[hackerspaces] Hackerspace crisis plan

David Francos me at davidfrancos.net
Tue Jan 22 13:20:27 CET 2013

2013/1/22 Thomas R. Koll <tomk32 at gmail.com>

> 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.

There's no other hackerspace.
We're the next gen Downgrade Hackerspace...
I suppose I should make it die. Or even re-rename degeneratedlabs to
downgrade again, degeneratedlabs might be an aggresive name, I agree.
We usually call it "d-labs" tho.

> > 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.

Actually, that's one of the multiple reasons of internal conflict. Hope you
win your fight dude.

> > 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.

Right, I'd have to change it, I also want to give special price to
unemployed and students.
At this point we're all trying to get it up, so we can do everything we've
got on our hands, and being that few is easy to not differ.
We had quite a restrictive politic about membership, wich probably has blow

> 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.

Membership fee includes a set of keys, wich might be not good to give for
free and without some papers.

> 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.

As said, we were the other hackerspace in town =P

> 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!)

Already done, they use city hall provided spaces (A big one in wich I also
do some stuffs, mostly)
I've been making accounts and actually we'd need only FIFTY beers sold each
month, wich is not much, but without active members we cannot get all the
job (I can't get all the tech talks all by myself and so on)

> 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).

I tought on making more open days (with open activities I mean), and a few
closed days, with paid activities (~3-4€ each ticket), free for members.
Great idea, got a few friends I could use for that =).

> 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.

Not much money to loose, actually.
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