[hackerspaces] Hackerspace crisis plan

Thomas R. Koll tomk32 at gmail.com
Tue Jan 22 13:06:27 CET 2013

Am 22.01.2013 um 12:08 schrieb David Francos <me at davidfrancos.net>:

> I'm from DegeneratedLabs, Zaragoza (Spain) Hackerspace.

Strange name for a hackerspace, kinda negative touch I must say.
Zaragoza is a proper city, 700.000 living there, another hackerspace in town.

> We're thinking on alternative economic support stuff, we've got a few nice things (a 3d printer, two floors (one of them mostly used as a workshop and the other a a source for talks etc), lots of hardware, tools, fridges coffe machines, a huge library...)
> Aside from that, we've got very poor access to people (We are currently FOUR people!).

You need to get out and drag people in.
I'm currently helping to get a space started in Linz and have ot fight against
people who don't want us to do marketing for the space.
But you have to becaue you need the people.

> We don't have a very good online image, but we're constantly moving it IRL, trought talks and so on.

On the homepage, you hit visitors with how much it costs, okay but not very welcoming.
The about page has a better text, copy it over.

Is the membership fee necessary to use the space? With a 50% youth unemployment in the region and only four paying members left, you could just as well make the membership fee a voluntary one.

Speaking of the unemployed, why not run an evening course? Find a tutor (or learn it yourself) for Webdev (Rails, django) or game development (Löve2D and unity are really easy to learn) and grab all the unemployed youth you can find. I bet you, there are badly educated people in bad jobs who have a hidden talent for programming. This is of course a long term strategy but people do have other interests, or interests to be woken up and your space might just be where that happens.
With so many unemployed I don't understand why hackerspaces aren't overcrowded.

Get in contact with the other hackerspace in town, maybe you can do a bigger event together,
a conference at two locations maybe. Or a week-long festival. Anything you raise your image.

Find user groups, go to their meetings and maybe they'll prefer your space over their usual loud pub. Even a group of videogamers can be a good addition to your space.
Don't worry too much about them not becoming members, if you run a fridge with softdrinks
and make just a small profit on them. (this sounds capitalistic, but it works!)

For your Free Friday, invite a LOCAL speaker, uni prof maybe, for an hour of a talk, announce the event proper (metalab has a fantastic Metaday which is something everyone should copy).

Before you follow overflo's "run strategy", get your finances in order, make milestones
(June: so many members, so many events), if you miss too many of them better close shop
before you risk too much of your own money.

ciao, tom

Thomas R. Koll, ruby on rails and indie games developer

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