GP Brownbag: 'Opportunities in a time of mass upheaval'

Everyone loves free stuff. Unfortunately, most big companies are out to make money and dislike giving away their products for free.

Then Shwaag came along.

The company’s CEO Eric Keosky-Smith has taken local social media by storm with the concept of social powered generosity. His site gives away premium products, such as Amazon Kindle, to encourage real generosity by brands and promote consumer loyalty. Members get a shot at unique, high-quality products and the participating companies get advertising through social media buzz and happy customers.

Keosky-Smith has a long history with developing marketing strategies that break new ground. With over 25 years experience in technology and consumer marketing, he’s been behind some of the largest product launches and initiatives of the past decade.

His extensive history may be why he had trouble picking a topic – there’s just so much be wants to share with Valley-area entrepreneurs! His topic, ‘Opportunities in a time of mass upheaval’ will encompass many of the subjects he wanted to cover, including marketing and relationships in a social media world, as well as how to bridge generation/technology gaps in business.

Wednesday, June 16th @ Noon
Bring your lunch (and questions).

Gangplank Updates

Looking to reserve permanent space at Gangplank?

You’ve been to Gangplank a few times and you like what you see. If you’re thinking about setting up a more permanent base of operations, we now have a “Gangplank Space Request” form to streamline the demand. You can find the form on Gangplank’s website under the ‘Participate‘ and ‘Collaborative‘ tabs.

There is no fee to make Gangplank your base of operations. Our wifi, conference rooms and podcasting studio are at your disposal. We simply ask that you respect the space and work of fellow Gangplank members, as well as be willing to collaborate with the community.

Um….brown bags?

We want you to there! Our guests are at their best with a live audience that keeps them on their toes with lively discussion and questions.

But if you absolutely can’t make it…

Yes, we are filming them. Yes, the video will be posted to the website as soon as is possible after the talk. We also will be posting summaries of the presentations and providing information about speakers to come. If you can’t make it to the brown bags each week, best bet is to bookmark this blog.

Have a speaker suggestion? Let’s hear it!

Phoenix Crowd Pitch

What:
This event will bring entrepreneurs, innovators, mentors, support providers, and investors together in an informal and energetic setting.

Think ´American Idol´ — selected entrepreneurs will have 4 minutes to pitch their company to both a panel of experts & a live audience, followed immediately by a 3-minute Q&A session with the panel.

A free networking dinner will follow the formal pitch.

When:
May 26, 2009
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Where:
The Marriott – The Buttes Resort (in the Amphitheater room)
2000 Westcourt Way
Tempe, AZ 85282

Useful links:
Event Registration
Event Details

Video of previous CrowdPitches:
http://www.youtube.com/fundinguniverse#p/u/3/7WCdwfugRM4
http://www.youtube.com/fundinguniverse#p/u/4/2IJdTmqVDb4
http://www.youtube.com/fundinguniverse#p/a/u/2/1i_gLse4JjM

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

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)