Dear Daniel Gerous:
Yeah, hi. I’m a fan. Of Gangplank, that is. Yep, been a fan for a while now, back when Gangplank was still mostly an idea. Back when Gangplank wasn’t physical and was shielded from what we could see, feel, or smell. There were no expectations back then. If we wanted to be a part of Gangplank, we just showed up.
Hacknights were cooler then. There was code on the screen, not performances by Animal and Johnny Cash’s second cousin banging on Rubbermaid cans*. People drank energy drinks, not hard liquor. Everyone watched. Podcasts were recorded. There was a buzz. An energy not quite palpable, but an emotional blast that sucked people in. It was a little dirty, a little out of place and a little chaotic.
And then we got popular. Your founders struck deals with multiple area businesses and even the Chandler government to become more of a centralized figure in the burgeoning East Side small business scene. Good work, we all wanted a nicer space to work out of.
But the move to Gangplank 3.0 was not entirely smooth. The biggest complaint wasn’t access to resources, availability of startup funds or even facetime with local mentors. It was desks. Yes, fucking desks. I’m telling you that a bunch of freelancers and small companies, neither of whom pay rent and typically only do what Gangplank staff asks of them, biggest complaint was where their fucking desks were. Again, no rent money is paid at Gangplank. Sure, the freelancers and companies bought the desks (IKEA, so under $200), which Gangplank agreed gave them the right to use those desks when they were there, but nothing in the sparse use of space agreement guarantees location or shape of your particular pod.
And now Gangplank isn’t dangerous, or to put it what is apparently Gangplank vernacular, “dangerosity” has left the building. There are more news crews now. Lots of guest workers. Brownbags, every Wednesday. Events most nights of the week. Support for local businesses, with discounts and free food. Some might call this safe, others might call it growing up.
Some people and companies won’t like this. Though they’ll be first in line to take the handouts when they arrive, they’ll bitch and moan about things not being interesting enough, but the search for more interesting always, always brings us back to being more so. Gangplank isn’t getting less dangerous, YOU are. We are. I am.
The new people aren’t being taught properly. Don’t see them staying after much, do ya? They seem to be pretty content with 9-5 like most of the world, but that creates quite an emptiness after the sun goes down and the creativity goes up. Any regulars invited someone new to an event lately, or did you bitch while on vacation?
It was easy in the beginning. The energy inside the building fed on itself and shit just happened. People stayed late (how often do many people even do that now?). Podcasts were recorded. Something was hacked (not GangplankHQ.com, either). Derek Neighbors talked and we listened. But seriously, fuck Derek. He never wanted to be a leader, only a guide. He was our Jobu. Fuck you, Jobu. We do it ourselves.
In the beginning, Gangplank provided the spark, now it expects the community to and we’re either not willing, or not able.
Point being, if you think “dangerosity” has left the building, then you’d better well damn try to get it back.
Or get out, because Gangplank shouldn’t, and hopefully won’t, be something for everyone. It will be what WE make it. The price of progress seems to be the willingness to accept that little will be done in the name of it. That’s not good enough for me, nor should it be for you.
*The fact they’re good and entertaining to watch isn’t mentioned by me here. I’m all for music and think we should have more of it, but too many things happening at once gets overwhelming. Perhaps an effort can be taken to play percussion instruments at a different time or day. But that’s not up to me nor should it be. All I wanted to clarify here is that Brandon Franklin and Nicholas DiBiase are a good listen and that I’d like to be able to enjoy their musical medley when I’m more appropriately settled.