Looking back and moving forward
Plank has been around for almost 20 years. Realizing that has gotten us thinking about where we’ve come from and where we’re going. A good chunk of our current clients have been with us for half of that time, and we’re grateful and proud of the relationships we’ve built. In that spirit of reflection, we’re looking at the past year in Plankstory.
For Plank, 2016 was a year of changes, tweaks, adjustments and upgrades. We embarked on some experiments and new ways of working. We embraced Trello, tried out Hubspot, got more agile, and overhauled our own website. We’ve been making efforts to keep in touch with our community through events, hack days, and more frequent journal posts. We’re in strong shape heading into 2017, and looking forward to tackling bigger challenges in the year ahead.
Over the past year, we said hello to a few new faces at Plank HQ, while bidding a fond farewell to others who moved on to new challenges. After all was said and done, we come out of 2016 with net +1 new Planker. This year Steve Bissonnette really grew into his leadership role with the company, assuming the title of Managing Partner. Another milestone was Creative Director Jennifer Lamb celebrating her 10th Plank-iversary.
We said hello 🙂
…and goodbye 🙁
We celebrated our fantastic team on our annual Plank Appreciation Day in August with some fun escapades around town. We escaped from prison at A/Maze Montreal, checked out the Musée des Beaux-Arts, and took in the view from the top of Place Ville Marie. And tacos, never forget tacos. Our holiday feast of tasty Thai food was the perfect way to toast the year that was and the holidays to come.
Other causes for celebration were the arrival of Jason Koskie’s twins on March 23rd, Sean Fraser’s wedding on August 20th, and John Hodges’ wedding on October 29th. A heartfelt congratulations to all of them!
2016 saw Plank launch 3 shiny new websites: evenko, Celtic Soul, and From Vimy to Juno. In 2017, we’ll be adding a series of interactive components to From Vimy to Juno, funded by the Virtual Museum of Canada. We continued supporting our friends at Evolocity with modern web design, code and site updates so they will never need another relaunch. We also wrapped up a couple of interesting projects in partnership with Comunika.
Progress continued on the big relaunch of The Sun Magazine, our partners for 10 years. Launching in early 2017, the site will include the full 40-year archive of the magazine. We celebrated 7 years with Culture Days and 13 years with the Fantasia Festival (who celebrated their 20th anniversary this year). In 2017, we’ll be revamping the Fantasia website to be fully responsive on mobile.
Our ongoing partnership with evenko is now in its 9th year. We’re excited to be expanding our work with Canada’s top promoter to develop the online homes of three of Montreal’s favourite festivals, Osheaga, Heavy MTL, and Ile Soniq. 2017 will also see the launch of two other evenko websites – for Centre Bell and Place Bell.
We went places
Our team attended a total of 12 different conferences, from Toronto to Texas. That’s a grand total of 40,300 kilometers. On top of that, Warren spent well over 100 hours on the train between Montreal and Toronto alone. When are we getting high-speed rail, anyway?
- Owner Summit | February 8-9 2016 | Atlanta, GA | Warren Wilansky & Steve Bissonnette
- Lone Star PHP | April 7 – 9 2016 | Dallas, TX | Sean Fraser
- Canadian Museum Association National Conference | April 11 – 15, 2016 | Halifax, NS | Warren Wilansky
- Hot Docs | May 2 – 7 | Toronto, ON | Warren Wilansky
- Owner Camp 12 | May 11 – 14 | Montreal QC | Warren Wilansky (co-hosted by Plank)
- Smashing Conference NYC | June 14 – 15 | NYC, NY | Debbie Rouleau
- Hope XI | July 22 – 24 | NYC, NY | Debbie Rouleau
- Forge Conference | September 6 | Philadelphia, PA | Warren Wilansky
- DPM Summit | October 12 – 14 | San Antonio, TX | Jason Koskie & Andrew Rose
- CSS Dev Conf | October 17 – 19 | San Antonio, TX | Jerome Devillers & Stéphane Boileau
- Digital Marketing Bootcamp for the Arts | October 24 – 25 | NYC, NY | Warren Wilansky
- Design Thinkers | November 3 – 4 | Toronto, ON | Jennifer Lamb
We made things happen
Plank brought a renewed focus on events in 2016. We revived our Breakfast Club series, with speakers on Copyright and Virtual/Augmented Reality. We also hosted a showcase of digital history projects, Shared Histories, that shone a spotlight on our own work with From Vimy to Juno, as well as Montreal en Histoires and the Lost Stories Project. And just for fun, we inaugurated a Dungeons and Dragons night at the office, cause there’s nothing that brings colleagues together quite like killing monsters.
We also hosted four – count them! – Hack Days. Two of them allowed us to work with a couple of great community organizations – Repercussion Theatre and Centre Philou – to help them better serve their communities. We had fun playing with Artificial Intelligence with Fuzzy.ai, and brought together a bunch of baseball fans with our second Montreal Baseball Hack Day.
We’ll be doing a lot more events in 2017 because as much as we love teh internetz, we also love meeting people IRL. We hope you’ll be one of them.
Most memorable moments
So there you have it, Plank’s year in a nutshell. To cap things off, we asked the team for some of their most memorable moments of 2016.
“Memorable moment of the year? Getting married is hard to top.”– Sean Fraser
“Going to NYC to see PJ Harvey – my music idol since the age of 14. There may have been tears.”– Erin Whitney
“Obviously the birth of my twins. Work-wise it would be launching the new evenko.ca site.”– Jason Koskie
“Riding around on a scooter again for the first time in years. Wheeee!!!”– Jennifer Lamb
“The thing I’m happiest about is our deepening relationship with evenko. At the beginning of the year we were working with them on evenko.ca, and now we’ve added two other venues and three festivals to the list.”– Warren Wilansky
“Watching our Hack days take off into something more than we had planned. Very fulfilling.”– Steve Bissonnette
“The conferences I attended this year: speaking at PAX East about Gamer Geeks and mental health, and getting to visit NYC twice.”– Debbie Rouleau
We’re looking forward to many more memorable moments in 2017.