped-crusade-by-glen-weldon

Thursday, November 10

Arizona WordPress Group, 6:30 – 8:30pm
Gather and discuss the best ways to work with WordPress and find out the advantages of using WordPress for your Business and Personal website.

wordpress-crunchify-tag-cloud

Saturday, November 12

East Valley Job Seekers, 10am – 12pm, Conference Room

2017 Goal Setting Lab, 1 – 5pm, Main Space

Join local facilitator, Trish Gillam for fun filled afternoon of exploring and designing a more meaningful 2017! Where do you want to be in December 2017? We will spend time reflecting and designing a year that fits the life you want to live. This will include a variety of games and activities to clarify goals and accelerate decision making. We will then spend some time creating action plans to help you follow through on your new goals. These hands on, group oriented activities are also a great way to build new connections with fellow Goal Setting Lab participants. You will leave this event with a personal action plan to help make the most of 2017 and hopefully new friends to support you with your plan.

There is no cost to this event. However, seats are limited so make sure to claim your ticket via Eventbrite.

Monday, November 14

Craft Hack: Sewing 101 & Teddy Bear Cosplay, 6 – 8pm

Our November Craft Hack features costuming teddy bears (we’ll re-stuff cleaned recycled bears at the demo) which will involve learning some fundamentals about sewing so if you need some tutoring or to brush up on your technique, bring your machine or use one of ours. Bring extra fabric scraps and stuffed animals to attire (or re-stuff one of our bears). As always, you are free to bring your own project to work on instead of or in addition to our demo.

sewing-machine-925458_960_720

Digital Storytellers Meetup, 6 – 8pm, Conference Room

Looking to tell your story online? Whether you are a filmmaker or a video blogger or building your business, it all begins with the story. Learn new techniques and best practices for creating your story and using tools like YouTube to share with the world. Discover, Define and Refine you stories and work with others to find the best way to share your stories with your audience. Open to all levels of experience.

Wednesday, November 16

Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space

Hacknight, 6pm until last keyholder leaves (late-ish), Main Space

GP Software Engineering Reading Group, 8 – 10pm

Thursday, November 17

Southeast Valley .NET User Group, 6 – 8pm

Southeast Valley .NET User Group (SEVDNUG) was established in December 2007 as a hub for .NET developers in Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, and surrounding areas who want to learn and share knowledge about .NET technologies. Come join us on the 4th Thursday of each month.

Friday, November 18

Monthly Momentum Meetup, 1 – 4pm

Formerly “Bookkeeping and Beers,” this is a monthly productivity session with other Gangplankers. Get stuff done you would normally put off. (It doesn’t have to be bookkeeping.) You’re welcome to bring beverages and/or snacks.

do it - procrastination concept

Saturday, November 19

East Valley Job Seekers, 10am – 12pm, Conference Room
For more information, contact: LuisWongCampos@cox.net.

Rock the Block, 12 – 10pm

Rock the Block! is an annual, free, family-friendly block party that celebrates the fun, dynamic lifestyle that Chandler offers while promoting Chandler-based businesses. The event has garnered more than 18,000 attendees in the past and is expecting to attract even more in 2016.

Monday, November 21

Women Who Code Show Your Stuff – JavaScript, 6 – 7:30pm

Study group open to women working with or learning JavaScript. Beginners always welcome.

javascript

Wednesday, November 23

Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space

Hacknight, 6pm until last keyholder leaves (late-ish), Main Space

Thursday, November 24, Thanksgiving

Gangplank closed.

Monday, November 28

Digital Storytellers Meetup, 6 – 8pm, Conference Room

Looking to tell your story online? Whether you are a filmmaker or a video blogger or building your business, it all begins with the story.

635520045957677482-video

Wednesday, November 30

Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space

Hacknight, 6pm until last keyholder leaves (late-ish), Main Space

GP Software Engineering Reading Group, 8 – 10pm

Freelancers Meetup: Setting Boundaries with Demanding Clients, November 2, 2016

Freelancers Meetup
Every First Wednesday of the month, 5:30pm
Gangplank
250 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler

November 2nd discussion topic:
How to set professional boundaries with demanding clients.

December 7th discussion topic:
How to craft a compelling “About Me.”

Freelancers Union SPARK is not your average “here’s my business card, we should talk” networking group. We seek to inspire, so we work together to ensure everyone leaves with insights and connections that will help their business thrive.

Join us on the first Wednesday of every month to meet other entrepreneurs in the area, get inspired, and learn stuff like how to turn pro at filing quarterly taxes! #FreelanceSPARK

freelancers1

 

For more info, message Eileen.

Modfit Pilot Clinic at Gangplank Chandler

Guest Post by
Chris Adams,
Modfit

We are excited to announce the October 17th launch of the Modfit pilot clinic at Gangplank Chandler!  Modfit is a Chandler based startup building personalized clinics for today’s desk-bound workforce, and are equipped with the latest fitness technology to help you lose weight, alleviate stress, reduce pain, and power through you workday.  Recharge & refresh in a comfortable setting and refuel with a healthy beverage and snack.

This pilot clinic is open to the entire Gangplank community as well as your business associates, friends, or family.

modfit2

Participants are asked to commit to THREE 15-minute sessions a week for 30 days starting the week of October 17th.  We will have an on-site coach MondayFriday from 1-5pm, and we have lots of goodies & giveaways for participants too!

This is a pilot clinic, so all we’re asking for is your honest feedback on how we can make our clinics better, and referrals to other business owners who might be interested in a clinic for their workspace.

Download the Modfit app from the iTunes or Google Play app stores to schedule your first session.

modfit

Gangplank Mondays@4: The Business of Storytelling with Amber Pechin, October 24, 2016

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a business who heard the distress calls of a community in need of a solution. Donning their suits of armor, they put their helmets together to develop a solution to save the day.

Fighting dragons and evil witches, pressing forward for months of sleepless nights and endless cups of coffee, they climbed mountains and forged rivers to bring forth a product that would change the world… if only the world would listen then we would all live happily ever after.

What strategic story should you tell to reach happily ever after for your business?

Join us @4 p.m. Monday October 24 at Gangplank Chandler for an interactive business storytelling workshop with Amber Pechin from Amplitude Media.

amber

Simply publishing content isn’t enough to reach your business goals. Crafting the right story and telling in the right tone of voice and in the right places is key. In this interactive workshop participants will join Amber from Amplitude Media for a crash course in strategic storytelling for business.

The workshop is part of Gangplank Mondays @4, as series of business talks for startups, entrepreneurs, makers and freelancers.

Amplitude Media is a strategic business communications agency, partnering with businesses to share strategic stories that make a difference.

GangplankMondays@4:Pokemon Go, Augmented Reality & the Gamification of Business, October 17, 2016

Can games bring in more customers and boost sales? Can augmented reality lead users to patronize small, local businesses they otherwise might not visit?

Join Carol Stambaugh & Kameron Williams Monday, October 17, 2016, 4PM at Gangplank Chandler for a talk about the phenomenal success of Pokemon Go and how startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses can capitalize on this and other trends in the gamification of business.

carol

Carol Stambaugh, Principal and Owner of FreeUp Web Studio, is the current Arizona WordPress Meetup Organizer with a membership of 1400+ around the Phoenix metro area. FreeUp Web Studio handles website design needs from concept to full implementation, hosting and ongoing management.

Kameron Williams is the Creative Director and originator of Lillimedia. His passion is to tell the stories of the businesses that Lillimedia works with, and to provide web based solutions to help businesses grow.

Refreshments, Q&A and networking follow the talk.

kam-avatar

Gangplank Mondays@4: Machine Learning with Chris Murray, October 10, 2016

Can we build never-ending learners? Can machine learning theories and algorithms help explain human learning?

Join us Monday, October 10, 2016, 4PM at Gangplank Chandler for a talk about Machine Learning, exploring the study and construction of algorithms that can learn from and make predictions on data, with Christopher Murray of Gangplank resident company Hiring Solved. The talk is part of our Gangplank Mondays@4 series of business talks for startups, entrepreneurs, makers and freelancers.

chris2

HiringSolved makes it faster and easier to find the right person for any job. Its people aggregator gathers data from across the web and filters the most relevant information into a database of candidate profiles.

Chris will discuss HiringSolved’s artificial intelligence tools as recently profiled in FastCompany as well as address the future of machine intelligence for small business.

Refreshments, Q&A and networking follow the talk.

Upcoming Gangplank Mondays@4:

Pokemon Go, Augmented Reality & the Gamification of Business with Carol Stambaugh of FreeUp WebStudio, and Kameron Williams of Lillimedia, October 17, 2016.

Gangplank Mondays@4: Dynamic Equity with Diana Wilson, September 26, 2016

How do you divide the startup sweat equity pie? What’s fair and how do you keep your decisions transparent?

Join us Monday, September 26, 2016, 4PM at Gangplank for “Dynamic Equity” with ProFile Sports Founder Diana Wilson, part of our Gangplank Mondays@4 series of business talks for startups, entrepreneurs, makers and freelancers. ProFile Sports develops technology tools designed to showcase athletic achievement and promote continuing education.

DianaWilson

Diana draws from Mike Michalowicz’s Profit First and Mike Moyer’s Slicing Pie to power Dynamic Equity, a concept for startup and other businesses to use when deciding how to value sweat equity, cash investments and profit sharing. Diana will discuss how she uses time trackers with remote teams as well as banking products to organize an early stage startup.

Diana has worked with several Fortune 500 companies including Adidas America, Hewlett Packard, Disney and Intel. Over 25 years at the helm of Media, Design firms and Live Corporate Events. She is passionate about helping families afford higher education and athletic opportunities for their children.

After the presentation, we’ll have Q&A, discussion, light refreshments and networking.

Upcoming Gangplank Mondays@4:

Podcasting for Business with Jason Gunn of Attribytes, October 3, 2016.
Machine Learning with Christopher Murray of HiringSolved, October 10, 2016.
Pokemon Go, Augmented Reality & the Gamification of Business with Carol Stambaugh of FreeUp WebStudio, October 17, 2016.

August 2016 Events & Meetups at Gangplank Chandler

Wednesday, August 3

Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space
Join us to discuss whatever comes up living the Gangplank Manifesto and co-working together. Interested in desk space at Gangplank Chandler? Drop in and find out what it’s all about.

Hacknight, 6pm until last keyholder leaves (late-ish), Main Space
Day job keeping you away from co-working out of Gangplank during the day? Our weekly Hacknights are project time, an open house, jam space and brainstorming session all rolled into one. Hacknight is an opportunity to connect, share ideas and launch new ventures in the community. It’s a great time to come work on a side project or pursue a hobby.


Freelancers Meetup w/Spark Phoenix, 5:30pm, Conference Room
This month, we’ll swap inspired ideas around questions like “What makes a brand memorable?” and “How can an email build loyalty?” Think you’ve got insight to share? Find emailing to be a painful process? Join us to brainstorm what makes for email strategy success. RSVP here.

Thursday, August 4


SouthEast Valley .NET Newbies Group
, 6 – 9pm, Main Space
Revisit Dependency Injection, SOLID, MVC5 application.

Women Who Code PHX: HTML/CSS Study Group, 6 – 7:30pm, Conference Room
Study group open to women working with or learning HTML / CSS. Beginners always welcome.

Saturday, August 6

East Valley Job Seekers, 10am – 12pm, Conference Room
For more information, contact: LuisWongCampos@cox.net.

Monday, August 8

global_430588742Digital Storytellers Meetup, 6 – 8pm, Burgundy Lounge
Looking to tell your story online? Whether you are a filmmaker or a video blogger or building your business, it all begins with the story.

  • Discover, Define and Refine you stories and work with others to find the best way to share your stories with your audience.
  • Open to all levels of experience
  • Learn new techniques and best practices for creating your story and using tools like YouTube to share with the world.


Craft Hack: Craft Supply Swap,
6 – 8pm, Conference Room
Feel free to bring fabric, paper, yarn, notions, or other craft/art supplies you’re not using. Even if you don’t have anything to bring, come hang out, craft, and see if anything catches your eye. There’s no demo this month, so just bring your own project to work on.

Wednesday, August 10


GP Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space
Hacknight, 6 – 11:30pm, Main Space
Guilt Free Book Club, 6 – 7pm
We will discuss Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living by Krista Tippett. Guilt-free because you don’t have to read the book to join the discussion.
GP Software Engineering Reading Group, 8 – 10pm

Thursday, August 11

Arizona WordPress Group, 6:30 – 8:30pm
The Arizona WordPress Meetup group is a statewide community of WordPress professionals, hobbyists and users who come together to share knowledge, learn together, and strengthen the community. Free, all welcome.

Saturday, August 13

East Valley Job Seekers, 10am – 12pm, Conference Room

Monday, August 15


Women
Who Code Show Your Stuff – JavaScript
, 6 – 7:30pm,
Study group open to women working with or learning JavaScript. Beginners always welcome.

Tuesday, August 16

FileMaker Pro User Group, 6 – 8:30pm, More info.

Wednesday, August 17


Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space
Hacknight, 6pm until last keyholder leaves (late-ish), Main Space
GP Software Engineering Reading Group, 8 – 10pm

Friday, August 19

Monthly Momentum Meetup, 1 – 4pm
Formerly “Bookkeeping and Beers,” this is a monthly productivity session with other Gangplankers. Get stuff done you would normally put off. (It doesn’t have to be bookkeeping.) You’re welcome to bring beverages and/or snacks.

Saturday, August 20

East Valley Job Seekers, 10am – 12pm, Conference Room


Monday, August 22

Digital Storytellers Meetup, 6 – 8pm, Conference Room
Looking to tell your story online? Whether you are a filmmaker or a video blogger or building your business, it all begins with the story.

Wednesday, August 24

Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space
Hacknight, 6pm until last keyholder leaves (late-ish), Main Space
GP Software Engineering Reading Group, 8 – 10pm

Thursday, August 25


Southeast Valley .NET User Group
, 6 – 8pm,
Visual Studio Cordova Tooling by Justin James
Are you already a web developer and want to create a mobile application? Come learn all about the Ionic mobile framework and how to use it with the Visual Studio 2015 Cordova Tooling. With technologies that we already know and love like Html 5, Javascript, CSS 3, and Angular we can easily create a mobile application that targets Android, iOS, and Windows 10 Phone.

Saturday, August 27


Analytics.Club, Phoenix
, 9am – 12pm,
Open Hack Kaggle Challenge: Are you ready to join the exciting world of Kaggle challenges to learn and help your fellow “geeks”? Set sail with us on an amazing adventure through data analytics, machine learning and a whole lot more.

Code Sisters, 10am-3pm
Learning to code together on personal and collaborative projects with mentors.

East Valley Job Seekers, 10am – 12pm, Conference Room

download (2)Wednesday, August 31

Community Meeting, 12pm, Main Space
Hacknight, 6pm until last keyholder leaves (late-ish), Main Space
Desert Blockchain Meetup, 6:30 – 9pm
Desert Blockchain is a community interested in distributed trust technologies.

Chandler Innovations, city-wide business incubator, seeks inventors, builders and creators

Christine Bailey, Executive Director, Chandler Innovations

Christine Bailey, Executive Director, Chandler Innovations

Guest post by
Christine K. Bailey
Executive Director
Chandler Innovations

Have a business idea? A prototype? A minimum viable product? Or perhaps you’re getting ready to sell or trying to sell into your target market. Struggling with the next steps? Have you found that your product (be it hardware or software) or service isn’t quite getting the traction, interest or investment dollars you were hoping for? We can help.

Chandler Innovations is a city-wide business incubation and entrepreneurial development program that helps engineers of all kinds turn their ideas into successful businesses. Additionally, we partner with entrepreneurial-minded organizations already supporting business growth and development in Chandler; for example, Gangplank, the Maricopa Small Business Development Center, Arizona TechShop and the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.

Our clients are inventors, builders and creators who have developed innovative new technology to solve some of the biggest problems we face today. But, they’re not quite sure how to bring these new solutions to market. Simultaneously, they’re also learning how to be entrepreneurs rather than an employees. That’s where we come in. Our four-track incubation program helps our clients:

  1. identify and solve a problem for a specific target market;
  2. evolve their ideas into minimum viable products, test them with the right customers and users, and prepare for investor interest;
  3. create and execute a go-to market strategy that achieves their financial goals; and
  4. grow their startup into a sustainable business.

Plus, our one-on-one coaching and mentoring, carefully-designed workshops and programs, and a network of mentors, investors and technical advisors support each of our clients as they become the entrepreneurs who will lead their businesses to success.

We, too, are entrepreneurs, and have learned from our successes and even more from our own failures. And we’re here to help you navigate the often rocky path of a startup business. If you think you’d like to join our community, check out one of our upcoming events, reach out with any questions via email, or, if you’d like to get started: apply today!

My HiringSolved Away Mission to Phoenix NAP

Getting Going

My trip to the NAP Datacenter was an unexpected journey. I wasn’t supposed to go, actually. Trevor had invited me to go months ago and I couldn’t make it that time, but when I heard HiringSolved was going on another field trip, I asked if I could join.

Shon was enthused about the outing for a moment, but then realized I couldn’t go. “You need two forms of ID, so it’ll have to be next time.”

“It just so happens I’m carrying two!” I was back in on the away mission.

Arrival

 

Photos of Phoenix NAP facility.

Photos of Phoenix NAP facility.

We parked at a building that I had passed many times before. A very nondescript and boring building from the outside. I had driven past the corporate art and boring block architecture many times on my way to Arizona State University back in my college days.

We exited at the boring building and walked up to a tinted glass door–a common accent for the hot Arizona sun. Nothing impressive so far.

“This is by design,” Shon told me. “Notice how there are no logos or labels of any kind on this building”

Now that you mention it, this building is pretty nondescript… I was thinking. Has anyone even moved in? I see the cars around and everything but surely they’re just here for the Waffle House across the street.

Nope. This is NAP. And despite the cozy name, the security here never sleeps. We got up to the nondescript door of the nondescript building and Shon hit the nondescript buzzer on the nondescript pole in the nondescript cement.

A nondescript voice answered: “Bed—fft ba—ft and be—-ndfssf”

I didn’t really hear it.

“Shon Burton, HiringSolved,” Shon said into the speaker.

Click. The doors were unlocked. We walked over and Shon was saying, “See? There’s nothing signifying what this place is. Again, that’s by design. I’m surprised they even have numbers on the door. Usually they try to hide even the address at these things.”

Clearly this wasn’t Shon’s first rodeo.

Entering the Center

I sheepishly walked in with my hands firmly at my sides. Then clasped behind me. Then crossed in front of me. I didn’t know where the hell to put my hands.

The two security guards were wearing kevlar vests and a bulletproof pane of glass separated them from us.

One of them started grilling Shon on what hard drives he was taking in.

“Brand X,” Shon said.

“How many gigs?”

“X gigs.”

“How many drives?”

“Just two.”

“And your guest?”

“This is Christopher Murray. He’s new and we’re giving him a tour.”

They looked at me and said, “Two forms of ID please.”

I fumbled around in my Beatles wallet and pulled out my green card and Arizona driver’s license.

“Wait, you have a green card?” Shon said.

This was the first time I explained my Irish heritage and how even after living in the USA for 26 years (since I was 2 years old), I am still an Irish citizen. I saved some of the hairier details for later.

The mission that day was to infiltrate the data center, remove the failing drives, and replace them with newer, more reliable ones–some real cyber-punk shit!

The guards handed Shon and I a pair of badges to get us into the data center.

Behind them, I noticed a grip-ton of TVs set up to surveil the surrounding campus as well as the hallways of the complex. They probably had them on display like that to remind people they’re being watched.

The place was a fortress.

Data Meditations, Scorpoyotes, and Porn

I started to think about how malleable data is.

The Pirate Bay, for instance, has node accounts at data centers all over the world that activate in the event that one is taken down. It doesn’t matter if their building blows up because there will always be another backup of the data somewhere else.

For Gangplank startups like HiringSolved, however, this building blowing up would be quite a different situation.

If this building exploded, imploded, burned down, fell into the swamp, was raided by scorpions, coyotes, scorpion-covered coyotes, or giant scorpion-coyote hybrids that stabbed all the security with their scorp tails while half of them ran high powered magnets through the complex to wipe everything; all the startups would be doomed.

Or at least you’d think so.

When I brought forth my Scorpoyote concerns Shon showed me how I shouldn’t be so concerned.

“Technically, at least for us, it’s inaccurate to say we would be doomed. We securely replicate our data to [web server]. So in the event Phoenix NAP becomes a smoking crater, we would be back up and running in a short amount of time (minutes not hours).” Shon explained.

15 years ago I would have been right on the money. Multi-datacenter replication was so expensive that only the very top companies could afford it. Today, thanks to OpenStack, Rackspace, and most of all AWS, if your startup is taken out because your DC goes down, you’re not doing it right.

As it turns out, most of the security was there to prevent theft and non-destructive intrusion. Not destruction. Data and infrastructure are fairly easy to replicate today. Theft or worse, subtle infiltration is a much more significant risk for most. Again, replication and virtual hardware took much of the destruction risk away.

CC Bill, the emperor of porn payment processing, dedicates an entire floor of NAP to process transactions but they are no better off than the smaller startups housed there. Despite their massive scale and tenure in the digital space, they use a lot of the same data techniques that younger organizations use to mitigate destruction risk.

The Value of Data

Bits… they’re just a bunch of 0s and 1s. All theoretical, yet valuable. It’s a lot like how we value a person for their personality. It’s not the mass of the person that makes them valuable, it’s the synapses and electronic messages firing through the brain. The memory signature of a human being is quite like the data in this building. Really it’s just an extension of our own brain, isn’t it?

Perhaps that thought progression is what’s driving Trevor the astrophysicist, engineer, and CTO of HiringSolved to consider a possible future in neuroscience one day after he makes his buh-zillions.

 

Script Kiddie Danger

scriptkiddie

Not many people get to see this kind of thing. When I was a kid they took us to go see the factory where they made Coca Cola. Sure the assembly-line machinery was pretty cool, but nobody was carrying a taser.

They never take kids to things like data centers. Well, they never did in the 90s. There weren’t as many of them, in their defense. I have no idea where kids are field-tripping to these days, but if we really wanna trip them out we should take them to a data center.

On second thought, I’m not sure a group of rowdy kids could be trusted in a place like that. With things as fragile as they are, there isn’t much a kid couldn’t destroy.

Even with everything is locked away in black lockers like a goth Saved By the Bell.

Servers are just like your tower or laptop at home really, they need a power strip to plug into and an operating system to run their programming.

If a kid got in there and pressed the red button, they’d muck up the ongoing processes that the software company was performing. Right?

Wrong.

It does not work this way. Dennis the Menace could literally go into the datacenter, open the locker, plug in a Makita and start drilling holes in servers while our users happily went about their business.

Also, before Dennis could drill enough servers to make a difference, he would have been tazed in the head by one of the Kevlar-clad heroes.

If he turned everything off, yes, things would go down. HiringSolved would have to fire up the web server nodes until NAP security fixed the issue.

As a side note, HiringSolved’s entire cluster has in fact been completely powered off before. Not by a menacing kid, but by a clumsy ASU Computer Science intern and his stray elbow. Guess what happened? Nothing! HiringSolved powered back up to crawl sites and serve users like nothing happened.

We have a highly available redundant design. A datacenter being taken out is rare but if it happens we’re ready. If we weren’t, we would be morons.

Security Upon Security

After the security check and being processed, we walked through a glass door on the right that clicked to unlock and we went down a narrow hallway.

Halfway down the hallway there was a wall made of glass where we could see a bunch of tech security experts looking over their monitors right into our eyes as we passed.

They were seated on a series of graduated steps much like the bridge on a Starfleet C-class ship or some kind of secret nerd council or tribunal.

Their demeanor was very serious. A curly, long-haired ginger one I looked at gave me a stoic glare that sent chills through my soul.

I shuddered and kept walking, keeping my mouth shut so as not to set off some kind of security lip-reading software that detects stupid people.

When we got to the end of the hall we arrived at the most interesting part of the technology. The airlock room. Or whatever it was. It’s an airlock in the fashion that it was a room you entered and could not progress through until the doors on both sides had been locked.

Trouble in the Airlock
Airlock-Testing

There was a guy in there fumbling with the communication device on the wall. He seemed flustered and I couldn’t hear what he was saying through the door but it didn’t look good.

All of a sudden a green gas poured through hidden vents in the ceiling and in flew two automated drones with mounted machine guns and quadcopter flight.

They pointed their lasers at him and started firing. The portly young man in the death trap started trying to fight them off immediately and started coughing as the green gas started melting his skin. The gas billowed through the room until it was fully opaque. We couldn’t see anything.

Then *boom* we saw his disfigured bullet-ridden face smack against the glass door. He slumped to the ground and a giant spatula lowered from the ceiling to scrape his body from the floor and into a vacuum opening that had appeared on the far wall.

He was swiftly brushed into the vacuum where him and all the green gas flowed into the abyss. A pipe came out of the floor in the middle of the room and sprayed a solution everywhere. Squeegees dropped out of the ceiling to clean up the remaining specs of human. It all ended with a chirpy *ding* sound and the glass door slid open.

“They just murdered somebody,” I said.

“Shhh,” Shon said.

Shon badged first and motioned for me to follow.

I began to walk in and a piercing horn sound filled the air. Red lights flashed at the door’s entrance.

Shon whipped around and grabbed the badge on my neck to put it on the sensor. “You have to badge in too!”

But it was too late. We hit the deck as bullets went flying all around us.

What actually happened:

The befuddled gentleman in the enclosure finished whining into the speaker. We heard another voice come through our speaker and say, “Okay. You two can badge in and get in there with him now.”

“Alright. Back up,” we heard the loudspeaker say. By that time, Ian had caught up with us. I looked at him for some reciprocation and said “Dude, this place is badass.”  He nodded. It wasn’t his first time here, but he couldn’t deny the coolness either. (He tried).

“Yeah, your first time visiting one of these things is usually pretty intense. It gets less so when you’re running in and out to change hard drives all the time, but I have to admit it’s still pretty cool,” he said.

What I didn’t realize until after the trip is that the ‘airlock’ room we were in was actually measuring our weight down to a fraction of a gram and our weight while exiting would be compared to the original. Just another security measure to ward off theft.

That must be why the guards needed to know the brand and capacity of the drives we were bringing in as well as taking out. Hmm…

I exited the airlock totally ignorant of my weigh-in and entered the actual farm. The farm is a habitat for many a scurrying nerd. I spotted a silverback neckbeard, the duckbilled hipster, and even a water buffalo.

There are vents on the floors between each stack of servers. If left alone, servers can generate quite a bit of heat, actually. They’re kept to an appropriate temperature by a cycle of cool air that blows up from the floor on one side, then up and over the lockers to the other side where the hot air is vented out. So, if you get too cold, you can go to the hot side or vice versa.

I found this useful as I hadn’t dressed for either cold or hot weather. I was kind of in the middle (t-shirt with slacks). I found myself making the rounds once or twice.

Delicate Handling

Every part of the process was delicately and carefully handled. Removing a drive and replacing it is a serious undertaking for a business that relies on data. Each drive was handled like a newborn. It was clear that this server meant their livelihood. It was like defusing a bomb.

Ian added some nice-to-know stuff as I checked out the digs. Such as how the yellow housings that tracked along the tops of all the servers in the farm were the hamster highways where hamsters delivered written network codes from one side of the farm to the other.

Trevor explained how segments of each drive’s data was copied throughout the other drives, so if you lost one it was easy to recover from the other. With limited resources as a startup, this method serves very well and has prevented any major catastrophes at HiringSolved.

The guys joked about a marketing piece I wrote about our “thousands of servers” when in fact we have a much fewer number.

When it was time to go, I had soaked in the importance of data centers like this and the reason security is so important for them. When HiringSolved’s data does eventually need the capacity of thousands of servers, we’ll look back on this moment and think of how cute things were back then.

headshotAbout the Author: Christopher Murray is a growth hacker at HiringSolved. He’s also a Gangplank Chandler community member and volunteer where he supplies a weekly newsletter; edits blog posts; and handles community promotions. He started with HiringSolved in November 2014, and has immersed himself in the knowledge of sourcing, HR, and Recruiting. Christopher has a background in freelance writing, hacking, and marketing. His duties at HiringSolved include site content growth, writing patents & press releases, conducting email blasts, and charting their trajectory in the new media landscape.