[hackerspaces] New Hackerspace Encouragement - What are your humble roots that got your space off the ground?

Will Bradley will at heatsynclabs.org
Wed Oct 12 17:25:06 CEST 2011

Likewise, among the founders of HeatSync (I came in later) there was lots of
talk and attempts, but the real start came when we went around to local
groups and found other interested people. Got their contact info and held a
meeting in a fraternal police lodge. From there, biweekly meetings at the
lodge evolved into meetings at a coworking space and then weekly themed
hacknights. Finally we outgrew the coworking space and signed a 2yr lease on
2000sqft which is now packed 4mo later.

The biggest reasons for our success, I think, are having a passionate bunch
of core people, and people committing to showing up and hacking at a
publicized date and time regardless of who shows up. Sometimes you'll meet
the coolest people five minutes before you leave. When something needs to
happen like paying rent or updating the website, core people need to be
ready to step up.
On Oct 12, 2011 8:11 AM, "Deech" <deech at ninjacow.net> wrote:

> I looked back and found a few spaces mentioning this here and there, but
> nowhere did I see a thread just for it...
> So, we see new spaces springing up pretty frequently and posts from folks
> saying "How did you do it??". I'm thinking in this thread let's point out
> the humble origins and let new spaces know that they are not unique in their
> problems!
> I'll start, but I'm sure other AR folks can chime in with more details.
> First, we are Arch Reactor in St. Louis. We currently have about 2400
> square feet in an awesome building in the southern part of town. Our
> membership varies, but we have about 29 full dues paying members and
> anywhere from 3-15 supporting dues paying members on any given month. (our
> dues are $30/month and $10/month respectively)
> We have a lots of tools, tables and workspaces. A projector, mame cabs,
> laser cutter (in progress), 3d printer, cnc routing table, micro-lathe and a
> bunch of other great stuff. By most standards, reasonably successful so far.
> However, we started from typical humble beginnings. The first group (I
> wasn't a part of) met in the food court at a local Pizza World. They
> numbered around 8. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth over what
> the hackerspace should be (grey hat or white hat), if there should be dues
> or not, etc. etc. Money was collected in a coffee can each week.
> That group finally split up over ideological grounds and they fell back to
> about 3-4 people still talking about it. That's about where I came in. A
> member that maintained apartments had an empty one that we were able to meet
> in for a little while. In the end, we only had 5 core members who decided to
> bite the bullet and agree to split the $500 a month rent for the first year
> to get off the ground. It was a gamble that paid off, because once we had an
> actual space, we gained members so rapidly we outgrew our first space in
> about 5 months.
> The rest was the easy part. We had enough members to pay the increased rent
> for a new space, moved there, and kept pulling in new members as fast as we
> could. We currently pretty much break even on the rent and bills, mainly
> because we charge such low dues, but we're making it work.
> So, how did your space get off the ground?
> -Deech
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