[Makerspace] [artifactory-core] Hackerspace Adelaide wants your stories.

Adam Thomas adam.lloyd at gmail.com
Thu May 24 13:41:05 AEST 2012


Adam from MakeHackVoid here.

On 24 May 2012 01:41, Ryan Leach <ryan.the.leach at gmail.com> wrote:
> Okay, so hackerspace-adelaide has finally submitted the paper work to become
> incorporated(after having regular meetings to socalize build etc), and is
> now looking at membership structure/fee's so we can get some stable income
> so we can start looking at a place to rent/lease as well as getting tools
> together.
> So I figured I'd email around the oz-spaces (current and future(closest
> point of contact)) to see if anyone would be nice enough as to share the
> story of how your space got started up.
> Was there any tricky parts?

The trickiest part is finding the volunteer hours to find a space and
the volunteer hours to get the administrative stuff which is needed to
lease/licence the space done. There will be lots of bike shedding, the
more people talk about what should be done and how it should be done
the less anyone will feel like they are the right ones to do the job.
Try to shield the doers from the shoulders.

> How did you initially get funded?

The core organisers in MHV sent out an email to the people we expected
we could rely on for financial backing asking them to transfer 6
months of membership fees at $90 a month into our bank account. From
that pool we had I think 9 out of 12 people sign up so we had about
$4860. This was easily enough to bootstrap the space with insurance,
rent for the first 6 months, some consumables and basic tools.

We dropped our monthly fees by a fair bit a few months in (and
extended memberships by the difference from that point on) because our
estimate of $90 per person per month was before we know what our rent
was going to be like.

> Any lucky breaks?

Local governments with empty buildings are pretty much the best. We
have part of a former motor mechanics trade training workshop with
150sqm for just over $2k per year (includes water and electricity) in
a reasonably central part of town. The big problem with this of course
is that the government likes to sell off their unused buildings in
reasonably central parts of town when developers come knocking. We've
got about 2 years before the bulldozers come. In that time we'll be
working to find a new place to move to. Expect that your hackerspace
will move in the first 5 years, don't get too attached to your space,
but also don't let the eventual move stop you from making your space
awesome while you have it.

> What should we attempt to do/avoid?

Do thank the people who get stuff done even if it wasn't the way you
would have done it. Especially thank them if they did something you
didn't want to do but you could see needed to be done. Avoid letting
people get burnt out or discouraged by constant bickering.

Some times you have to assign people the authority to complete tasks
with autonomy. Some times you have to assign yourself with the
authority to complete tasks with autonomy. Otherwise things just wont
get done.

Some of the best projects are when one member of the community has
just decided to take the lead and make it happen. In one instance at
MHV a member went away and designed a few solutions to an
infrastructure problem and presented them to the group. There was a
bit of bike shedding when that member did the presentation but it was
cut short when it was decided that all the nitty gritty details would
be designed on the day of the actual build. Anyone who wanted to have
their input would need to actually show up and get their hands dirty.

Do be open and welcoming to anyone who wants to make stuff and wants
to be part of your community. Don't let bullies push people around. Do
talk to people when there are conflicts. Do it in person, not over
email or IRC.

I'm going to go out on a limb and make a sweeping generalisation by
saying that I presume the majority of the people who start
hackerspaces are straight white males who aren't very familiar with
feminism. This can lead to a very narrow focus in your community and
turning away people who would otherwise really love to be involved.
Read up on feminism and encourage your membership to as well - it will
help your community in more ways than you might think. The open source
community has been battling this for a while, here are some recent
posts about it which I think relate to the hacker community as well:


There is a huge amount of really good info here:

Don't stop at feminism, apply the same tactics when anyone gets
discriminated against.

Do buy cartons of ClubMate from clubmate.bigcartel.com, it will fuel
your hacks long into the night and the bottles look awesome when they
are lined up and underlit with RGB LEDS.

Avoid complicated systems and rules for managing problems you don't
have. People wont see the point and the systems will gather dust or
bit rot. When you do have problems, solve them. When someone else sees
a problem coming and solves it with a system, follow the system until
someone puts the effort in to change it. Do encourage people to design
and implement new systems or changes to existing systems when they see
a need. Offering to show up on the day they are implementing their
system to be their dogs body will help them stay motivated.

Have hack days. Days where you invite the whole community along to
achieve something in particular. Space wide clean ups will be needed
eventually. Organise to do it on a weekend and offer a BBQ. You might
need to paint, run cables, move furniture around. These all make great
hack days. Remember that you can apply the problem solving hacker
mindset to your space. Get in, get dirty, change tactics if what
you're doing wont end up with the problem solved.

Finally: Do learn, do share, do have fun, do good hacks and do post
them to the internet.

> Looking forward to some cool/funny/and serious stories!
> --
> Ryan Leach


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