[hackerspaces] New Member Vetting

Danny O'Brien danny at spesh.com
Wed Sep 19 03:59:43 CEST 2012

On Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 6:48 PM, Ron Bean
<makerspace at rbean.users.panix.com> wrote:
> Danny O'Brien <danny at spesh.com> writes:
>>That is why, I think, we have to emphasize to people that
>>bringing in their own equipment to "share" with others isn't going to
>>end well (they aren't around enough to maintain it, while no-one else
>>is going to fix your shit to your satisfactoin, even if they broke
> Everything at Milwaukee Makerspace belongs to some member or other-- the
> space itself doesn't own anything. We do cooperate on repairs (notably
> laser cutters, these days-- we have three in various states of
> non-functionality, but two of them should be working again soon).

The model for Noisebridge is that for big projects, people raise the
money separately, and buy collectively, then (I guess) effectively
donate it to the space. I'm not sure that means the space owns it -- I
suspect people have a more vested interest in something they bought.

> There is no way we could exist at all if the space had to buy
> everything.

Yeah, just to be clear, everything in the space is donated.

>>In the
>>end, despite an understandable desire to define the success of a
>>hackerspace in terms of how much cool stuff they have, there are some
>>items where people at Noisebridge end up going "you know, you might be
>>better off just inviting people over to your garage, or using
>>techshop's version of that".
> There's no way Techshop could survive financially here either-- their
> startup costs are way too high for the number of members they'd be able
> to attract. We did operate out of people's garages for a while, but you
> can't offer 24/7 access that way.

I was going to add that some of this is determined by what else is
around. One of the things that amazed me was how much stuff comparable
to a hackerspace or makerspace there was, but not called that, and
only spread by word of mouth -- tool hire collectives, co-owned
garages for people to do car repairs. I think you end up evolving into
the niche that isn't served by other environments, but it's hard
before you start to know what people are missing, or what is out


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