[hackerspaces] bring back the crime - "hacker" is starting to mean "creative entrepeneur"

Lisha Sterling lishevita at gmail.com
Mon Sep 21 21:50:42 CEST 2015

For the sorts of work I'm involved in, neither the notion of hacker as
criminal nor that of hacker as capitalist entrepreneur really helps. I
spend an equal amount of time explaining that hackathons aren't criminal
festivals as I do explaining that they shouldn't competitions for winning
big bucks. At Geeks Without Bounds we focus on creating space for learning
and for "hacking" humanitarian projects that will serve communities rather
than make money off them. I have pushed the notion that a hackathon is like
a walkathon or jump-rope-athon rather than a marathon, and that is about
what you can do for a cause you care about rather than being about what you
can win.

Unfortunately, money is still needed in order to make those early prototype
projects sustainable, so some projects end up as for profit companies, but
if I had my druthers they'd all end up as either non profits or as employee
owned coops.

Hacking the way business is done so that we can create alternatives to the
greed machine is an integral part of my personal hacker ethos.

My favorite definition of Hacking is the one from St Jude. She said that
hacking is the clever circumvention of obstacles whether those be in our
(computer) systems, our ISPs, our governments or ourselves. I'd add that
those obstacles may be in our environment or our culture as well.

- lisha
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