When conversing about the Kickstarter project we are trying to start, a quandary occurred to me. The project is for supplies that would make us, as an organization, more mobile. While we are still small and growing, the question came up in this conversation of why we should focus on being more mobile, and not put those efforts into expansion.
After questioning myself rather thoroughly, here is the conclusion I came to. Hackerspaces as a whole are still a vague and abstract idea. There’s a few spaces that have been around for decades, but the maker revolution hasn’t really taken off before just a couple of years ago. Most have come to the conclusion that they are spaces where people colaborate, share ideas, and make stuff. Some specialize in software, some make giant robots. Some places have more sewing machines than laptops, and they all agree that there should be classes taught my members of their community.
Apparently, All Hands Active’s reputation is being the “hackerspace with all the kids.” In all reality, we rarely have children down in our own workshop, but probably have gained this reputation through our work with Bright Futures and other such organizations. Only this year did we start teaching our own classes and utilizing the space we have. To me, it makes total sense to just give in to this proposed image and just go with it, develop curriculum, and teach ALL the kids, which is what we’re doing. I guess this is what we’ve interpreted what a hackerspace means from the abstract Maker/Hacker idea that AHA is formed around.
Another thing that made me panic a little bit was the fact that working on this Kickstarter project would mean we would make this effort for outreach. The question was a good one, why not use the money, time, and effort expanding the space. The conclusion I came to was that we haven’t quite outgrown our space. We’re very near that, but not there yet. Ann Arbor is a very tight-knit community, and a large part of our community still doesn’t know we exist. I think we need to do things that make us vital to our community, thus making us irreplaceable. A few of us, myself included, already believe we are invaluable to the spirit of our city, but the reality of everything is that we need outreach more than expansion.
And so after logic has made sense and sorted all of the abstract thoughts into a plan of action, this weekend’s project will be to finish the Kickstarter project. My mind figured, my focus renewed, I know we are doing the right thing.