[hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

Silence Dogood matt at nycresistor.com
Tue Jul 5 19:40:49 CEST 2016

I think one good question anyone in this list needs to ask themselves is
who their hacker space is servicing?

For some on the list the answer is 'the public'.  For others the answer is
some specific 'community' or 'communities'.  For still others it is more of
a, if I build it, they will come mentality.  I think the latter approach is
doomed to failure.  The first and second approaches are specific and very
very different.

NYC Resistor focused on community first.  From the very get go, the
organization pulled in the people it wanted as members to help contribute
back to it's community and advance it.  As a result, we've enjoyed a
relatively mild eight ( jesus has it been that long? ) year run.  And the
fact that we are a homogenous community whole makes that a lot easier to
achieve.  Our membership operates with the full force of the organization
behind them.  And we are pretty much on board with agreeing with consensus

A public oriented space faces the problem of community hijacking.
Hackerdojo saw this.  And it was regrettable, but not ultimately
destructive to the organization.  One community ended up being edged out by
another, but the organization lived on as something new.  In a similar way,
even NYC Resistor has changed as members have come and gone over the
years.  But, there is a difference between a gradual shift in culture, and
a sudden and abrupt shift that leaves some feeling as though they have just
been robbed of their investment.

Other issues facing a 'public' space are many.  So the questions of who
does your space serve will have a huge impact on what the criteria are for
success, and what models will work for you.

On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 1:24 PM, Ben Brown <ben at generik.ca> wrote:

> Finance-wise, Kwartzlab has never been in the red. This has been
> achieved by being fiscally conservative of extra spending and proper
> reporting -- we always know where money is and for what purpose. Keeping
> the doors open and lights on is the priority, we've never considered a
> new space that we can't sustain with our current membership. Most of our
> big tools have come from grants/donations and member-driven group buys.
> We've also kept an emergency fund of three full months of operational
> expenses (rent, hydro, etc) that we've never used, but it's good to have
> just in case.
> Our biggest problem is we don't have enough new members interested in
> the general day-to-day operation of the space. Traditionally the board +
> small number of volunteers take care of most things - cleaning,
> upgrades, new tools, etc. However a lot of our core group (including
> myself) is burning out after seven years of operation. Our last two
> boards were appointed without a vote because we didn't have enough
> interested nominees.
> If anyone's got some insight on successful ways of combating member
> apathy I'd love to hear what worked!
> Cheers,
> Ben
> On 7/4/2016 6:11 PM, Shirley Hicks wrote:
> > Hey everyone,
> >
> > For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best
> financial and operational model? What organizational models have you looked
> at/borrowed from in order to improve your space? Looking for a couple to
> study in an effort to improve how the Red Mountain Makers is operating.
> >
> > Shirley Hicks
> > Red Mountain Makers
> > Birmingham, AL
> > _______________________________________________
> > Discuss mailing list
> > Discuss at lists.hackerspaces.org
> > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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