Valley leaders envision Phoenix as the next great tech mecca. Meet the motivated entrepreneurs who hope to hoist our economy into the 21st Century.
From the outside, little distinguishes Gangplank from the Valley's many ordinary brown stucco buildings. It sits in a neat line of commercial spaces facing Chandler's main drag near the modern city hall. But inside, the future of Arizona's economy toils away.
Rows of young and not-so-young business visionaries sit in rapt concentration at their computers, surrounded by high, exposed black ceilings and a cerulean blue wall. Near the door, a huge screen lists the week's events: guitar lessons, a software engineering reading group, a lunch-and-learn. A 3-D printer idles against the back wall. The people in this "collaborative workspace" are like the printer – beta-stage innovators sustained by potential and promise.
Concentration breaks in the back hallway, where multiple conversations converge as people circulate through off-shooting rooms. It feels chaotic. "It's very chaotic," agrees Shon Burton, founder of Gangplank-based HiringSolved, which aggregates job candidate data into its search engine. "Welcome to Gangplank."
Along with a dozen or so similar ventur