Re: Gangplank Looking To Move Downtown

This is a reply to a post here: http://gangplankhq.com/2009/11/gangplank-looking-to-move-downtown/

Whether Tempe is a poser or Phoenix is sucky or Chandler is a thriving tech incubator is somewhat diluted by their public perception. I think perception is reality– if the public thinks something, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Moving Gangplank to Buckeye would be a harder sell than moving it to Downtown Phoenix– people would whine either way, but Buckeye isn’t perceived as a technological place whereas Downtown Phoenix seems like an objectively logical choice. I’ve only lived in Phoenix since ’04, but Chandler/Mesa/Gilbert doesn’t seem like an objectively logical choice for technology incubators. It might be in practicality, but I think that would shock most Valley residents, and so unfortunately you’re working against public perception which is an uphill battle.

It’s hard to be “the best collab space in Phoenix” if you’re actually 10 miles outside of Phoenix and a 30 minute drive from the city center. If Gangplank doesn’t want to be, that’s fine, but it’d be helpful to explicitly state this so guys like myself don’t write short blog-essays in vain.

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2 thoughts on “Re: Gangplank Looking To Move Downtown

  1. Peter Sciacca says:

    I agree regarding the perception issue.
    A.) let’s change perception. and B.) commuting is ever changing.

    IF… I had to make a choice based soley on your comment (public perception equating self fulfilling prophecy): “Tempe is a poser or Phoenix is sucky or Chandler is a thriving tech incubator” It’s an easy obvious choice.

  2. will says:

    Thanks for the comment, Peter!

    While situations are always fluid and changing perceptions is a noble goal, I stand by my philosophy. If the public considers downtown Phoenix/Scottsdale/Tempe as being the centers of technology and commerce, then placing Gangplank outside of those areas runs counter to public opinion. Thus, the owners of Gangplank will likely encounter issues when talking about commutes, community, infrastructure, synergy, etc. They’ll be consistently marginalized by everything from regional transportation planning down to attracting the general public to visit Gangplank (let alone work there.) The sole exception would be people who already live/work nearby or are willing to move closer– but that leaves most of the Valley still out-of-reach. Personal example: I think Liberty Market is the best restaurant I’ve been to in ages, but my conversations with friends go something like this:

    “You gotta visit Liberty Market, they have the best breakfast I’ve ever tasted.”
    “Okay, where’s it at?”
    “Downtown Gilbert, by the water tower.”
    “Hah! Yeah, that’s way too far.”
    “What do you mean, you live on Camelback and 30th St.”
    “Sure but I’m not driving all the way to Gilbert for breakfast.”

    Now I’m sure attracting Phoenix residents isn’t a significant part of Liberty Market’s business plan, but if it were it would be sorely hurting from its location despite its amazing food. I drive from Mill Ave in Tempe to Gilbert to eat breakfast at Liberty Market almost weekly, and I think this has more to do with my perception of the cost of driving there moreso than the actual costs of time/gas spent driving, or population density, or even what other cool things are nearby– I think it’s just pure perception. Gilbert is “the middle of nowhere” to half the Valley, whereas I think most of the Valley will agree that downtown Tempe/Scottsdale/Phoenix is “where it’s at” whether or not that’s actually true.

    This issue comes up a lot when creating physical community gathering points– there’s a tug of war between wherever the majority of members live (usually also the current location) and the “regional center” which is promised to be more accessible to the general public. My point is simply that ignoring the regional center is in effect ignoring the general public, because the center is “the center” for a reason and creating new “centers” is a long tiresome process. I prefer one unified strong center rather than tugs-of-war between the real center and a wannabe-center. (This isn’t to say that suburbs should never get anything nice– but wouldn’t it be weird if the Wells Fargo building were in Cave Creek, or if Joe’s Farm Grill were on Camelback Corridor? Some things sacrifice accessibility, others require it to survive. I don’t make Gangplank’s decisions, but I want to put my multi-paragraph vote in for public accessibility over SE-Valley convenience.)

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