[hackerspaces] Failing/failed hackerspaces

Sam Ley sam.ley at gmail.com
Fri Apr 4 22:25:45 CEST 2014

Founder burnout is a big one. There is an interesting social dynamic,
common to coops and communal projects where they seem to survive a long
time, but are really only doing so because they are buoyed up by the
personality of an individual or a few key members. Even Alexander the
Great's giant empire collapsed the second he died - it wasn't REALLY a
viable empire, it was held afloat by his personality.

Our space, Phoenix Asylum in Boulder, CO just signed it's 6th year of
leasing for our space, and my wife and I are the last of the original 12
founding members to have remained (the 2nd to last is leaving this month).
We recently had to have some real sit-downs with the group to try to
instill in the members a sense of ownership and responsibility.

I am trying to slowly extract myself from the fabric of the organization.
Not because I'm looking to flee (I do want to stay), but because I think
that the real test of a successful cooperative organization is how it fares
when all the *original members are gone*.

That is the true test of success for a cooperative model - self
sustainability. It is "cheating" to support your model on the backs of a
few dedicated individuals. If work is done to acculturate people, build
rotation into responsibilities, and foster a sense of ownership, then
hopefully the org can last longer than the founding members (which tend to
burn out in the 2-4 year range).


On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 2:19 PM, Crawford Comeaux <crawford.comeaux at gmail.com
> wrote:

> I was tempted to make a fish pun here and then realized that could really
> derail the discussion, so I'm linking this in an attempt to nip it in the
> bud: http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Fish_Puns
> On Fri, Apr 4, 2014 at 3:09 PM, Randall G. Arnold <
> randall.arnold at texrat.net> wrote:
>>   Why did I read that as FLOUNDER burnout?
>> On April 4, 2014 at 3:07 PM Al Jigong Billings <albill at openbuddha.com>
>> wrote:
>> How about founder burnout?
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