[hackerspaces] (no subject)

Alan Fay emptyset at freesideatlanta.org
Thu Oct 10 21:57:15 CEST 2013

Actually, I've attempted to do this to estimate the potential market for
paying members for Freeside Atlanta.

The problem I ran into is a general lack of data - hackerspaces.org numbers
for various spaces are not current, and there's not a clear consensus on
what makes a "member" of a lot of these spaces (for estimate market
potential, I don't want to count "free" or "friend of" members).

In some cases, the numbers reported on hackerspaces.org were 2-3x with the
numbers on published financials, for the few hackerspaces that publish
their financials online.

It's also a bit of an exercise in futility.  Membership numbers are
dependent on a number of factors: price, location, square footage,
proximity to colleges, proximity to other hackerspaces in region dividing
up the market, and most importantly the value of the space in terms of its
space per member, materials, machinery, and community.

All that said, I would estimate you could reasonably expect to get at least
20 members in Birmingham, and possibly many more depending on the value of
your space.  Few hackerspaces report less than this number, unless they are
very specialized or in a tiny market - this probably represents some kind
of lower bound on the membership you need to barely scrape by (both in
terms of finances, but also in volunteers to run things).

One figure I liked when researching this was the density (average number of
members per 1000sqft) - I calculated a value of 19 members per 1000sqft.
 So, when considering what kind of size space to get, probably
2000-3000sqft is a good size to look for when just starting out, as it can
support up to 50-60 members before it starts getting really crowded.

This squares with the Freeside experience - we're at 50 members now in
about 6000sqft, and things still feel pretty roomy.  We almost never have
all 50 members in the space at the same time; usually it's like 20-25 max
on our busiest days and nights.

I hope that helps!  I'd love to get more accurate data and do this right;
but I know it seems like very other couple of months everyone gets a new
hackerspace survey.

On Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 3:31 PM, <shirley at velochicdesign.com> wrote:

> Good morning everyone,
> List newbie here, part of a group getting a makerspace up and going in
> Birmingham, AL.
> Am wondering if any knows of or of anyone developing an algorithm or
> equation to predict a membership size range based on city or metro area
> population (or other factors)? Or from experience, has developed some
> simple rules of thumb? I'm writing our business plan and want, if at all
> possible to know if our predicted membership numbers that we're aiming for
> are realistic. (currently a business school iS student - who cheerully
> obsesses about such things)
> I'm prepared to slog through the current list on hackerspaces.org and do
> the analysis, but being lazy, wanted to see if anyone else had done it
> first. :)
> For context, B'ham AL is a spread out smear of a city, pop. 212,000,
> within a municipally fractured greater metro area of 1.1 million.
> Shirley Hicks
> shirley at velochicdesign.com
> hickssr at uab.edu
> www.redmountainmakers.org
> Birmingham, AL
> _______________________________________________
> Discuss mailing list
> Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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