[hackerspaces] A New Hacker Has Joined Your Party!

Sam Ley sam.ley at gmail.com
Fri Jan 14 04:39:58 CET 2011

I'm just glad that there are enough hacker/maker/artist/whateverthehell
spaces out there than we can actually have a discussion about the
differences in mission between them. It used to be that everyone who "had a
warehouse" was all in the same bucket - in practice, the community is filled
with individuals and communities that are fiercely independent, and defy
classification. In all my discussions with other communities, I haven't run
across two that have the same mission, model, membership profile, etc.

We will be holding cage matches here in Boulder, CO between the Phoenix
Asylum (maker/artist space) and Solid State Depot (hacker space), finally
bringing the biggest missing element to the community - bloodsport. ;)

-Sam (representing the Phoenix Asylum)

On Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 8:23 PM, Matt Joyce <matt at nycresistor.com> wrote:

> Ron, I'd say that while NYCResistor seems largely "maker" space.  They
> house a pretty close to equal distribution of hackers ( maybe not infosec
> but soft engineers ) makers and crafters.  In that regard... they are a
> single org.  And while balancing concerns between the three is hard, the
> point is not the capabilities of the space, but the community it fosters.
> Cross pollination is a good thing.
> I think most spaces figure that out eventually.
> -Matt
> On Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 6:31 PM, Ron Bean <
> bucketworks at rbean.users.panix.com> wrote:
>> Far McKon <farmckon at gmail.com> writes:
>> >Just to play devils advocate, I worry about some of the themes coming
>> >out in this thread.
>> I do too, but for different reasons (and I'll note that some of our
>> local members will disagree with me about this)
>> It's nice to think that we could inspire more people to become Makers,
>> but as a practical matter I don't think it's going to happen very
>> often. In order to pay the rent, we need to attract the type of people
>> who are 80% convinced the moment they walk in the door. Since targeted
>> publicity is hard, we need general publicity as well, but the purpose
>> of that should be to encourage people to pass the word to others who
>> are already predisposed to join us. If that doesn't happen, we won't be
>> around very long, because people who need a lot of convincing are going
>> to balk at the cost, and we won't have enough members to be
>> self-sustaining.
>> This brings up an important difference between a "hackerspace" and a
>> "makerspace"-- a "hackerspace" just needs enough room for people to
>> hack on their laptops, so it can rent less space and therefore charge
>> less for membership. A "makerspace" requires more square footage for
>> shop space, and therefore has to charge more for membership. It has to
>> find a large number of members who are willing to pay that higher cost
>> for years at a time, and we need to focus on locating people like that.
>> It's OK to also have members who join for a few months and then drop
>> out, but you'll never attract enough of those to keep the doors open
>> over the long run.
>> Alternatively, if you want to be an educational institution, you will
>> have to focus on that, at the expense of less time hacking on your own
>> projects. You'll have to put some serious effort into getting grants to
>> pay the costs of all that outreach. That will result in a very
>> different organization. In theory you might be able to do both under
>> one roof, but it would have to be two organizations sharing space,
>> rather than one organization that can't decide what its real goal is.
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