[hackerspaces] Discussing/Alleviating the Decline (was: Children in hackerspaces.)

David Powell davepow16 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 29 21:09:43 CET 2010

I feel Harford Hackerspace differs a lot from our neighbors (HacDC,
Baltimore Node) and because of that we have been successful for over a year
now. When we initially started I was able to gather up 6 members and we
still have those original 6 members today. We started collecting dues as
soon as we started working on projects. We a using a free space provided by
a member so our overhead is very little. Our 6 members pay their dues every
month and we are a very happy small group. We want to expand our membership
and we have had several people come part time who are not include in the
original 6. For some unknown reason we can't seem to recruit more dues
paying members.

We focus more on just doing stuff than we do on holding classes. Mostly
because non of our members really want to teach a class. They just want to
build stuff and learn as they build it. We have actually learned a lot this
way. The problem is that we come up with ideas on the fly and we are not
actively advertising Events. We use meetup.com and mailing list to announce
our weekly gatherings and as I said we do get people who show up randomly to
those but they don't come too often and we are not charging them dues.

Our goal this year is to restructure a little bit by adding fund raising
events. We just got word last week that our 501(C)(3) status has been
recommended for approval so we are just waiting for the official letter.

I would like to see an organization setup for the purpose of marketing
hackerspaces. It would be nice if we all contributed to a fund that allowed
us to put Hackerspace.org in all the major related magazines and on related
websites. It seems that whenever there is a major publications about
hackerspaces our website traffic goes through the roof.


On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 2:47 PM, Nick Farr (hackerspaces.org) <
nick at hackerspaces.org> wrote:

> I think a conversation exploring the "decline in Hackerspaces" I predicted
> for 2010 is warranted, separate from the discussion on Kids in spaces.  So
> here's a new thread.
> I like what Adam Bachman said:
> "I agree. That's what happens when you get a massive publicity push like
> the HS movement got in '08 and '09 (the co-working movement in the USA is
> seeing this too, by the way). Articles in every publication and a lot of
> overexcited folks getting too deep into a medium sized weekend project
> (signing a lease and donating old electronics) before considering the long
> term commitment."
> There's also the Benelux area which is just ramping up--and given what
> members of that community have pulled off recently (i.e. HAR, BruCon, etc.)
> and what they're planning (Multiple Hackerspace Membership), there's proof
> that there are many areas whose enthusiasm has not yet peaked.
> All that being said, I strongly believe in building for
> sustainability--hence, why I emphasized corporations, insurance, etc. when
> we started out with this several years ago.  What sorts of things are your
> hackerspaces doing to keep up enthusiasm or strive towards "being here
> tomorrow"?
> Nick Farr / http://nickfarr.org / 8B13F204
> Washington, DC, 20013-1208
> P: +1 (707) 676-FARR
> F: +1 (866) 536-2616
> Sent from Washington, DC, United States
> On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 04:06, Koen Martens <gmc at sonologic.nl> wrote:
>> On Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 11:48:18AM -0500, Nick Farr (hackerspaces.org)
>> wrote:
>> > And, granted, this is simply my opinion.  As a sociologist, I'm seeing
>> > the kinds of disagreements and arguments we're having as signs that a
>> > corner has turned for the worse.  We had a rapid period of growth, and
>> > it appears that 2010 will be the year when there will be more spaces
>> > folding than opening.  Not reaching out, moving on, expanding and
>> > looking for new opportunities (i.e. engaging kids) just makes my
>> > prediction more likely.
>> Perhaps the US is ahead of us in that regard, but I see none of that in
>> my own region (Benelux). The Netherlands is seeing initiatives being
>> deployed, belgium is rapidly gaining hackerspaces and Luxembourg is (for
>> me at least) a big inspiration.
>> Who knows, maybe in a few years we'll face the abyss the US hackerspaces
>> are apparently facing. But for now, hackerspaces are go over here!
>> Gr,
>> Koen
>> --
>> K.F.J. Martens, Sonologic, http://www.sonologic.nl/
>> Networking, hosting, embedded systems, unix, artificial intelligence.
>> Public PGP key: http://www.metro.cx/pubkey-gmc.asc
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