Here we are at the end of this six-part reflection on Plank’s 20 years of history. Since we’ve published “Year in Review” posts for three out of the four years covered in this chapter, I’ve tried to unearth some of the “deep cuts” of Plank.

2015: Reaching Farther

At the beginning of 2015, we were basking in the recent launch of a new website for the legendary band Rush, and about have a high profile launch at Hot Docs of One Sweet App, an iOS companion app to the documentary Sugar Coated. We were also deep into a website redesign for our long-term…

2010: Transitions and growth

If one word can define the beginning of this decade, it’s “transition.” Despite a strong group of long-term clients, some major team changes began to shape Plank’s future.

After five years working with me to build Plank into a place that felt like a “grown-up” company, Allen Mendelsohn moved on. His time at Plank had deepened his knowledge and interest in the internet to the point where he decided to pursue a second Masters Degree specializing in Internet Law to merge his two career paths.

At the end of 2004, I took my first real vacation since starting the company; two weeks in Cuba for the wedding of two close friends and some needed rest. I was prepared to check in on the team regularly, but the only computer in the hotel could barely connect to the internet (at 1993 speeds). When I realized I would have no contact with the office, I’ll be honest, it was pretty liberating.

Over the trip I found myself digging into some deep conversation with Allen Mendelsohn, exploring where Plank had gotten to over the last five years and…

The Fabtastic Plankers (Steve, Christiane, Jenn, and Warren): by Luke Séguin-Magee circa 2002

Plank was founded in 1998, by some fresh university graduates hoping to make a go of it on our own. It wasn’t easy. The first chapter of our company history was full of ups and downs then, fortunately, ups again. Plank’s growing pains included more than a few layoffs, as we learned how to do that whole financial planning thing. …

In April I had the pleasure to visit Vancouver to attend the Canadian Museum Association and Museums and the Web annual conferences. They are two of the leading annual events for museum professionals, and a great place to learn more about the industry, meet new people and return inspired with new ideas. Since museums are one of the areas we are most passionate about at Plank, I’m happy I got the chance to immerse myself in thinking about them for days on end.

Ultimately, the technology and usability challenges of these essential organizations all come down to people. And the…

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

In the early 2000’s, just a couple of years after starting Plank, I learned that one thing that people who run companies do is go to events. Once I figured out it was something I was supposed to be doing, I started to do some research on conferences that I’d like to attend. After months of research, I decided to travel all the way to Austin and learn about this thing called “networking” at SXSW. I enjoyed the experience so much that I attended again in 2003, 2009, and finally in 2011.

When I last attended, seven years ago, I…

This is part one of a series of posts I’ll be sharing about Plank’s history in honour of our 20th anniversary. Stay tuned for the next instalment in February.

Plank officially came into being in December of 1998, when we filed papers with the city of Montreal to register as a company. That day would never have come without a series of personal discoveries and chance meetings. This is the pre-history of Plank.

The Early Years

Plank will mark 20 years in business at the end of 2018. We’re starting the celebrations now.

There came a time a few years ago, when I realized I had a bad habit of waxing nostalgic about Plank’s past. While I remain proud of all of our accomplishments over the years, what’s more important is applying what we’ve learned to the present and future of the company.

Living in the present

I’m lucky to have Steve and Jenn here, who have been with Plank since almost the beginning. Many of our clients have been with us for the better part of a decade. But the majority of the current team have been here three years or less. …

Sharpening our skills every day

While it’s been over 20 years since I graduated from university, September still brings that back-to-school vibe with it. It makes me want to buy a fresh notebook and start digging into an exciting new subject.

We’ve got education on the brain here at Plank, as we spent our summer not-vacation collaborating with three universities on a number of different projects — you can read about that work here. It’s gotten me thinking about how we encourage learning and skill development in the workplace, once we’ve left university behind.

Learning to Learn

My university experience shaped my life a great deal. It’s where…

Rethinking the road to success

Jerks have been on my mind lately.

The tech industry is full of stories about the jerks at the top. And the narrative usually fits into the “nice guys finish last” cliche, where success is seen as a result of being ruthless, and the ends justify the means. But I think we need to stop falling for this story. You can be ambitious without being cruel. I want to encourage people to think about what success really means and choose a kinder path to reach their goals.

“It’s not binary. You can be decent and gifted at the same time.”…

Warren Wilansky

Founder of Plank, a digital agency based in Montréal! Do’er of internet things since the 1990's

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