Today was our first Tuesday hang out / meeting at the new space, and I’d like to think it was a success! We had around 25 people at the space, in which around 5 or 6 were new or potential members that have never been to Protospace before.
In addition to the new faces, we had a couch and some building material donated to us by a member named Simon, for that we are grateful! Travis has also been had at work in the space, making us three new work tables for the multipurpose area. Thanks Travis!
Tonight, I spent most of the time socializing with the new faces, learning why they were interested and determining what Protospace could be for them. To introduce the potential members to the new Protospace atmosphere, I put everyone that was idle to work building some more shelves with the newly donated materials. Curiously, it was the new members that have never worked together that built the shelves, not the old members.
You may not be aware, but Protospace is entirely member driven – existing only through membership dues and donations. The directors don’t get paid and often pay more than members to keep the organization afloat. I’ve spent nearly $1000 of my own money over the last month on marketing and materials for Protospace because I know it will be worth it in the end. I only have so much cash I can pour into Protospace and our cash reserves for sustaining the space are extremely low. Monthly operating costs at our space is about $2200 per month which includes utilities and internet. Our cash flow is far below the $2200 / month mark, thus Protospace will soon require a large member influx to be able to deal with our monthly expenses.
Protospace is a multi-purpose, multi-discipline environment that gives its members a space and community to work and play in. I know that some may use the space as a lounge while others use it as a workshop. Because I’m an efficiency and productivity whore, I’d rather the latter than the former but I also realize that a community evolves over time. I hope to influence that evolution by promoting group projects, starting joint initiatives and inspire others to dream big. That’s why I’m glad we have an industrial space now with lots of room for tools and projects – our big dreams can now come true!
I love the Maker movement. To create something with one’s own hands is such a fulfilling action that is often forgotten in today’s digital society. Making, creating inventing, hacking – all serve to broaden our horizons, heighten our motor skills, engage our curiosity and challenge our own limits (that are often self-imposed). Whenever someone tells me that they “aren’t technical enough” for a hackerspace, they’re fooling themselves. You aren’t required to be a master in any skill to be a hacker or maker. You need only to bring your curiosity and desire to learn and the rest will fall in place.