What Exactly Is Gangplank?

We have found ourselves in the press and in front of powerful people more than we are comfortable with lately.  The first thing that people ask is “What is Gangplank”.  Our problem has always been explaining it in a sentence or two without feeling like we are doing it a complete dis-service.  We had been playing around with changing some branding, but ended up talking to Greg Head, of New Avenue, who has a bit of experience in positioning companies.  It made sense to wrangle him in and ask him to help us regain our focus and tell our story.

We went through a great exercise with him.  We started with trying fill out this template.

To target market, Gangplank is the category that provides unique benefit.
Unlike competition, Gangplank does x.

Target Market
– Metro Phoenix
– Knowledge Worker
– Creative Class
– New Economy
– Startup

Final: Innovative companies and creative people

– Infrastructure Creator
– Creative Economy Catalyst
– Place
– Movement

Final: Collaborative Workspace

Unique Benefits
– New Economy Jobs/Companies Startups
– Infrastructure To Create
– People Who Can Help
– Fulfilling Work

Final: Infrastructure and community that creates the new economy

At this point we had hit the allotted two hours we set a side to start.  We were all curious to see what we considered competition and we were on a roll, so we listed some competition, but we never came up with the final.

– Traditional Companies
– Social Media
– Lone Wolf Entrepreneurs
– Incubators
– Coworking
– Executive Suites

Final: Not yet defined

Additionally, we never got to talk about the Gangplank does… We hope to hit both these in the future.  In the meantime, we came up with a pretty good focusing statement.

To innovative companies and creative people, Gangplank is the collaborative workspace that provides infrastructure and community that creates the new economy.

The most revealing thing to us and something that everyone else had clued in on better than us.  Gangplank is indeed a PLACE at it’s very core.

We struggled a lot with the target market.  Something that came up over and over in discussion was “people that get it” vs “people that don’t fit”.  So we decided to break down what that meant as the discussion went on.

People That Get It

hungry, passion, encouraging, ethic, collaborate, participate, plugin, help, connect, cooperate, creative, social, the new way, inspired, tribe, community, danger, adventure, future-minded, non-traditional, post-industrial, un-machine, excellence, learn, share

People That Don’t Fit

bureaucrat, 9 to 5 mentality, ego too big, loner, not familiar with new ethic, secretive, greedy, old school

It is important to note that this is a work in progress.

9 thoughts on “What Exactly Is Gangplank?

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  3. Mike,

    There was no intent to be negative. When we were trying to define the target it was deemed to important to define who the target market was not. That said remember that its “target”. That doesnt mean anyone not in that target is excluded or not welcome. It just means that our focus isn’t on them.

    New ethic was something Greg coined to encompass some of the ideals/behaviors that had been repeated a few times. It might be easiest stated as someone who aligns themselves with the principles of the manifesto.

    Posting something like this is pretty transparent. I am not sure how doing so would indicate that we are “secretive”. I can see how some could see it as “ego too big”, but in reality we are comfortable enough in ourselves that we asked someone from outside gangplank to come in and help facilitate a discussion like this and give us their honest feedback.

  4. I find it interesting that you have gone beyond the “target market” to include “people that don’t fit”. It seems a bit negative to exclude certain people that are “old school”, “secretive”, “not familiar with new ethic”, etc. without further defining the people that you apparently don’t want hanging around. I don’t know what the hell “new ethic” is (perhaps this should be in your manifesto?) and in creating this exclusivity you, yourselves, take on the labels of “secretive” and, quite possibly, “ego too big”.

  5. I’m really interested to see what Gangplank (thinks it) does (in real doing-terms.) For example, while HeatSync is a place, it also builds physical things as an end-product. Without any physical build-ing, HeatSync lacks purpose. I wonder if Gangplank limits itself to a supporting role, or if it has a unifying verb behind it.

  6. Chuck, completely agree. I wrote a personal blog post in how good it feels to get it down and out in the wild. Should show up on my blog in the next couple of days!

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