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

tetsu yatsu tetsuharu at gmail.com
Sun Jan 31 04:23:08 CET 2010

My plan at FAMiLab had a failure-plan: either 1) we start an awesome
hackerspace and become immediately notable and struggle/strive to help
people learn, establish identities, grow personally, etc hackerspace hacker
ethic stuff, OR 2) we start a cool hacker hangout, some people join and
decide they could do better, then start their own.

I don't mind if we fail, as long as people know that it can be done. It
should belong to the members, and if they would rather be part of a
formative process than joining a preexisting space, I don't mind :). I
encourage it.

Like I heard on the irc channel: "When there are less than 2 people per
space, we have too many spaces."

On Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 3:09 PM, David Powell <davepow16 at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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.
> David
> 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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