[hackerspaces] Establishing hackerspace and getting people actively involved

Nick Farr (hackerspaces.org) nick at hackerspaces.org
Tue May 11 04:06:04 CEST 2010

> 1. Someone needs to take ownership and treat it like a business or you
> will get mired down quickly and not be focused on paying the rent,
> sustaining the place, etc.

This seems to be a reasonably universal.  (If someone has a
counter-example of a space where >4 people worked to obtain the lease,
please share!)

> The person who does this is putting in their time and risking considerable
> money. They deserve to be paid for their risk and expenditure if profits occur.

Here's where I think there's a fair amount of divergence.

I'd like to know more about the patently for-profit hackerspaces out
there.  It seems the Tech Shop model has stalled a bit, but some
places seem to be getting more traction by partnering or running under
the explicit auspices of a for-profit enterprise.

The hackerspaces I'm familiar with were bootstrapped more or less
through the (continued) generosity of 4-12 people.  Those people did
so without the expectation of future reward, in fact, some were called
to task for not paying dues long after their initial contribution to
the space was forgotten by those who came into the fold much later.

I'm not saying that this is the only way to do it--I'd personally love
to see a group of successful "for profit" hackerspaces where a
community thrives just like a more traditional space.

> 2. At the same time, set the expectation that it's never going to get
> anyone rich.

True...however, many successful side enterprises have been launched
from Hackerspaces.  It seems that "getting rich" is a pretty bad goal
to set, but being enthusiastic, devoted and smart about cutting-edge
technology is generally a good way to earn a decent living while
changing the world.

> 3. Community support is key to making this work. In this case, it's a
> business that exists to support a club.

Community support is always a hard thing to foster, no matter how you
slice it.  In each thriving community, there have to be
"cheerleaders"...and often, these folk are merely no more than people
with an infectious enthusiasm for whatever it is that they're doing.


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