Vancouver needs a world-class hacker lab, and I want to help make that happen. Today, if you want to use a plasma cutter, plastic seam welder, or RepRap machine and don’t happen to have one in your basement: you’re shit outta luck. Most of the high-capital equipment in this city is locked up in the labs of big corporations, where they sit unused most of the time.
I started to wonder how many business ideas stay on the ground just because finding access to the right tools is too hard or expensive. How many more hobbyists this city would have if there was a space that put the tools of creation in the hands of the public, and showed ordinary people how to use them?
Admittedly, I’m an odd person to be writing this post. I thought a lathe was a bath product until last week, and I absolutely shouldn’t be trusted with a soldering gun.
What I do understand, however, is the power of a devoted community and the far-reaching effects it can have for a neighborhood, city, or industry. A handful of passionate people can change the world…but let’s start with a few city blocks.
The goal is to create a world-class, Techshop-like, hacker lab surrounded by affordable office-space. It would fill some of the void left when Workspace closed, and provide something totally new. What kind of companies would move there? What kind would be born there?
This isn’t a pie-in-the-sky idea. While my day-job is in data analytics and online marketing, I moonlight for my father’s real estate development firm. He has the experience and resources to buy or build this space if we have the resources to make it an amazing experience.
I can’t start this alone. My bio doesn’t fit the mold of a Hackerspace founder. Maybe yours does.
I’m still learning about this world. I’d like to learn more. If this is something that gets you excited, and if you’d like to wake up tomorrow morning and work on something audacious, send me an email (address in the sidebar). Reblog this. DM me. Come to Boris' talk at Barcamp. Start a mailing group of your own. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just make yourself known.
We need a movement.
So get moving.
EDIT: As about a dozen people have mentioned, VHS is a great example of the hackerspace concept. Their mandate is different from that of an organization like Techshop, but I believe both models complement one another and don’t compete at all. Hopefully, they’ll be on board with this project from the ground floor. The opportunity has been offered.