Community Meeting Notes, July 23, 2014

Note: We did not hold a July 21st meeting.

Red Bull Wings Team Visit, Monday, July 28th, 2014

Whether its Mountain Dew, Monster, or Red Bull, Gangplankers are no strangers to sugary, caffeinated drinks, regardless of what the GP Chandler Health Initiative will say.

Our relationship with Red Bull goes even deeper though, as they regularly send the “Red Bull Wings Team” to share free samples at various events of ours, including last weekend’s Startup Weekend Chandler. This week, a regional marketing director asked a special favor of us. They are filming a new training video for the “Wings Team” and need an office/work environment to use. Because they love the layout and atmosphere of Gangplank, they’d like to fill that need at our space.

The community discussed whether this was okay. We agreed yes, given the condition that everyone be provided with adequate warning and an option to not participate. It was also asked that they turn on the cameras only after they’ve announced their arrival.

The “Wings Team” and video crew will be at GP Chandler around 11am to 1pm on Monday, July 28th. You’ve been notified!

Downloading on Startup Weekend Chandler

The Startup Weekend Chandler organizing team wishes to thank all who helped out and/or participated in last weekend’s Startup Weekend Chandler event.

Our winning team was Rival Ripper, which included GP Chandler regulars Michael and Hans M., and runner up was Shark Bite Boards, featuring the work of our own Jenna C. Congrats and good luck everyone!

Trish G. announces departure from role as Executive Director

Trish G. has been playing the role of Executive Director of the global Gangplank organization for nearly two years. She announced that she will be leaving her role effective 8/8. She thanked us for our support and encouraged us to keep up the good work. She said that she still will be around to a varying degree, depending a lot on what her next career move entails. THANK YOU TRISH!

260 Update/#90days #blameJade

Construction on 260 has slowed to a near-halt the last few months and Trish G. provided us an update.

“The delays are caused by needing to re-think a few design issues. Older buildings come with hidden surprises, and ours is no exception. That said, work was active this week and should pick back up again soon.”

Awesome!

Upcoming City of Chandler Contract Renewal

The GP Chandler team is preparing to submit paperwork to the city to renew our city contract that provides a majority of the funding from the city for Gangplank Chandler. Keep your ears open for ways you can personally support this. The council is expected to vote on this topic later this year.

Discussion on the Future of the Brownbag

Jeremy S. announced his commitment to restoring quality to the Brownbag programming.

Jeremy S. assembled a team of supporters for Brownbags that will keep them running smoothly from here forward. He wishes to point out the following people for their support: Jeremy S. (Scheduling, Lead), Catherine L (Speaker Support), Ita U. (Video Recording, Emcee), Jody H (Promotions, Video Recording & Emcee Backup), and Hans M (Post Brownbag Blogging).

Because Brownbags are important to the current city contract, he explained how he made a strong effort to schedule out Brownbags for the remainder of the year. He explained that this is merely a patch, however, because recent lackluster support for Brownbags are a consequence of many in the community seeing them as having lost value.

Trish G. and Jeremy S. explained that a new vision for the Brownbag is being discussed for implementation in the new year. They will seek further feedback from interested persons and finalize the details later. That said, they previewed the concept:

In the beginning, Brownbags were an opportunity to teach and learn. In a lot of cases, the teacher was merely sharing a recently acquired knowledge of their own. It was a weekly personal and professional development hour for Integrum and Forty. Since then, the Brownbag grew from a small, in-house training event to a speaker’s event that moved more toward an inspirational storytelling and/or pitch platform. We are not Tedx or Ignite, but in a way, we act like one. This means the training and learning value has been replaced with an entertainment value at times, and therefore lacks much value to the average Gangplanker. Our vision is to return to the concept of learning and teaching knowledge to the peer-to-peer inside. We want to introduce the concept of Learning Loops, and we’d like to challenge the community to bring the Brownbag back to an event of the community where outsiders are welcome versus an event where we bring outsiders in that don’t resonate as well with the community.

As this idea is further developed, more details will be shared. If this reboot plan goes forward, it will take effect in early 2015.

Next Week’s Brownbag: Kieran Thompson on Kickstarting a Local Film

All that said, the Wednesday, July 30th, Brownbag will be Kieran Thompson speaking on the experience of Kickstarting the Production of a Local Film. His description:

In March 2012, a group of local Arizona filmmakers used Kickstarter to fund the production of our first feature film. “Broken Leg”, raised over $24,000 from over 200 backers. I’ll share what we learned while planning and executing a successful campaign and discuss how we’ve engaged our backers throughout the entire life of the project. “Broken Leg” will be released on DVD, Blu-ray,m and online August 1st.

Please share this with friends and colleagues! It promises to have some deep insight into running a Kickstarted campaign, as well as some entertaining stories from an up-and-coming Arizona industry.

1st Annual AZChaserCon Recap

Last week, I had the pleasure of welcoming Christian Cleary (@monsoon_madness) and the Arizona Storm Chaser community to Gangplank to host the first (and hopefully annual) Arizona Storm Chaser Convention, or AZChaserCon.

Storm chasers play a key role in assisting intergovernmental organizations in understanding local weather events while they also help the local and national news report many of the fascinating Arizona weather events with their photos, videos, and stories. Arizona has some uniquely beautiful and fascinating weather events that are only known to the world by the work of these dedicated citizen scientists and their thrilling antics in the southwest deserts.

Christian Cleary, known best by his twitter handle @monsoon_madness, knows the power of community and collaboration in the tight-knit circle that makes up local storm chasers, government meteorologists, and news media. He was inspired to bring everyone together and found Gangplank to be the perfect host.

During the day-long event, held Saturday June 14th, Christian welcomed the likes of 3TV’s Royal Norman, 12 News’s Dr Matt Price, and National Weather Service’s Dr Ken Waters, as well as many members of chaser and citizen science community. They came together to collaborate, socialize, learn, and share the crazy antics of their hobby as they ready for another Arizona Monsoon season. There was community socializing, occasional jokes about haboobs, nerdy weather talk, and tons of great pictures of local storms.

I asked Chris to share more about his event and he wrote this for us:

Gangplank is the definition of community. When you walk through the door, the environment is uplifting, full with positive vibes and great people. And if you’re tech savvy, trust me, this is the place to be.

I live in Chandler and have a huge passion for weather. I storm chase the monsoon storms as well as tornadoes on the Great Plains. Recently, I decided to host a conference specifically for chasing the AZ monsoon that would bring weather enthusiasts, weather professionals, scientists, spotters, and storm chasers together to network, share experience, and inspire one another. A friend suggested I look into Gangplank as a possible venue.

I scheduled a time to meet with Chris L, who gave me a tour and invited me to host my event there. He also introduced me to Eileen K and the two of them helped guide me and set this conference up. On the day of the event, Jeremy S volunteered his time to host us and helped me with technical issues.

On June 14th, I hosted the first ever Arizona Chaser Conference at Gangplank, Chandler. The event exceeded all of my expectations. All of the people who attended the conference had nothing but great things to say. They enjoyed the facilities and the conference. Huge shout out to Chris, Eileen, Jeremy, and the whole Gangplank Community for making this possible. I can’t wait to host AZChaserCon next year at this amazing place. I hope that I can give back to the Gangplank community what they have given me. Without their support and sponsorship I would not have been able to host this event.

Well, Chris, let me give you and your people some praise too: you guys were a great group and gracious considerate guests. We loved having you join our community and share yours with us. We look forward to AZChaserCon ’15!

For more info check these out:

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.