[hackerspaces] A new HackerSpace is coming to life.

Deech deech at ninjacow.net
Thu May 5 20:57:03 CEST 2011

Congrats and good luck! I love how your elaborate democratic process failed
so completely that you ended up with a name that wasn't even on the list in
the first place. :)

The only advice I can give to aspiring Hackerspaces (and what worked for AR)
is "Go Forward."

If you want to be a group of guys meeting in a cafe somewhere and that makes
you happy, then by all means, continue. But, if you want to be a thriving
space full of awesome, someone has to make it happen and keep going forward.
Find a space. It can be a crappy space, but find a space to call your own.
We started with a relatively small group of guys who committed to the vision
and to make things go forward committed to split the rent bill 5 ways (or
so). Once we got the space, without even doing anything to it, people
suddenly realized we were "real" and not people just talking about doing
something. We got more members almost immediately. We then started to make
our admittedly shitty room in a old brewery complex as cool as possible with
salvaged carpet and furniture, building work tables out of whatever we could
find (like a giant door we found in our space that was too heavy to get rid
of). We brought in our toys and projects and finally staged an open house to
show the community we were there and we meant business. We expected 50
people to show up. We got 300 walking through that night. In four months, it
became painfully obvious that the space we were in was inadequate (serious
metal fatigue in all the load-bearing members, the wiring is substandard,
it's completely inadequate for our power needs, and the neighborhood is like
a demilitarized zone). Once again, we had to decide if we were going to go
forward or stay pat. A few more people stepped up and again agreed to foot
the bill for a better space. Again, our gamble worked. We've been in our
current space for a year. We are still hovering about the "break even" point
as far as monthly dues are concerned, but we have money in the bank, around
40 members (or so), have been consistently able to pay for rent, heat,
insurance and internets, and next month we start work on shooting a
satellite (of love) into low earth orbit.

The point here is, many of us started as "Five guys in a pizza place" (fun
fact, yesterday was the 2nd anniversary of our first meeting at the pizza
joint), but we pushed forward, went outside our comfort zones and made
something awesome happen.

You can too. :)

President and Chief Scruffy Nerd Herder
Arch Reactor
(yes, a title block. Pfft. I throw it on occasionally...haters, etc.)
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