Metalab/Lessons learned

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Do[edit]

Financial[edit]

  • Spread out your income sources (funding, sponsors, parties, food/drinks, membership fees)
  • Make sure to plan your budget well ahead, and get someone with financial knowledge to look over your finances
  • Consider having 1-2 "primary" rent payers that will be on the lease and financially able to pay even if others flake out.
  • Be sure you have considered all of the expenses involved. Commercial spaces often have higher power and phone rates than residences. Will there be an extra charge for a large power service or other options?
  • Find out about any insurance requirements as well. Many U.S landlords require a premises liability policy before you can move in. This can cost $100/month or more for a smallish space.
  • You may need to get a business license or other documentation prior to renting. Check with the landlord/insurance people on this. Usually, this is not expensive.
  • Keep your eyes open for cheap/free stuff that is appropriate for your projects. Other tenants in industrial parks often throw out or give away equipment, metal, wood, etc that doesn't fit their need but would be ideal for a hacker project.

Social[edit]

  • Embrace all kinds of people - heterogeneity is a good thing!
  • Accept that sometimes, people will fight - as long as those things stay between two or three persons, they tend to resolve themselves.
  • Try to involve people who are just passive bystanders, but if they just hang around and start to annoy the active members, remove them.
  • Consider scheduling 10-20 minutes at the end of any workshop or gathering for a quick "group cleanup" before everyone leaves. This ensures that nobody gets stuck doing all of the dirty work.

Don't[edit]

Financial[edit]

  • Don't try to save money on stuff that's really important (All the cash in the world won't save you if your lab is dirty as hell due to lack of cleaning supplies)

Social[edit]

  • If there are smokers and nonsmokers in your lab, make sure you have a policy that both parties can live with (This was actually the only time we had an old-fashioned vote in the Metalab)
  • A hackerspace is not a homeless shelter - someone staying for the night is usually not a problem, someone moving in for days, weeks or even longer timeperiods is. See the Roommate Anti-Pattern.
  • Don't let the cleaning and chores get neglected. A workshop/space that is clean and well-organized encourages people to pick up after themselves and contributes to a sense of well-being.
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