Hacking the Future of Humanity – TEDxLivermore

Originally posted on http://jademeskill.com/2013/09/12/hacking-the-future-of-humanity-at-tedxlivermore/

On June 8th, 2013 I spoke at TEDxLivermore about Hacking the Future of Humanity. The videos were recently published and now you can watch it for yourself.

From the Youtube Video:

Jade Meskill believes we have a choice: we can continue to condemn our children to a life of mediocrity through our apathy….or we can deliver them a future made of magnificence. Delving into the true hacker ethic, Jade poses the question: “How do you hack the system to leave our kids a magnificent future?”

The core principals of hacking: openness, sharing, decentralization of authority and free access to information, are shared from the perspective of someone who began a hackers’ life before becoming a teen. Jade also shares his core belief that the most important aspect of the hacker mentality is world improvement. According to Jade, the original definition of the word ‘hacker,’ (before it meant invasion of privacy or people taking over your computer), bespoke of people who were insanely curious about the new world of technology, of communication, and of computing power. Hackers were pioneers in a new frontier, building the basis of what fuels our modern, tech-driven world.

Jade Meskill works in the highly dynamic area of culture change, team improvement and organizational transformation. In this talk he discusses how his early education through Montessori school was a perfect match for supporting his penchant for creative exploration. He attributes the Montessori explorative learning style as a basis for his success as a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of Gangplank, the best collaborative workspace for creative people and innovative companies in Metro Phoenix. Gangplank is an unusual shared workspace that, instead of charging a fee, demands your energy, your time, and your passion for true co-creation. It is as much a set of values and cultural beliefs as it is a shared work environment, and it is growing, with venues in various cities in the US and Canada.

Learn more about Gangplank at http://whatisgangplank.com/.

TEDxLivermore is organized by people from Livermore California who believe in the power of ideas to change the world. The mutual dependence of education and innovation means schools, industry and the broader community can join together to build an ecosystem where innovation + education can cross-fertilize and thrive.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

New Website Coming (Real) Soon

For years we have struggled with creating a site that helps people all over the world engage with Gangplank. Having multiple locations, each with a different set of initiatives, numerous events, and so many things happening in the Gangplank movement can be intimidating.

Instead of waiting to be perfect, we are going to Be Dangerous. This month you will see some major changes to our site. We will be launching a new, extremely simple, theme. We can figure out what is and is not working, and quickly iterate to improve the site for everyone.

Visit our github project to get involved and make the Gangplank experience better for everyone. Any and all skillsets are welcome.

Gangplank is My Extended Family

Guest Post by: Francine Hardaway

First let me tell you that I’m not what you think of as the average Gangplanker. (BTW, there isn’t one.) I don’t code, I’m a woman, and I’m probably twenty-five years older than everyone else. But they never allow me to feel that way, and they inspire me every day.

I discovered Gangplank back in its beginning, when the offices were in Integrum’s space over the candy distributor. But that’s not what drew me in. As a long-time member of the Phoenix tech business community, I was attracted to the crazy atmosphere, the pirate trappings, and the “be dangerous” attitude. The “be dangerous” was something that fit my own lifestyle.

When Gangplank moved into a bigger space, Ed and I decided to be anchors, whatever that means. I think it means you give more back to the community, both within Gangplank and surrounding it, than you get. And you do that because you know nothing can happen if you are working alone. Derek, Jade, Josh, James, Chuck, Chase – some still at Gangplank, many now graduated – made me feel like we were all in this together, whatever it was. It was like going on a scary Disney ride with a group of friends. Nothing bad could happen if you were with them.

The third location appears to be the charm. By this time, we sort of knew what we were doing and who we wanted to be. We didn’t want to be an incubator. Others could do that. Rather, we wanted to be an open collaborative workspace, reaching out into the community.

I my own case, I mentor at Gangplank at least once a month for an afternoon. That’s my way of reaching out to the community. Anyone can make an appointment to come see me, and I will try my best to set them on a path to success – or a pivot.

I also try to develop business for others in Gangplank, because that’s my skill set. I’m a referrer. And Gangplank is my trust network. If you’re my client, and I recommend someone from Gangplank to you, I feel I can guarantee you will be happy, because whoever at Gangplank is performing the service or selling the product will make sure to do their very best to make me and my client happy.

To me, Gangplank is a place very similar to the yoga studio where I practice – a “safe” place where I can grow and learn without feeling stupid, and where I feel embraced by welcoming hands. It didn’t happen overnight, but Gangplank is my family.

The More you Give the More you Get

Guest post by Greg Taylor

I will be first to admit Gangplank is flawed. We cannot be all things to all people, I admit it. We are a group of organized unorganized people who are trying to make a difference. We seek better ways to run companies, new avenues to launch projects, a different avenue for professional networking and most of all challenging the status quo.

I was introduced to Gangplank by Jeff Moriarity in 2008. I had just been fired from a job I hated, working for people I didn’t like. I needed a place to go and be around other “professionals” and work on some ideas I had for a business, which later became Marketing Press. I walked in Gangplank soon there after and never really left.

Although, I took on another job I grossly underperformed at, sorry Ted – the Gangplank mentality was instilled in how I conducted myself. What if I tried to help, more than I sought to be helped? What if I gave away all my “secrets” on how I want to run a business? What if I tried to collaborate with other people I once thought of as competitors? What if I… the list went on and on.

I was able to break free of traditional thinking with this cast of characters and say, “It’s time for something different.”

Fast forward to 2013. After many years of working at Gangplank, I can look back and see that I’ve received exactly what I’ve put into the community. Now these people are not only contemporaries, but they are also friends – and together I don’t think there is anything that’s impossible.

If you are looking for something different, check us out. If after checking us out, you decide our culture is not for you, don’t give up on the collaborative coworking model – find (or create) a spot that’s suited for you. Just do something.

Global Entrepreneurship Week

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

Gangplank hopes to bring together the creativity, innovation and communities from our locations across the U.S. for GEW, November 12-18, 2012.

We are looking for individuals from each site who are passionate about promoting entrepreneurship as a way of life to join Gangplank’s GEW Planning Committee. If you are interested, please fill out the form below and our Global Operations Director will be in touch with you shortly. We look forward to working with you!

GP's Global Entrepreneurship Week Planning Committee

Thank a Mentor

Though many of our mentors make their living as professional consultants, they choose to donate their time to give back to the Gangplank community. Many startups and small companies can refer to the help of one of our fantastic mentors as a game changing moment in their business. We are incredibly grateful for their contribution and want to show them how much their donated time and services means to us.

If you’ve found the advice of our mentors useful in your business, please thank them by:

LinkedIn Recommendation
As we said, many of our mentors do this for a living. Give them a shout out they can add to their public LinkedIn profile. Click the links below for the respective mentor’s profile:

Ward Andrews
James Archer
Melissa Balkon
Mike Benner
Phillip Blackerby
Chris Conrey
David Cosand
Alan Dayley
Kevin Dixon
Michael Gillette
Jim Goulka
Ben Hall
Francine Hardaway
Mike Hawksworth
Michael Kasten
Justin Kroop
Amy Lamp
Brian LaPan
Bimal Merchant
Jeff Nielsen
Ed Nusbaum
Stuart Preston
Chuck Reynolds
Christie Simmons
Randy Spencer
Greg Taylor
Mark Wright

Tweet it to the World!
Use the #thankamentor or #whyGP hashtag when you send a 140 thank you note to the mentor of your choice. All the Twitter handles we could track down are below:

Ward Andrews
James Archer
Melissa Balkon
Mike Benner
Phillip Blackerby
Chris Conrey
David Cosand
Alan Dayley
Kevin Dixon
Ben Hall
Francine Hardaway
Justin Kroop
Amy Lamp
Brian LaPan
Ed Nusbaum
Stuart Preston
Chuck Reynolds
Christie Simmons
Randy Spencer
Greg Taylor

Write a Testimonial
Don’t have a LinkedIn profile? Email us a testimonial for your mentor to include on their website. We’ll make sure to pass it along.

Shaking Things Up

At Gangplank, we believe in order to have true collaboration and innovation, there has to be a little bit of chaos.

Our drop-in area and hot desks area always a crazy scene. People from all sorts of backgrounds and fields, mixing and mingling all day long. In their case, chaos is not a problem.

The trick is how to mix up 12 Anchor companies with more than 40 regular employees, to add some chaos into their day-to-day operations.

Hence the quarterly desk change.

Every 3-4 months, we shake up the space by moving Anchors around and making new collaborations between companies possible.

This time around, we REALLY went crazy. We’ve mixed in hot desks within the Anchor space and added a little lounge area by our stage.

Come in and check out our revamped space. It’ll mess with your head.

new gp 1024x256 Shaking Things Upphoto by chris conrey

Digging Into the Freelancer-Client Details

Guest post by Jake Poinier

We’ve all had the thrill of freelancer-client relationships that succeeded…and the agony that ensues when things don’t click. The 4th annual Freelance Forecast survey (which you can take here), digs into the details of the good, bad and ugly. One version of the survey is for freelancers, the other is for clients–and you’re welcome to take both if you subcontract to other freelancers, or are a client who moonlights on the side.

Some of the Freelance Forecast results have remained quite consistent from year to year: For example, word of mouth and referrals are the key to new business relationships, both for freelancers and clients. Freelancers’ major challenges come from uncertainty, low- or slow-paying clients, and unrealistic expectations…while client-siders don’t always get the quality of work, reliability, or communications that are essential to getting the job done. Alas, no surprises there!

Ultimately, the positive message is this: The vast majority of the issues that arise really are under the control of freelancers or clients, in their behaviors and business practices. Not every freelancer-client relationship is going to work. But by taking into consideration the needs and motivations of the opposite party, you can gain insights on increasing your odds. Freelance Forecast is designed to help you do that.
This year’s survey closes Feb. 15–thanks in advance to all the Gangplank creatives and clients who take a moment to participate in this year’s survey. And keep an eye out for the results in the coming weeks!

–Jake Poinier is the owner of a Phoenix-based copywriting and editorial services firm, Boomvang Creative Group, blogs regularly about freelance topics at DearDrFreelance.com, and wishes his schedule would enable him to play in the Gangplank hockey league more often.

Cereal Drive

Want to help a great local organization feed those in need?

cereal 289x300 Cereal DriveThe Chandler Christian Community Center is running low on cereal donations. If we all pitch in by grabbing an extra box while shopping or bringing in an extra box from the pantry, we can help give back to this wonderful community. Please spread the word to help CCCC provide for the families in your community.

Let’s help the CCCC have a surplus of cereal!

The drive starts Monday January 23rd and runs through February 3rd. Just deposit a box of cereal in the boxes at Gangplank Chandler (260 S Arizona Ave).

Questions, comments or pick-up of more boxes than you can handle can be directed to Melissa Conrey at melissa[at]melissaconrey.com.