[hackerspaces] Bucketworks needs help

Edward L Platt ed at elplatt.com
Sat Jun 1 18:52:44 CEST 2013

Hi All,

This thread is getting long so I'll keep my comments short (though I'll be
blogging longer thoughts sometime over the next few days).  I've always
been surprised at how few hackerspaces look 10 or more years down the road
(maybe that's just because the most recent wave of the movement is so
young).  So here are some things I've been pushing for at i3 Detroit in the
interest of sustainability:

* Regularly adding to an emergency fund.  This is easy.  A lot of
hackerspaces focus on growth because it is exciting, but a physically
larger hackerspace, or even one with more tools, is not necessarily a
better one!
* Investment savings.  Yes, that's right!  Even 501c3 spaces can earn
revenue from investment.  Many traditional 501c3s (like private
universities) have endowments that carry them through tough times.  There's
no reason a hackerspace can't or shouldn't do this!
* Owning rather than renting a space.  If you're committed to being around
a long time, owning a space will save a huge amount of money.  Interest
rates are low now, so it's a great time to buy, even if you have to get a
mortgage.  Yes, you still have to pay property tax and maintenance, but in
the long run, it's the best way to lower expenses and save more of your


On Sat, Jun 1, 2013 at 11:06 AM, Lisha Sterling <lishevita at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'd like to throw one more thought out there regarding the "when it all
> goes wrong you have to beg from strangers" issue:
> There are a lot of us in the community who are highly mobile -- nomadic,
> even. We have attachments with and love for many hackerspaces that we have
> visited, been members of, or had the opportunity to help at one point or
> another. I personally have direct relationships with 5 different
> hacker-/maker- spaces and less direct ones with several more. Even for
> those who don't move around so much, many of us feel like hackerspaces are
> part of our "community" and we'd like to support them all in some little
> way.
> This is list is one place where those of us who have been members of, but
> are not currently in the same location as, a hackerspace can get news of
> when a space needs help so that we can do what we can to help. It's also a
> place where those who want to support struggling hackerspaces because of
> the sense of a larger community involvement can pitch in to help our
> far-off cousins from time to time. We may not be able to help every space
> in every situation, and sometimes all we can do is serve as a signal
> booster. Still, I am glad that we get news of these sorts of things here on
> this list.
> Also, I've noticed that big fundraising drives put on by spaces go some
> way towards making "strangers" into "members" of our community. The
> Kickstarter for Mothership HackerMoms brought in new visitors and new
> members as well as much needed funds. When Tech Liminal -- not exactly a
> hackerspace but rather a "tech salon and coworking space" that hosts
> classes, workshops, tech meetups and hack nights among other things -- did
> their fundraiser, they similarly made new community connections and gained
> many new friends and members.
> So, yes, we do need to find ways for each of our spaces to be
> self-sufficient and sustainable, but it's not a sin to reach out to the
> wider community from time to time, either.
> - Lisha
> --
> http://www.alwayssababa.com/
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Edward L. Platt
@EdwardLPlatt <http://twitter.com/EdwardLPlatt>
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