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Thread: Starting Up a Hackerspace in S.F. East Bay

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    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    Starting Up a Hackerspace in S.F. East Bay

    All right, I'm working with a few other people in my community to start a new hackerspace in my town.

    I created a web site for the project:

    http://www.eastbayhackers.com

    And I started a meetup.com event for planning meetings.

    http://www.meetup.com/East-Bay-Hacke...y-Hackerspace/

    Me and my co-founder have been making a spreadsheet of people to invite to this. I want to schedule a larger space to have our first official big public meeting. We'll invite lots of folks to that one and make sure we have room.

    Anybody done something like this before? I'd appreciate any suggestions as to how to best get the word out. I'm kind of a newb at being a community organizer.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

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    <3 gator's Avatar
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    I haven't been super involved with them but check out the Vancouver Hack Space. They're super active and friendly people. I'm on their mailing list and it's a great resource. I bet if you sent a message to the list you'd get some good replies.

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    Global Moderator Polemarch's Avatar
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    Help me understand hackerspaces. When I hear that term, I picture a bunch of people trying to steal credit card numbers from Target and steal military secrets. What is a hackerspace actually, and how does it contribute to the public good?
    We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.

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    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    Here's the blurb about the project:

    We are creating a hacker/maker community where residents of all ages in Contra Costa County and neighboring areas are encouraged to teach and learn new skills and knowledge, to invent using a variety​ of technologies assisted by mentors in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Design, and Mathematics, with the goal of having a good time, educating people, fostering creative thought and incubating new businesses


    One of my co-founders is a teacher. Part of the project's mission is teaching science and technology skills to kids. There's a program in Oakland called Hacker Scouts that provides some structure to that sort of thing. I'm personally a big proponent of open source software, Linux in particular so that would be part of my contribution to it.

    In terms of what you're thinking of, I think your image of hacking is based in a stereotype of what hackers would call Black Hat hacking. However, even within the Black Hat community credit card theft is pretty looked down upon. So you're thinking of what's a marginalized activity within a small subsection of hackers.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

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    Global Moderator Polemarch's Avatar
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    Thanks for the overview. I guess the term "hackerspace" just doesn't line up (for me) with what it actually is - a space for creativity, invention, programming, tech. I know it's a common term for that though.
    We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.

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    Vacantly Occupied rincon's Avatar
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    How are you financing the physical space?

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    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rincon View Post
    How are you financing the physical space?
    I have absolutely no idea at this point. Part of the process is establishing a community, making connections, doing fundraisers, etc. before you even attempt to open a physical space. The real reason is that a physical space is *expensive* and you need probably a customer base of about 100 people to make a physical space break even financially. So the idea is to get the word out by holding meetings, doing events, teaching classes, etc. before taking that step. Ideally, you'd want to build your network so when you open you're already at your break-even point or at least pretty close.

    Obviously that 100 person figure depends entirely on what kind of space you open and where you want to locate it.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

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    Vacantly Occupied rincon's Avatar
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    Oh OK, I guess for some reason I assumed you were further along. Yeah, that will be quite a process. Cool if it comes together.

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    a fool on a journey pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    I think a big draw would be workshops for specific projects, where people could come in, maybe pay a small fee and learn something cool. My school's IEEE chapter does a "build club" thing where you can come in, pay five bucks or whatever and get a little kit with some electrical components and stuff and then somebody walks you through how to make a toothbrush robot or something neat like that. Or our robotics club sells a $30 kit with an arduino and some sensors and a chassis and wheels and then has weekly workshops for making different types of robots, having competitions with them and that sort of thing. Sumo bots and line-following robot competitions are pretty fun and accessible. My school's Linux club occasionally does events like "install day" where they get a bunch of pizzas and help beginners get started with Linux. If you got a 3d printer and did classes on using it I bet a bunch of people would join for that. You could also do PCB etching workshops.

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    Tawaci ki a Gnaska ki Osito Polar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathogenetic_peripatetic View Post
    My school's IEEE chapter does a "build club" thing where you can come in, pay five bucks or whatever and get a little kit with some electrical components and stuff and then somebody walks you through how to make a toothbrush robot or something neat like that. Or our robotics club sells a $30 kit with an arduino and some sensors and a chassis and wheels and then has weekly workshops for making different types of robots, having competitions with them and that sort of thing.
    Damn! $30 for an Arduino and a bunch of stuff is a really good deal. I don't know how you'd break even on that.
    "I don't have psychological problems." --Madrigal

    "When you write about shooting Polemarch in the head, that's more like a first-person view, like you're there looking down the sight of the gun." --Utisz

    David Wong, regarding Chicago
    Six centuries ago, the pre-Colombian natives who settled here named this region with a word which in their language means "the Mouth of Shadow". Later, the Iroquois who showed up and inexplicably slaughtered every man, woman and child renamed it "Seriously, Fuck that Place". When French explorer Jacques Marquette passed through the area he marked his map with a drawing of a brownish blob emerging from between the Devil's buttocks.

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