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.

photo 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, 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?

The 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]

Advocate for Passenger Rail

Arizona PIRG has been telling ADOT what they need to consider while studying passenger rail, such as putting the rail line along the route with the highest ridership potential and building stations in places where passengers have good access to public transit. Now it’s your turn to give ADOT your opinion.

Will you please send your thoughts about passenger rail connecting Phoenix and Tucson to the Arizona Department of Transportation?

By 2050, the drive between Phoenix and Tucson is expected to take more than five hours, even if we expand the I-10 to five lanes the entire way. As Arizona continues to grow, our infrastructure needs will continue to expand as well.

Tell ADOT today how important it is for Arizona to have passenger rail and what you think it should look like—just a few quick sentences is fine if you’re strapped for time.

‘Bots High’ Free Screening

Bots High is an exciting documentary following the adventures of three high school robotics teams battling for first place at the national robotics competition in Miami, Florida. It’s a no-holds-barred fight to the death with robot carnage everywhere you look.

The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering is hosting this free screening as a part of the world wide screening event on Thursday, October 6th at 6:30pm. The screening is at MADCAP Theaters, located in Downtown Tempe. Be sure to reserve your free tickets!

Downtown Chandler Community Garden

We have been working with the City of Chandler, Chandler Christian Community Center and Harvest for Humanity for the last six months to get a garden situated in Downtown Chandler. The vision was a garden for the community with the surplus going to feed the homeless at Chandler Christian Community Center. We are proud to say that they broke ground this last week!

Many people ask “What is a community garden?” and what are the benefits?

Here are some of the benefits.

  • Improves the quality of life for people in the garden
  • Provides a catalyst for neighborhood and community development
  • Stimulates Social Interaction
  • Encourages Self-Reliance
  • Beautifies Neighborhoods
  • Produces Nutritious Food
  • Reduces Family Food Budgets
  • Conserves Resources
  • Creates opportunity for recreation, exercise, therapy, and education
  • Reduces Crime
  • Preserves Green Space
  • Creates income opportunities and economic development
  • Reduces city heat from streets and parking lots
  • Provides opportunities for intergenerational and cross-cultural connections

If you want to find out more about community gardening happening at Gangplank, check out our Community Garden Forum. If you want to do some innovating gardening, check out the Garden Pool Story.

Chandler Project Receives International Downtown Association Award

One of the reasons Gangplank moved to downtown Chandler was the city’s commitment to improving walkability with an emphasis on building up[1]. The approval of the widening of Arizona Avenue for pedestrians was critical in our decision to move[2]. The International Downtown Association (IDA) is giving Chandler an award for public space improvement enhancing urban design, physical function and economic viability. It is great to see the IDA agrees Chandler is making a move in the right direction.

“Each year the IDA Awards Jury recognizes organizations that utilize best practices in our industry,” said David Downey, IDA President and CEO. “The South Arizona Avenue Improvements are a shining example of excellent downtown management that delivers real results[3].”

The Arizona Chapter of the American Public Works Association selected this project as “Project of the Year” and it is a finalist in the Valley Forward Association’s Environmental Excellence Awards. The project received the Build Arizona Award from the Arizona Chapter of the Associated General Contractors for municipal/utilities construction projects costing under $10 million (awarded in February) and the General Design Award from the Arizona Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (awarded in March).

[1] Gangplank Looking To Move Downtown
[2] Update on Gangplank Move
[3] Constructing Chandler’s Downtown Creative Class

Legos, Guitars and Handlebars

Come join us this weekend at Mesa Arts Center’s Guitars and Handlebars Season Kickoff Festival. Along with all of the great activities and live music, Gangplank Jr and Building Bonanza will be there hosting Lego events from 10am-4pm on Saturday and 10am-2pm on Sunday.

If you are already a part of the Gangplank Jr First Lego League, we will be unveiling this season’s mat and challenges.  From 10am-12pm on Saturday, we will assemble the boards for this year and discuss the various tactics we can use to achieve the missions. There will also be a Sumo bot challenge (2-4pm), a large master building session with Building Bonanza and a free robotics build to handle various challenges (12-2pm).

Sunday will start off with First Lego League information for this year’s challenges and a chasis build competition, followed by another master build session from the guys at Building Bonanza.

As if all of that wasn’t enough to excite you, a full size replica of a Harley Davidson will be built from Legos by certified Lego artist Nathan Sawaya over the course of the two days.  Don’t miss out on the family fun at this great event.

Become a KJZZ source

KJZZ, Phoenix’s NPR station, and its partner stations in the Fronteras regional news network want you to share your expertise and ideas! As part of a project called the Public Insight Network, KJZZ and Fronteras are recruiting as many and as wide a variety of people as possible to serve as sources.

Becoming part of the network is easy–just fill out one or both of these forms about what stories in your community aren’t being covered and what you know more about than most people. This project creates new ways for listeners and community members to help guide public radio towards important stories that are being missed. It also helps journalists better cover less traditional or less widely understood subject matter.

We think that everyone’s an expert in something, and we want you to share your expertise. Become a source for KJZZ and Fronteras today!