[hackerspaces] A New Hacker Has Joined Your Party!

Sam Ley sam.ley at gmail.com
Fri Jan 14 19:48:32 CET 2011


Agreed - autonomy is a major motivator across the spectrum. But don't worry,
you don't have to be an island - if you don't believe that large numbers of
highly independent and autonomous people can't still work together toward a
common goal, just look at Burning Man (and the regional culture around it).

Pricing structure is a tough thing to generalize, partly due to cost of
property in different areas. At the Phoenix Asylum, we offer members 100 sq.
ft. of their "own" space (no walls, but taped off on the floor) and access
to the common area (400 sq. ft. where the metalworking equipment lives and
our large garage bay is). The base cost is $180/mo, you can add a buddy to
your space for an additional $45/mo, and add additional square feet for
$1.25/sq. ft./mo.

This is higher that most spaces, but we cater to people with pretty high
space requirements - ceramicists, glass blowers, etc. I'd love for it to be
lower cost, but our property values are very high here in Boulder - the
building we are in is a 2300sq. ft. warehouse, shitty Type II construction,
very run down (but functional), but due to being in Boulder, we pay about
$13/sq.ft. annually, including the NNN, which is the best deal in town, and
achieved after much negotiation. At our pricing structure, and about 20
total members, we barely break even each month, with just a little to spare
for future development. Fortunately it hasn't scared people off, we have
been full since we opened in Nov. 07. I'd love to do a larger space with
more people and pricing options, but the high rent here makes that
financially risky - our board (who accept the financial responsibility in
case of a default) can only absorb so much risk.


On Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 7:14 AM, Ross Smith <rsmith at i3detroit.com> wrote:

> Sam,
> > 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.
> Agreed.  Every space is (ironically) a collective of fierce
> individuals, which seems to be the whole point.  I see the core
> purpose underlying these varying space as "autonomy", which is
> realized in so many spectacular ways that I don't want to draw lines
> around them.  I do, however, want to pick everyone's brains (and share
> mine) so my autonomous group isn't an autonomous island, so to speak.
> > 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. ;)
> Start a league!  We Detroiters will love it ;)
> Ron,
> > We also have a lot of electronics guys, and I think we'll have a good
> > mix eventually. My concern at this point is finding enough "core"
> > members to pay the rent (which we don't have yet). I think we need to
> > concentrate on that now, and think about other activities later. My
> > point was that a "makerspace" needs a larger core than a "hackerspace"
> > to get started, because it requires more space (=$).
> Be mindful of your dues structure, though.  We have two monthly rates
> at i3Detroit - $40 and $90 monthly.  We began with a core of $100 / mo
> members who were able to support our first space (1,200 sq ft).  We
> later had to move and found our current one (about 8,000 sq ft).
> After a long and drawn-out debate, the organization changed from $100
> / mo to our current two tier structure.  In the long run, we've found
> it much more profitable to have a lower rate option; the higher rate
> is out of reach for many people in our area.
> Our membership practically quadrupled after introducing the lower
> rate, which brings certain joys and troubles as you can imagine.  One
> thing has shown itself, though - just because a member pays a lower
> amount per month does not necessarily mean they have a lesser
> commitment to the organization.  Members who pay at the lower tier
> often share a substantial amount of equipment, teach classes, organize
> events - and *find more members*.
> A strong core will help you get started, absolutely.  After that,
> offering alternatives in your dues structure will allow you to bring
> in great hackers who aren't necessarily rich hackers - and it may
> bring in much more money overall than one high rate.
> It's a very big decision either way - to remain small, or to accept
> expansion.  Either path has benefits and drawbacks; what matters is
> choosing the one that aligns with your intentions.  Either way, it's
> possible to offer a place for members to exercise their autonomy.
> --
> Ross Smith
> i3Detroit President
> www.i3detroit.com
> "Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually
> right." -- Henry Ford
> _______________________________________________
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> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
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