[hackerspaces] [wiki] TechShop

Lisha Sterling lishevita at gmail.com
Wed Jan 2 17:45:54 CET 2013

This is a question that I've faced a few times when discussing hackerspaces
in and outside of the community. I would personally classify them as a
"makerspace" rather than a "hackerspace" because of 1) the fact that they
are for-profit and 2) the fact that they refer to themselves that way.

On the whole, I have pretty warm feelings towards TechShop despite the fact
that their prices for everything puts them out of my financial reach. The
main reason for my warm feelings is because of their willingness to support
hackathons like the International Space Apps Challenge last April.

I don't see TechShop as "just a tool-gym" because they do have a more
robust community than that. I don't see them as "just a co-working space"
because they encourage newbies, non-professionals, and lifelong amateurs to
come and build things. Their focus is on making AND learning. They tie
themselves to the "Maker Community" through both their marketing messages
and their direct interactions with O'Reilly MAKE (Maker Faire, selling
MakeShop stuff in their shop, etc). So again, I'd call them a "makerspace".

For me, the main distinction between a "makerspace" and a "hackerspace"
beyond the "for profit" or "non-profit" status of a space has to do with a
sort of political or philosophical underpinning to the space and its
community. Hackers are about overcoming obstacles and re-wiring existing
systems whether those systems relate to hardware, software, the kitchen,
knitting, education or social systems. Makers aren't necessarily looking to
break down walls and barriers or subvert existing systems, they just want
to build stuff.

- Lisha

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