ATIF Takes Office Hours @ Gangplank

We believe that access to mentors, advisers and capital is vital in starting up new companies.  We are happy to announce that Arizona Technology Investor Forum (ATIF) has agreed to participate in Gangplank Office Hours on a regular basis.  We will be inviting other key people in Metro Phoenix to do the same.  Don’t be shy.  Use these VALUABLE resources.  They are willing to give their time and you should take advantage of it.

First up is Paul Winandy ATIF’s Managing Director.  Grab a slot for Thursday March 18th before they are gone.  Here is some history about Paul.

Over the course of his 20 year career, Paul has been a leading contributor to four successful startup businesses; two of which were named to the Inc. 500 list and concluded with acquisitions by public firms.  Paul is an active angel investor and currently the Managing Director of the Arizona Technology Investor Forum (ATIF), a local angel investing group.  Constantly attracted to innovative technology ventures, Paul enjoys helping entrepreneurs navigate the startup challenges and achieve commercial success.

Career highlights include:

  • Partner at Solutions Consulting, an IT consulting firm specializing in ERP and Supply Chain software applications (acquired by Perot Systems in March 2000)
  • Director at Khimetrics, a leading software firm specializing in revenue optimization (acquired by SAP in November 2005)
  • COO for SkillSurvey, a startup web-services firm providing online reference assessment tools (currently in expansion phase)
  • Managing Director of the Arizona Technology Investor Forum (ATIF)
  • Screening Committee member for the Desert Angels
  • Awarded Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 2008

Gangplank Jr Fire Fighters

Gangplank Junior spent a morning with the fine men and women from the Chandler Fire Department.  They went through the training facility and got a glimpse of what it takes to be a part of fire company.


The got to operate the equipment that paramedics use on the scene of an accident as first responders.  They operated and toured both an Engine and a Ladder truck.  It was impressive to see the rigorous training that the fire fighters go through on a regular basis.


We look forward to doing something similar with the Chandler Police Department in the near future.

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.

Update on Gangplank Move

Last month we talked about “Gangplank looking to move downtown“.  We have been actively pursuing a move since June 2009.  We knew that we wanted to be more involved in the creating of a new economy.

To accomplish this we need to be in a city that wants and values the same things we do.   We have been really happy with Chandler and over the last three months have really started to get involved with their downtown.  It became clear very quickly that they embody the same spirit as Gangplank when it comes to their civic planning and downtown.  The business owners, landlords, developers, council and staff all are rowing in the same direction and striving to be the leader in technology of the Phoenix-Tucson mega region over the next 20 years.  They have shown they want to be the place “Where the creative class grows up”.

They had four initiatives in place that we felt were necessary to pass before we could consider them as a viable option.  These initiatives were important for a number of reasons.  First and foremost their adoption meant they were serious about becoming a creative class city and committed to technology.  Secondly, it would prove that they had the ability to work together to make an impact in their city.

  1. Widening of Arizona Avenue (committed to being connected/walkable/creative class)
  2. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Connection to Light Rail (committed to being connected/major player mega region)
  3. Innovations Incubator (committed to innovation/major player mega region)
  4. Update to General Plan / Design Guidelines (committed to urban infill/density/creative class) next council meeting

Last week was the approval of #1 and in good faith was enough to solidify for us that the City of Chandler has the right mix and a commitment to the creative class.  We have engaged with land developers Desert Viking and Peter Sciacca on developing a 15,000sqft facility in the historic Thomas Building in downtown.  We will have more information as the negotiations progress and as things get underway.  We are excited to become immersed in the community and really get involved on a much deeper level.  Things are already underway that are making a major impact for both Chandler and Gangplank including new developments with Gangplank Junior.

Exposed Historical Wooden Trusses

Plans to Put on a Second Story (Stop Sprawl/Go Up)

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.

2009: The state of the Plank address

Hey there kids,

This is strebel, and today I sat down with Daniel Gerous the CEO of Gangplank and asked him a few questions as to where this thing called Gangplank is going and what’s in store for the future. I also threw in some more worldly questions to really try to understand what makes him tick.

JS: Daniel, thank you for taking  the time to sit down with me today. I know your schedule is pretty hectic of late. Can you tell us what you have been up to?

DG: First, thank you for having me in today Joshua, I have been following your exploits of late and I must say.. that burn on @conrey was classic! [chuckle] I have been focusing a lot of my attention of late on community outreach and building momentum for the movement.

JS: The movement? Please explain.

DG: Well see Gangplank is many things.. to some it is a physical place, a building, where they come to work and socialize. To others it is a source of capital and mentorship for start-ups, for many it is an idea. An idea that Phoenix can be more than Cotton, Real Estate, and Cactus – or whatever the dumb cliche is. For far too long Phoenix has been stuck in a funk, a technology backwater. Think about it.. you have few notable exceptions like Motorola, Intel, Microage, and Salesforce/ACT. But really.. what else is there. Besides those few OLD SKOOOL exceptions.. and few recent ones like GoDaddy, Phoenix [metro] is 20 years behind the likes of the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago.. even little old Boulder, CO is clowning us on the new-tech front. There is.. er was.. no innovation culture here.

JS: Yeah.. I hate that guy Andrew Hyde.. all he ever talks about is Boulder this, Boulder that.. wish one would fall on him.

DG: Exactly. Phoenix is huge, and filled with many many many smart people, just waiting for something to happen. And I would like to think that Gangplank is that something.

JS: How So?

DG: In the 5, maybe 6 months now we have been doing this.. with the help of the smart people on board; We are changing EVERYTHING. There is a new vibe in town. Sure the Economy overall is hurting, but the guys I talk to, and the business that operate out of gangplank, are doing exciting things, and never seem to be hurting for business. Overall we want to do 1 thing. Make Phoenix awesome. Make people proud to say they are from Phoenix. We are doing that by making our facilities open for use by freelancers, user groups, even the Microsoft peeps are on board. We planted a seed, and it is growing.. fast, like some weird mutant hybrid weed of awesome.

JS: Nice.. So Whats Next for Gangplank?

DG: Well I cant divulge all the secrets, but I can say this. We are moving into [business] spaces, making partnerships, and talking to people now, that will in the near and long term future insure that Phoenix is always in the conversation. From Capital investment to Creative Mecca… it is all within our reach.

JS: So Dan, what’s in it for you?

DG: Truthfully.. nothing tangible. Maybe I can get a date with a movie star or something out of it. I do it because it has to be done.

JS: So what are your thoughts on the election and our new president?

DG: I am agnostic in my political views, I’ll back whatever or whom ever can help the most people. So far Obama seems to be hitting the ground running.. That is a good thing to do whether you are president or peasent. Do work, and do it well.

JS: So a while back some interweb celebs were here, did you get a chance to meet them?

DG: No I didn’t unfortunatly, I was away on business.. I seem to be always away on business… hence this silly rumor that I dont even exist.  Bollocks.. I did hear though that @Garyvee is terrible at wii tennis.

JS: True Story.. he sucks. So Any final thoughts for our viewers? All 2 of them?

DG: Well my grandpa was a farmer, in Ohio.. and he had one rule to live by. He would say, “Dan, no matter how much cow shit sticks to your boots, you can still walk”.

JS: HAHAhaha..

DG: No really.. It took me a while to understand it, but today I embrace it. Think about it.. Also I just want to say thanks all the folks that make Gangplank possible. The anchor companies (Integrum, Drawbackwards, Obu, Forty, BestPartyEver, Stealthmode, sStitch) and all the freelancers and cool kids that show up and make it a great place to work and play.

JS: Thanks for sitting down with me today Daniel, I look forward to more cool stuff from Gangplank

DG: Thank you for having me.. As long as people want more for Phoenix, and themselves; Gangplank will be here.

New Feed Addresses

We got with the program and burned all the feeds so we can track your awesome participation. Please Subscribe or update your settings:

Main Gangplank Site Feed (Aggregates all content); 

Gangplank Studios Podcast only feed:

Rock on party people, rock on.

PS: We’ll have more feeds in the near term, specifically for event schedules and Academy sessions (video)

0-60 in 90 days with Date Designer

Beau Frusetta shares his start-up experience working within the Gangplank Incubator. Beau’s web app, DateDesigner helps you build a better date.

The Gangplank Academy hosts discussions from local experts, entreprenuers, and creatives every Wednesday at 11:45pm (lunch hour).  Free admission, stay all afternoon into the evening for Hacknight.