Why you shouldn't miss Hacknights

Hacknights were started to provide an opportunity for like-minded individuals to connect, share ideas and launch new ventures in the community. Every Wednesday around quitting time, a hodge-podge of developers, bloggers, artists, techies and entrepreneurs are thrown together in one giant room – and crazy things happen.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to attend a Hacknight, here’s a taste.

Last night, more than 40 people showed up to Gangplank for Hacknight. Our first ever roller-hockey game was played in the loading area behind the building. Josh Strebel of Page.ly acted as videographer, riding around on the new Gangplank bike shooting the bloody battle. Injuries were sustained, with the Conrey-Hurst-Charland team pulling off a 3-1 victory. Who says girls can’t play?

In the midst of the game, lots was going on inside Gangplank. Nicholas Dibiase and Brandon Franklin struck up an impromptu jam session, playing percussion and guitar for attendees enjoyment. Also on the music front, Stern Savage stopped by to drop off a sneak preview of his mixtape, to be released July 31st.

Hacking activities were in full swing as well. Heat Sync Labs set up a lock picking table, with various levels to challenge Hacknight attendees. Nick Hammond managed to pick all the locks, save the hardest.

And of course, what’s a Hacknight without a ridiculously awesome YouTube video about college sports?

Even with all the distractions and activities, Hacknights main draw is the amazing conversations between people. Artists, musicians, dating advice bloggers, marketing consultants and coders discussing sports, differences between the sexes and getting to know one another. These initial meetings are the stepping stones that create projects and passions that move the world.

Why miss out?

Linchpin Meetup Recap

Last night, 40+ people assembled at Gangplank to discuss the book Linchpin, written by marketing guru Seth Godin. The book discusses the idea of making yourself so good at what you do that you are indispensable, and that causing disruption by rapidly eschewing traditional models for new ones is a worthy endeavor.

The Linchpin meetup, put on by Tyler Hurst and Stealthmode, broke attendees into groups to discuss key concepts from the book, including overcoming fear, qualities of leadership, our current education system and the importance of learning to lose. Each group presented on their topics with a discussion portion following each presentation.

Many of the participants had recently left Corporate America and were starting ventures of their own. Their interest in attending the event stemmed from wanting to meet others that were in a similar positions for encouragement, ideas and general networking. Throughout the evening connections were made, relationships were formed and attendees walked away with some insight into their own status as a Linchpin, and where they might improve.

For coverage of the event, as well as an interesting take on startups in this economy, check out ABC 15’s video. Also, listen to Gangplank Studio episodes 35 and 36 to hear attendees discuss what the word Linchpin means to them.

New staff member

mustache 150x150 New staff member

Hey, I’m Katie Charland, the new Director of Operations for Gangplank.

Last week, Gangplank welcomed me as its first full-time staff member. Though I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of you through various events, I’ve got a long way to go if I hope to get to know the 2,000+ Gangplank members and fans.

Gangplank means something different to each person that walks through its doors. My journey to this position started over 3 years ago when I began teaching.

Fresh off my bachelors degree in poli sci and communications, I was looking for an in to Chicago politics. On a whim, I applied to Teach for America and was accepted as a 7th grade history teacher on the border of Mexico and Texas. This experience forever altered my life, as I became passionate about nonprofit causes.

After my 2-year contract was up, I moved to Arizona to pursue a graduate degree at ASU. My masters program focused on public relations for nonprofits. In May 2009, I graduated and went off into the world.

And what a crappy world it was. Recession, Arizona unemployment hovering around 10% — ouch. Having become involved in the social media/PR scene, I was able to contract myself out for various small projects. It was during this time I was introduced to Gangplank.

At the beginning, I was terrified. Here I am, a tech/social networking newbie and (gasp) blackberry user, surrounded by the hacker elite of the Valley. Intimidated? Hell yeah.

But what’s great about Gangplank is its welcoming spirit. People love to chat and network.

Not only that, Gangplank is an organization with tremendous potential. All I had to do was ask if I could help plan events for Gangplank and was instantly assigned to brown bags.

Now I’m staff (though still not an iPhone convert). That’s my Gangplank story.

I want to hear yours.

Just as Gangplank means something different to each person, everyone has a stake in the organization’s future. What is your experience with Gangplank? What would you like to see it become?

Schedule a chat with me.

Get Healthy. SanTan Sun Family Fun Run!

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One initiative we are looking to get more serious about in 2010 is physical health.  Especially with Gangplank Jr.  It is time to have a healthier America.  In the spirit of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move“, we are encouraging people to participate in the 2nd Annual SanTan Sun Family Fun Run on April 11th at Tumbleweed Park in Chandler, AZ.  It helps support a great community youth organization ICAN while promoting healthy choices.  Please join us as we walk for our future.

St. Mary's Foodbank Food Drive Numbers

Today’s mail contained a thank you letter letting us know that your contributions helped feed 2,826 families in July. At a time when the economy was at it’s very bottom you helped many make it through. This holiday season will be one of the roughest on record for many families. Please continue to support St Marys and donate throughout the holiday season.

20091123 q9j3m9ndwntj9yfgxuad3s5u5x St. Mary's Foodbank Food Drive Numbers