[hackerspaces] Establishing hackerspace and getting people actively involved

Koen Martens gmc at sonologic.nl
Mon May 10 17:33:40 CEST 2010

On Mon, May 10, 2010 at 10:59:34AM -0400, Adam D Bachman wrote:
> I definitely see what we do administratively as a business. It is whether
> you're for or non-profit. You have income and overhead, the second must be
> balanced against the first, therefore you are running a business. If you are
> creating something people want, they will pay money for it. Whether the
> thing you're selling is the actual physical space or a compelling vision,
> backed by physical infrastructure, you've got a product. Going for-profit
> over non-profit allows flexibility, but can reduce the image of community
> ownership. The co-working community (in the US, at least) has been combining
> for profit and community led successfully, so it can work.

I would think that approaching a hackerspace in such a commercial way, with
paid staff, has a danger in it: that the 'members' are slipping into consumer
mode. Expecting the paid staff to take care of everything, refusing to pick
up simple tasks themselves because 'hey, she's getting paid for it, let her
do it!'. I may be a long-haired left-wing hippy (or so some of our members
tell me from time to time :), but I feel that in our hackerspace everyone
is on an equal footing. I may be the president, but that doesn't mean I
don't have to vacuum or clean the toilets. In fact, once I start claiming
special status for being the president (or, in the case of the mail that
started this thread, that i do so much that i need to get paid), others
will likely be less motivated to do the tedious tasks that are also part of
having a hackerspace.

On the danger of starting another heated thread on the definition of what
a hackerspace is, I think once you go down the lane of paid staff, you're
not a hackerspace anymore. But that's just in the context of what I think
a hackerspace is. And I think we all agree on one thing, and that is that
everyone has another explanation of the term 'hackerspace'.



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