[hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

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[hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

Shirley Hicks
Hey everyone,

For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best financial and operational model? What organizational models have you looked at/borrowed from in order to improve your space? Looking for a couple to study in an effort to improve how the Red Mountain Makers is operating.

Shirley Hicks
Red Mountain Makers
Birmingham, AL
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Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

Dominic Canare
  1. You'll need to define "best"
  2. Every single market is different, so even with a well-defined metric for what you're seeking to achieve or demonstrate, it probably won't be that generalizable

Dominic Canare
Immediate Past President, MakeICT

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 5:11 PM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey everyone,

For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best financial and operational model? What organizational models have you looked at/borrowed from in order to improve your space? Looking for a couple to study in an effort to improve how the Red Mountain Makers is operating.

Shirley Hicks
Red Mountain Makers
Birmingham, AL
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Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

Christopher Agocs

The South Side Hackerspace: Chicago is clearly the best.
Chris Agocs
SSH:Chicago

For real, though, what are some problem areas RMM is seeing?

On Jul 4, 2016 5:26 PM, "Dominic Canare" <[hidden email]> wrote:
  1. You'll need to define "best"
  2. Every single market is different, so even with a well-defined metric for what you're seeking to achieve or demonstrate, it probably won't be that generalizable

Dominic Canare
Immediate Past President, MakeICT

On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 5:11 PM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey everyone,

For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best financial and operational model? What organizational models have you looked at/borrowed from in order to improve your space? Looking for a couple to study in an effort to improve how the Red Mountain Makers is operating.

Shirley Hicks
Red Mountain Makers
Birmingham, AL
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Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

Shirley Hicks

On Jul 4, 2016, at 5:32 PM, Christopher Agocs <[hidden email]> wrote:

The South Side Hackerspace: Chicago is clearly the best.
Chris Agocs
SSH:Chicago

For real, though, what are some problem areas RMM is seein

Implementing next version of membership management system has been slower than I would like - currently stuck on the PayPal IPN integration (have waved at our local WP devs, but haven’t yet sat down with the one I’ll be working with to get past this one thing. This is the biggy - the people with the skills haven’t had the time, and while I’ve been learning as fast as I can go, I’ve gotten stuck on a couple of things). And as a result, our onboarding of new members is not completely smooth, and we’ve had a lot more member churn than we would like. 

Finding instructors for classes. (we pay them). Getting word out about events in a fractured media environment. We’re building email lists, but it’s taking time. 

Getting good safety practices documented and in place. 

Because we didn’t move into an industrial space, we had about an 18 month delay in getting a higher level of activity going. We had to do significant work to the space to get it adapted. That took more time, money and energy than anticipated. 

None of our current crew has grant-writing experience. We’re working through that, but it seems like a big task. 

Also, working with a local social entrepreneur to work a makerspace into a local city studio/workshop proposal - so being able to compare what we’re doing now to what management tools other spaces are choosing would be useful. Our city arts and tech leaders aren’t strong in this area - we are the subject matter experts. 

Shirley HIcks
Red Mountain Makers
Birmingham, AL

On Jul 4, 2016 5:26 PM, "Dominic Canare" <[hidden email]> wrote:

    1. You'll need to define "best"
    2. Every single market is different, so even with a well-defined metric for what you're seeking to achieve or demonstrate, it probably won't be that generalizable

    Dominic Canare
    Immediate Past President, MakeICT

    On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 5:11 PM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:
    Hey everyone,

    For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best financial and operational model? What organizational models have you looked at/borrowed from in order to improve your space? Looking for a couple to study in an effort to improve how the Red Mountain Makers is operating.

    Shirley Hicks
    Red Mountain Makers
    Birmingham, AL
    _______________________________________________
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    Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

    Joshua Pritt
    Our setup at Melbourne Makerspace seems to be working ok:
    We have new members fill out the google form for contact info and emergency contact info as well as digital signature for understanding the dangerous tools, etc.
    Then they use the WooCommerce wordpress plugin for their dues/donations:  http://melbournemakerspace.org/donations/
    We also make sure they visit our open house, show n tell, or classes at least 3 times (so we get to know them and they get to know us).

    Finally we put their info into Seltzer and assign them an RFID key card via our ACON (Access Control) system.

    Then our treasurer just runs the monthly billing in Seltzer and imports all the payments from Paypal to keep everyone's balance updated in the DB.
    Our treasurer will also manually enter cash, check, etc. payments each month.

    Our ACON system will automatically deny someone's RFID key if they miss 3 months of payments.

    We also ask how people find out about us and a little over 50% seem to find us through our Meetup.com page:
    A good chunk of the rest find us with a google search for local makerspaces.

    Most of our classes have been taught by just 3 or 4 of our core members that are also board members.

    We advertise our classes on our Meetup.com page and our website.  We also have our graphic artist member make flyers and we post them in coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, etc.
    We are about to try asking the local pizza places if they will put one of our mini flyers on every pizza they deliver to help advertise our events.

    We are thinking about doing another retro gaming night since that seemed to attract a lot of attention!



    On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 9:03 PM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:

    On Jul 4, 2016, at 5:32 PM, Christopher Agocs <[hidden email]> wrote:

    The South Side Hackerspace: Chicago is clearly the best.
    Chris Agocs
    SSH:Chicago

    For real, though, what are some problem areas RMM is seein

    Implementing next version of membership management system has been slower than I would like - currently stuck on the PayPal IPN integration (have waved at our local WP devs, but haven’t yet sat down with the one I’ll be working with to get past this one thing. This is the biggy - the people with the skills haven’t had the time, and while I’ve been learning as fast as I can go, I’ve gotten stuck on a couple of things). And as a result, our onboarding of new members is not completely smooth, and we’ve had a lot more member churn than we would like. 

    Finding instructors for classes. (we pay them). Getting word out about events in a fractured media environment. We’re building email lists, but it’s taking time. 

    Getting good safety practices documented and in place. 

    Because we didn’t move into an industrial space, we had about an 18 month delay in getting a higher level of activity going. We had to do significant work to the space to get it adapted. That took more time, money and energy than anticipated. 

    None of our current crew has grant-writing experience. We’re working through that, but it seems like a big task. 

    Also, working with a local social entrepreneur to work a makerspace into a local city studio/workshop proposal - so being able to compare what we’re doing now to what management tools other spaces are choosing would be useful. Our city arts and tech leaders aren’t strong in this area - we are the subject matter experts. 

    Shirley HIcks
    Red Mountain Makers
    Birmingham, AL

    On Jul 4, 2016 5:26 PM, "Dominic Canare" <[hidden email]> wrote:

      1. You'll need to define "best"
      2. Every single market is different, so even with a well-defined metric for what you're seeking to achieve or demonstrate, it probably won't be that generalizable

      Dominic Canare
      Immediate Past President, MakeICT

      On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 5:11 PM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:
      Hey everyone,

      For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best financial and operational model? What organizational models have you looked at/borrowed from in order to improve your space? Looking for a couple to study in an effort to improve how the Red Mountain Makers is operating.

      Shirley Hicks
      Red Mountain Makers
      Birmingham, AL
      _______________________________________________
      Discuss mailing list
      [hidden email]
      http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss


      _______________________________________________
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      http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

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      Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

      Walter van Holst
      In reply to this post by Shirley Hicks
      On 2016-07-05 00:11, Shirley Hicks wrote:
      > Hey everyone,
      >
      > For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best
      > financial and operational model? What organizational models have you
      > looked at/borrowed from in order to improve your space? Looking for a
      > couple to study in an effort to improve how the Red Mountain Makers is
      > operating.

      What do you mean my model? How would you describe the models of Red
      Mountain Makers?

      Regards,

        Walter
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      Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

      Yvan Janssens
      -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
      Hash: SHA256

      So... first of all, at the risk of going off-topic, I think that every
      functional hackerspace model carries a not insignificant proportion of
      being dysfunctional. But that's a different story.

      What you want will probably depend on your situation. Below is a quick
      brain dump of things I've seen working:

      # Small core group
      A small core group of volunteers takes on the largest burden of
      everything, including financials. Make sure there isn't too much
      rotation in there, and that these people get along.

      # Allowing drama to die
      The larger your space becomes, the more susceptible it becomes to
      drama. All large spaces I know have their challenges with it. Managing
      it in a way that doesn't impact day to day functionality (e.g. keep it
      outside your core group) seems to be key to being successful.

      # Commercial funding
      Not my most favourite one, but I know at least one case where this
      successfully worked and flourished. In this space, the space also
      provides commercial services as an incubator and gets non-public
      funding for that. It provides a lot of stability on the finance side,
      but it's not what I would recommend.

      # Enjoy what you're doing
      It doesn't really matter how you do things, as long as they work for
      you and if you enjoy it. If it doesn't feel right, there's a high
      likelihood something is going wrong.

      # Create a safeguard to bounce back up
      Spaces tend to go up and down in a bit of a sinusoidal curve. Make
      sure that when you're on a high point, you save enough resources (both
      people and hard cash) for when you're hitting a low. It can be
      tempting to buy a shiny new laser cutter with 80% of what you have in
      the bank, but I wouldn't recommend it. Use common sense really, and
      work in small but sustainable steps.

      On 05/07/2016 08:48, Walter van Holst wrote:

      > On 2016-07-05 00:11, Shirley Hicks wrote:
      >> Hey everyone,
      >>
      >> For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best
      >> financial and operational model? What organizational models have
      >> you looked at/borrowed from in order to improve your space?
      >> Looking for a couple to study in an effort to improve how the Red
      >> Mountain Makers is operating.
      >
      > What do you mean my model? How would you describe the models of
      > Red Mountain Makers?
      >
      > Regards,
      >
      > Walter _______________________________________________ Discuss
      > mailing list [hidden email]
      > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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      Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

      Shirley Hicks
      In reply to this post by Walter van Holst

      > On Jul 5, 2016, at 2:48 AM, Walter van Holst <[hidden email]> wrote:
      >
      > On 2016-07-05 00:11, Shirley Hicks wrote:
      >> Hey everyone,
      >> For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best
      >> financial and operational model? What organizational models have you
      >> looked at/borrowed from in order to improve your space? Looking for a
      >> couple to study in an effort to improve how the Red Mountain Makers is
      >> operating.
      >
      > What do you mean my model?

      It’s business-speak. My bad. How are things done or run. In hackerspace speak, the pattern. (you want to adopt a pattern that works, to minimize the work/energy required).

      > How would you describe the models of Red Mountain Makers?

      We’ve adopted as many of the hackerspace patterns as possible, but are a bit hung up reaching long-term financial sustainability due to member churn. The space we selected to start in required a lot of work and it has burned some members out. Given our community, we also have a shortage of members with some of the key skills that make setting up systems (IT, business) go faster, so that has taken some time. Getting there now.

      We’re also dealing with some  in-group/outgroup issues - mainly between those who’ve been trained in other environments to work tightly as a group (HAM, emergency ops, military) and those who have not.

      >
      — Shirley
      RMM, Birmingham, AL

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      Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

      Shirley Hicks
      In reply to this post by Joshua Pritt

      On Jul 4, 2016, at 9:17 PM, Joshua Pritt <[hidden email]> wrote:

      Our setup at Melbourne Makerspace seems to be working ok:
      We have new members fill out the google form for contact info and emergency contact info as well as digital signature for understanding the dangerous tools, etc.
      Then they use the WooCommerce wordpress plugin for their dues/donations:  http://melbournemakerspace.org/donations/
      We also make sure they visit our open house, show n tell, or classes at least 3 times (so we get to know them and they get to know us).

      Finally we put their info into Seltzer and assign them an RFID key card via our ACON (Access Control) system.

      Thank you - that description is helpful. 
      —Shirley


      Then our treasurer just runs the monthly billing in Seltzer and imports all the payments from Paypal to keep everyone's balance updated in the DB.
      Our treasurer will also manually enter cash, check, etc. payments each month.

      Our ACON system will automatically deny someone's RFID key if they miss 3 months of payments.

      We also ask how people find out about us and a little over 50% seem to find us through our Meetup.com page:
      A good chunk of the rest find us with a google search for local makerspaces.

      Most of our classes have been taught by just 3 or 4 of our core members that are also board members.

      We advertise our classes on our Meetup.com page and our website.  We also have our graphic artist member make flyers and we post them in coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, etc.
      We are about to try asking the local pizza places if they will put one of our mini flyers on every pizza they deliver to help advertise our events.

      We are thinking about doing another retro gaming night since that seemed to attract a lot of attention!



      On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 9:03 PM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:

      On Jul 4, 2016, at 5:32 PM, Christopher Agocs <[hidden email]> wrote:

      The South Side Hackerspace: Chicago is clearly the best.
      Chris Agocs
      SSH:Chicago

      For real, though, what are some problem areas RMM is seein

      Implementing next version of membership management system has been slower than I would like - currently stuck on the PayPal IPN integration (have waved at our local WP devs, but haven’t yet sat down with the one I’ll be working with to get past this one thing. This is the biggy - the people with the skills haven’t had the time, and while I’ve been learning as fast as I can go, I’ve gotten stuck on a couple of things). And as a result, our onboarding of new members is not completely smooth, and we’ve had a lot more member churn than we would like. 

      Finding instructors for classes. (we pay them). Getting word out about events in a fractured media environment. We’re building email lists, but it’s taking time. 

      Getting good safety practices documented and in place. 

      Because we didn’t move into an industrial space, we had about an 18 month delay in getting a higher level of activity going. We had to do significant work to the space to get it adapted. That took more time, money and energy than anticipated. 

      None of our current crew has grant-writing experience. We’re working through that, but it seems like a big task. 

      Also, working with a local social entrepreneur to work a makerspace into a local city studio/workshop proposal - so being able to compare what we’re doing now to what management tools other spaces are choosing would be useful. Our city arts and tech leaders aren’t strong in this area - we are the subject matter experts. 

      Shirley HIcks
      Red Mountain Makers
      Birmingham, AL

      On Jul 4, 2016 5:26 PM, "Dominic Canare" <[hidden email]> wrote:

        1. You'll need to define "best"
        2. Every single market is different, so even with a well-defined metric for what you're seeking to achieve or demonstrate, it probably won't be that generalizable

        Dominic Canare
        Immediate Past President, MakeICT

        On Mon, Jul 4, 2016 at 5:11 PM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:
        Hey everyone,

        For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best financial and operational model? What organizational models have you looked at/borrowed from in order to improve your space? Looking for a couple to study in an effort to improve how the Red Mountain Makers is operating.

        Shirley Hicks
        Red Mountain Makers
        Birmingham, AL
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        Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

        Christopher Agocs
        In reply to this post by Shirley Hicks
        >We’ve adopted as many of the hackerspace patterns as possible, but are a bit hung up reaching long-term financial sustainability due to member churn. The space we selected to start in required a lot of work and it has burned some members out. Given our community, we also have a shortage of members with some of the key skills that make setting up systems (IT, business) go faster, so that has taken some time. Getting there now.

        I don't mean to be glib, but that's kind of the fun of hackerspacing. If the Hackerspace (legal entity) goes broke and folds, the hackerspace (core group of people) will still probably get together pretty regularly and shoot the shit about what an adventure that was and what do we need to do to start it again. 

        I'm the treasurer at SSH:C, and the way I see it, my job is to provide recommendations as to how much we can spend without losing our butts. We're actually doing kinda-okay right now. Not great, not terrible. None of us have any business acumen whatsoever, so we're just trying ideas for how to grow the membership and how to keep people engaged and seeing what sticks. 

        One fruitful idea we've had is a "hack scholars" program. A few of our members donated money equivalent to a few months' membership for a few people, and we applied that to our build-out, making it go faster. We then offered free memberships to students at nearby colleges, with the understanding that they'd hang out and hack and also help out building the space physically or digitally. We found a few really smart people that way, who are now part of the organization.

        Anyway, good luck not burning the place down. I'll have to swing by next time I'm in Birmingham.

        -Chris


        On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 7:25 AM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:

        > On Jul 5, 2016, at 2:48 AM, Walter van Holst <[hidden email]> wrote:
        >
        > On 2016-07-05 00:11, Shirley Hicks wrote:
        >> Hey everyone,
        >> For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best
        >> financial and operational model? What organizational models have you
        >> looked at/borrowed from in order to improve your space? Looking for a
        >> couple to study in an effort to improve how the Red Mountain Makers is
        >> operating.
        >
        > What do you mean my model?

        It’s business-speak. My bad. How are things done or run. In hackerspace speak, the pattern. (you want to adopt a pattern that works, to minimize the work/energy required).

        > How would you describe the models of Red Mountain Makers?

        We’ve adopted as many of the hackerspace patterns as possible, but are a bit hung up reaching long-term financial sustainability due to member churn. The space we selected to start in required a lot of work and it has burned some members out. Given our community, we also have a shortage of members with some of the key skills that make setting up systems (IT, business) go faster, so that has taken some time. Getting there now.

        We’re also dealing with some  in-group/outgroup issues - mainly between those who’ve been trained in other environments to work tightly as a group (HAM, emergency ops, military) and those who have not.

        >
        — Shirley
        RMM, Birmingham, AL

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        Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

        dosman
        In reply to this post by Shirley Hicks
        A couple things to consider on this specific topic. My experience is that things go slower than desired on most hackerspace projects, but they do happen as there is time+demand, you just have to be ok with that. If people want to get involved and help they will, if no one wants to do the work then it’s left to the few that do the work as they have time. Lots of administrative stuff was done by me because it saved me tons of time in the long-run (invoicing automation, nag email automation, membership processing automation, etc). Unless it’s causing a serious detriment to the group I don’t worry about timelines for most projects though. Exceptions would be things like physically moving spaces and other urgent matters that affect all members.

        As for member churn, we have a google questionnaire form that automatically goes out when memberships end. Most people for our group leave for lack of free time to use their memberships, moving away, etc. but sometimes we do get good feedback that something was wrong we didn’t know about. I have another questionnaire i am about to deploy to new members after they have joined for a few months to get a fresh angle we might be missing. But I’m a survey and spreadsheet nerd, so that’s my desire.

        Thanks,
        -dosman


        > On Jul 5, 2016, at 8:25 AM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:
        >
        > We’ve adopted as many of the hackerspace patterns as possible, but are a bit hung up reaching long-term financial sustainability due to member churn. The space we selected to start in required a lot of work and it has burned some members out. Given our community, we also have a shortage of members with some of the key skills that make setting up systems (IT, business) go faster, so that has taken some time. Getting there now.
        >
        > We’re also dealing with some  in-group/outgroup issues - mainly between those who’ve been trained in other environments to work tightly as a group (HAM, emergency ops, military) and those who have not.
        >
        >>
        > — Shirley
        > RMM, Birmingham, AL
        >
        > _______________________________________________
        > Discuss mailing list
        > [hidden email]
        > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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        Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

        Christopher Agocs
        dosman, I'd love to see your exit interview questionnaire. Could you send it to me?

        On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 11:20 AM, dosman <[hidden email]> wrote:
        A couple things to consider on this specific topic. My experience is that things go slower than desired on most hackerspace projects, but they do happen as there is time+demand, you just have to be ok with that. If people want to get involved and help they will, if no one wants to do the work then it’s left to the few that do the work as they have time. Lots of administrative stuff was done by me because it saved me tons of time in the long-run (invoicing automation, nag email automation, membership processing automation, etc). Unless it’s causing a serious detriment to the group I don’t worry about timelines for most projects though. Exceptions would be things like physically moving spaces and other urgent matters that affect all members.

        As for member churn, we have a google questionnaire form that automatically goes out when memberships end. Most people for our group leave for lack of free time to use their memberships, moving away, etc. but sometimes we do get good feedback that something was wrong we didn’t know about. I have another questionnaire i am about to deploy to new members after they have joined for a few months to get a fresh angle we might be missing. But I’m a survey and spreadsheet nerd, so that’s my desire.

        Thanks,
        -dosman


        > On Jul 5, 2016, at 8:25 AM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:
        >
        > We’ve adopted as many of the hackerspace patterns as possible, but are a bit hung up reaching long-term financial sustainability due to member churn. The space we selected to start in required a lot of work and it has burned some members out. Given our community, we also have a shortage of members with some of the key skills that make setting up systems (IT, business) go faster, so that has taken some time. Getting there now.
        >
        > We’re also dealing with some  in-group/outgroup issues - mainly between those who’ve been trained in other environments to work tightly as a group (HAM, emergency ops, military) and those who have not.
        >
        >>
        > — Shirley
        > RMM, Birmingham, AL
        >
        > _______________________________________________
        > Discuss mailing list
        > [hidden email]
        > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss


        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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        Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

        Shirley Hicks
        So would I.

        All for saving steps. :D

        — Shirley

        On Jul 5, 2016, at 11:23 AM, Christopher Agocs <[hidden email]> wrote:

        dosman, I'd love to see your exit interview questionnaire. Could you send it to me?

        On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 11:20 AM, dosman <[hidden email]> wrote:
        A couple things to consider on this specific topic. My experience is that things go slower than desired on most hackerspace projects, but they do happen as there is time+demand, you just have to be ok with that. If people want to get involved and help they will, if no one wants to do the work then it’s left to the few that do the work as they have time. Lots of administrative stuff was done by me because it saved me tons of time in the long-run (invoicing automation, nag email automation, membership processing automation, etc). Unless it’s causing a serious detriment to the group I don’t worry about timelines for most projects though. Exceptions would be things like physically moving spaces and other urgent matters that affect all members.

        As for member churn, we have a google questionnaire form that automatically goes out when memberships end. Most people for our group leave for lack of free time to use their memberships, moving away, etc. but sometimes we do get good feedback that something was wrong we didn’t know about. I have another questionnaire i am about to deploy to new members after they have joined for a few months to get a fresh angle we might be missing. But I’m a survey and spreadsheet nerd, so that’s my desire.

        Thanks,
        -dosman


        > On Jul 5, 2016, at 8:25 AM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:
        >
        > We’ve adopted as many of the hackerspace patterns as possible, but are a bit hung up reaching long-term financial sustainability due to member churn. The space we selected to start in required a lot of work and it has burned some members out. Given our community, we also have a shortage of members with some of the key skills that make setting up systems (IT, business) go faster, so that has taken some time. Getting there now.
        >
        > We’re also dealing with some  in-group/outgroup issues - mainly between those who’ve been trained in other environments to work tightly as a group (HAM, emergency ops, military) and those who have not.
        >
        >>
        > — Shirley
        > RMM, Birmingham, AL
        >
        > _______________________________________________
        > Discuss mailing list
        > [hidden email]
        > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss


        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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        Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

        dosman
        In reply to this post by Christopher Agocs
        Here is the full text of our survey, I hope this is helpful.

        Thanks!
        -dosman


        =======================================================================
        Membership Exit Survey

        Bloominglabs would like to know more about why you're leaving and your feelings on membership.
        All questions are optional, and responses remain anonymous.

        What is your main reason for leaving?
        •  No longer have the time to use my membership
        •  Can no longer afford the dues
        •  Priorities have changed
        •  Lack of activities/workshops for my interests
        •  Lack of resources I wanted to use
        •  No longer feel that I fit into the community
        •  Conflicts with other members
        •  Other: 

        Is there anything that could be changed about Bloominglabs that would make you want to stay?
        Please elaborate on any of the above.

        Will you still be coming to public (Wednesday night) meetings?
        •  Yes
        •  Occasionally
        •  No

        Would you still be able to recommend Bloominglabs to new people you meet who may be interested?

        Please choose "Other" if you would choose "No" and feel comfortable listing reasons why.
        •  Yes
        •  No
        •  Other: 

        Are there people you met at Bloominglabs who you will still remain in contact with after leaving?
        •  Yes
        •  No

        Did you know that our discuss list is aimed at allowing people who are not formal members to still participate with our community?
        •  Yes
        •  No

        What first brought you to Bloominglabs?

        Did you have specific expectations about Bloominglabs that you feel weren't met?

        How has being a member changed your view of hacker/maker culture, or your place in it?

        Is there a resource you will miss having access to after leaving?

        Do you have any recommendations or comments about Bloominglabs and your involvement not covered by the rest of this survey?





        On Jul 5, 2016, at 12:23 PM, Christopher Agocs <[hidden email]> wrote:

        dosman, I'd love to see your exit interview questionnaire. Could you send it to me?

        On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 11:20 AM, dosman <[hidden email]> wrote:
        A couple things to consider on this specific topic. My experience is that things go slower than desired on most hackerspace projects, but they do happen as there is time+demand, you just have to be ok with that. If people want to get involved and help they will, if no one wants to do the work then it’s left to the few that do the work as they have time. Lots of administrative stuff was done by me because it saved me tons of time in the long-run (invoicing automation, nag email automation, membership processing automation, etc). Unless it’s causing a serious detriment to the group I don’t worry about timelines for most projects though. Exceptions would be things like physically moving spaces and other urgent matters that affect all members.

        As for member churn, we have a google questionnaire form that automatically goes out when memberships end. Most people for our group leave for lack of free time to use their memberships, moving away, etc. but sometimes we do get good feedback that something was wrong we didn’t know about. I have another questionnaire i am about to deploy to new members after they have joined for a few months to get a fresh angle we might be missing. But I’m a survey and spreadsheet nerd, so that’s my desire.

        Thanks,
        -dosman


        > On Jul 5, 2016, at 8:25 AM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:
        >
        > We’ve adopted as many of the hackerspace patterns as possible, but are a bit hung up reaching long-term financial sustainability due to member churn. The space we selected to start in required a lot of work and it has burned some members out. Given our community, we also have a shortage of members with some of the key skills that make setting up systems (IT, business) go faster, so that has taken some time. Getting there now.
        >
        > We’re also dealing with some  in-group/outgroup issues - mainly between those who’ve been trained in other environments to work tightly as a group (HAM, emergency ops, military) and those who have not.
        >
        >>
        > — Shirley
        > RMM, Birmingham, AL
        >
        > _______________________________________________
        > Discuss mailing list
        > [hidden email]
        > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss


        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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        Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

        Christopher Agocs
        Thank you very much!

        On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 11:32 AM, dosman <[hidden email]> wrote:
        Here is the full text of our survey, I hope this is helpful.

        Thanks!
        -dosman


        =======================================================================
        Membership Exit Survey

        Bloominglabs would like to know more about why you're leaving and your feelings on membership.
        All questions are optional, and responses remain anonymous.

        What is your main reason for leaving?
        •  No longer have the time to use my membership
        •  Can no longer afford the dues
        •  Priorities have changed
        •  Lack of activities/workshops for my interests
        •  Lack of resources I wanted to use
        •  No longer feel that I fit into the community
        •  Conflicts with other members
        •  Other: 

        Is there anything that could be changed about Bloominglabs that would make you want to stay?
        Please elaborate on any of the above.

        Will you still be coming to public (Wednesday night) meetings?
        •  Yes
        •  Occasionally
        •  No

        Would you still be able to recommend Bloominglabs to new people you meet who may be interested?

        Please choose "Other" if you would choose "No" and feel comfortable listing reasons why.
        •  Yes
        •  No
        •  Other: 

        Are there people you met at Bloominglabs who you will still remain in contact with after leaving?
        •  Yes
        •  No

        Did you know that our discuss list is aimed at allowing people who are not formal members to still participate with our community?
        •  Yes
        •  No

        What first brought you to Bloominglabs?

        Did you have specific expectations about Bloominglabs that you feel weren't met?

        How has being a member changed your view of hacker/maker culture, or your place in it?

        Is there a resource you will miss having access to after leaving?

        Do you have any recommendations or comments about Bloominglabs and your involvement not covered by the rest of this survey?





        On Jul 5, 2016, at 12:23 PM, Christopher Agocs <[hidden email]> wrote:

        dosman, I'd love to see your exit interview questionnaire. Could you send it to me?

        On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 11:20 AM, dosman <[hidden email]> wrote:
        A couple things to consider on this specific topic. My experience is that things go slower than desired on most hackerspace projects, but they do happen as there is time+demand, you just have to be ok with that. If people want to get involved and help they will, if no one wants to do the work then it’s left to the few that do the work as they have time. Lots of administrative stuff was done by me because it saved me tons of time in the long-run (invoicing automation, nag email automation, membership processing automation, etc). Unless it’s causing a serious detriment to the group I don’t worry about timelines for most projects though. Exceptions would be things like physically moving spaces and other urgent matters that affect all members.

        As for member churn, we have a google questionnaire form that automatically goes out when memberships end. Most people for our group leave for lack of free time to use their memberships, moving away, etc. but sometimes we do get good feedback that something was wrong we didn’t know about. I have another questionnaire i am about to deploy to new members after they have joined for a few months to get a fresh angle we might be missing. But I’m a survey and spreadsheet nerd, so that’s my desire.

        Thanks,
        -dosman


        > On Jul 5, 2016, at 8:25 AM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:
        >
        > We’ve adopted as many of the hackerspace patterns as possible, but are a bit hung up reaching long-term financial sustainability due to member churn. The space we selected to start in required a lot of work and it has burned some members out. Given our community, we also have a shortage of members with some of the key skills that make setting up systems (IT, business) go faster, so that has taken some time. Getting there now.
        >
        > We’re also dealing with some  in-group/outgroup issues - mainly between those who’ve been trained in other environments to work tightly as a group (HAM, emergency ops, military) and those who have not.
        >
        >>
        > — Shirley
        > RMM, Birmingham, AL
        >
        > _______________________________________________
        > Discuss mailing list
        > [hidden email]
        > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss


        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss



        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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        Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

        Ben Brown-2
        In reply to this post by Shirley Hicks
        Finance-wise, Kwartzlab has never been in the red. This has been
        achieved by being fiscally conservative of extra spending and proper
        reporting -- we always know where money is and for what purpose. Keeping
        the doors open and lights on is the priority, we've never considered a
        new space that we can't sustain with our current membership. Most of our
        big tools have come from grants/donations and member-driven group buys.
        We've also kept an emergency fund of three full months of operational
        expenses (rent, hydro, etc) that we've never used, but it's good to have
        just in case.

        Our biggest problem is we don't have enough new members interested in
        the general day-to-day operation of the space. Traditionally the board +
        small number of volunteers take care of most things - cleaning,
        upgrades, new tools, etc. However a lot of our core group (including
        myself) is burning out after seven years of operation. Our last two
        boards were appointed without a vote because we didn't have enough
        interested nominees.

        If anyone's got some insight on successful ways of combating member
        apathy I'd love to hear what worked!

        Cheers,
        Ben

        On 7/4/2016 6:11 PM, Shirley Hicks wrote:

        > Hey everyone,
        >
        > For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best financial and operational model? What organizational models have you looked at/borrowed from in order to improve your space? Looking for a couple to study in an effort to improve how the Red Mountain Makers is operating.
        >
        > Shirley Hicks
        > Red Mountain Makers
        > Birmingham, AL
        > _______________________________________________
        > Discuss mailing list
        > [hidden email]
        > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss


        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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        Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

        Robert Davidson
        In reply to this post by Shirley Hicks
        Shirley, 
        For Dallas Makerspace,
        We use Smart Waivers (Commercial Application) this collects there Name, DOB, Signature, Email to track understanding our waiver.
        We use WHMCS  (Commercial) as our Member Managment System this collects there Signup information and which membership class they are in as well as triggers recurring billing andt a automated emails such as (CC failures, Expiration, Password Resets)
        We have a custom solution Maker Manager currently 3.0 that handles integration for AD, MakerManager, WHMCS, Access Control.
        This allows self service for items such as issuing RFID Badges, Adding Family Members,
        for the admin side creating Contractor RFID, Audit logs etc.

        A couple of notes that I think help a lot,

        Direct Correlation between events and new members,
        Only allow reoccurring membership dues for example no one time payments of cash check etc
        During tours ask how they heard about us 
        For Cancellations ask why they are leaving
        Culture of Recruitment
        Adequate access control that does not allow a non member or non active member to traverse the bldg and use tools. (We are way past the size everyone knows each other)
        Automate all billing/membership access decisions (Nobody wants to shut someones badge cause they are having hard time but you have bills to pay, automation makes it less personal)

        On a financial model Dallas is running in what I am going to call the GYM model 

        Our price is $50 a month which gains you access to everything a lot of people tell us that the price is too low but in truth my goal is to make it so they don't cancel when they are finished with a project to create reoccurring revenue. I have visited quite a few makerspaces and feel this model is the most sustainable. 

        I would estimate 70% of the membership show up less than once a month.

        I think the biggest decision comes down to culture, 
        Dallas to my knowledge is one of the biggest when you do member count approx 1,200 members and growing.
        But culture is sacrificed gone are the days of everyone knew everyone, and running the corp like a club.

        So IMO Red Mountain should identify what kind of culture you want and based on that find a model that works for you to achieve the desired results.

        Robert  

        On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 11:24 AM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:
        So would I.

        All for saving steps. :D

        — Shirley

        On Jul 5, 2016, at 11:23 AM, Christopher Agocs <[hidden email]> wrote:

        dosman, I'd love to see your exit interview questionnaire. Could you send it to me?

        On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 11:20 AM, dosman <[hidden email]> wrote:
        A couple things to consider on this specific topic. My experience is that things go slower than desired on most hackerspace projects, but they do happen as there is time+demand, you just have to be ok with that. If people want to get involved and help they will, if no one wants to do the work then it’s left to the few that do the work as they have time. Lots of administrative stuff was done by me because it saved me tons of time in the long-run (invoicing automation, nag email automation, membership processing automation, etc). Unless it’s causing a serious detriment to the group I don’t worry about timelines for most projects though. Exceptions would be things like physically moving spaces and other urgent matters that affect all members.

        As for member churn, we have a google questionnaire form that automatically goes out when memberships end. Most people for our group leave for lack of free time to use their memberships, moving away, etc. but sometimes we do get good feedback that something was wrong we didn’t know about. I have another questionnaire i am about to deploy to new members after they have joined for a few months to get a fresh angle we might be missing. But I’m a survey and spreadsheet nerd, so that’s my desire.

        Thanks,
        -dosman


        > On Jul 5, 2016, at 8:25 AM, Shirley Hicks <[hidden email]> wrote:
        >
        > We’ve adopted as many of the hackerspace patterns as possible, but are a bit hung up reaching long-term financial sustainability due to member churn. The space we selected to start in required a lot of work and it has burned some members out. Given our community, we also have a shortage of members with some of the key skills that make setting up systems (IT, business) go faster, so that has taken some time. Getting there now.
        >
        > We’re also dealing with some  in-group/outgroup issues - mainly between those who’ve been trained in other environments to work tightly as a group (HAM, emergency ops, military) and those who have not.
        >
        >>
        > — Shirley
        > RMM, Birmingham, AL
        >
        > _______________________________________________
        > Discuss mailing list
        > [hidden email]
        > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss

        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss


        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss



        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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        Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

        Matt Joyce
        In reply to this post by Ben Brown-2
        I think one good question anyone in this list needs to ask themselves is who their hacker space is servicing?

        For some on the list the answer is 'the public'.  For others the answer is some specific 'community' or 'communities'.  For still others it is more of a, if I build it, they will come mentality.  I think the latter approach is doomed to failure.  The first and second approaches are specific and very very different.

        NYC Resistor focused on community first.  From the very get go, the organization pulled in the people it wanted as members to help contribute back to it's community and advance it.  As a result, we've enjoyed a relatively mild eight ( jesus has it been that long? ) year run.  And the fact that we are a homogenous community whole makes that a lot easier to achieve.  Our membership operates with the full force of the organization behind them.  And we are pretty much on board with agreeing with consensus decisions. 

        A public oriented space faces the problem of community hijacking.  Hackerdojo saw this.  And it was regrettable, but not ultimately destructive to the organization.  One community ended up being edged out by another, but the organization lived on as something new.  In a similar way, even NYC Resistor has changed as members have come and gone over the years.  But, there is a difference between a gradual shift in culture, and a sudden and abrupt shift that leaves some feeling as though they have just been robbed of their investment.

        Other issues facing a 'public' space are many.  So the questions of who does your space serve will have a huge impact on what the criteria are for success, and what models will work for you.



        On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 1:24 PM, Ben Brown <[hidden email]> wrote:
        Finance-wise, Kwartzlab has never been in the red. This has been
        achieved by being fiscally conservative of extra spending and proper
        reporting -- we always know where money is and for what purpose. Keeping
        the doors open and lights on is the priority, we've never considered a
        new space that we can't sustain with our current membership. Most of our
        big tools have come from grants/donations and member-driven group buys.
        We've also kept an emergency fund of three full months of operational
        expenses (rent, hydro, etc) that we've never used, but it's good to have
        just in case.

        Our biggest problem is we don't have enough new members interested in
        the general day-to-day operation of the space. Traditionally the board +
        small number of volunteers take care of most things - cleaning,
        upgrades, new tools, etc. However a lot of our core group (including
        myself) is burning out after seven years of operation. Our last two
        boards were appointed without a vote because we didn't have enough
        interested nominees.

        If anyone's got some insight on successful ways of combating member
        apathy I'd love to hear what worked!

        Cheers,
        Ben

        On 7/4/2016 6:11 PM, Shirley Hicks wrote:
        > Hey everyone,
        >
        > For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best financial and operational model? What organizational models have you looked at/borrowed from in order to improve your space? Looking for a couple to study in an effort to improve how the Red Mountain Makers is operating.
        >
        > Shirley Hicks
        > Red Mountain Makers
        > Birmingham, AL
        > _______________________________________________
        > Discuss mailing list
        > [hidden email]
        > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss


        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss


        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
        [hidden email]
        http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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        Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

        dosman
        In reply to this post by Robert Davidson
        +1

        > On Jul 5, 2016, at 1:35 PM, Robert Davidson <[hidden email]> wrote:
        >
        > ...
        > So IMO Red Mountain should identify what kind of culture you want and based on that find a model that works for you to achieve the desired results.
        >
        > Robert  

        _______________________________________________
        Discuss mailing list
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        Re: [hackerspaces] Who currently has the best, most functional hackerspace model?

        Ben Brown-2
        In reply to this post by Matt Joyce
        Those are some very good points. Without a thriving community, a hackerspace is just a box with tools.

        Despite Kwartzlab's original mandate was more or less 'by members, for members', we do a lot of outward-facing events. We team up with other organizations to teach skills. We have repair cafes and other things to interact with the community at large. We don't really do a lot of member-specific events anymore... the AGM is about the only one.

        We focused on community a lot in the early days -- spontaneous hackathons, talks, parties and what not. It also helped that we all contributed to building the actual space together, which created a lot of camaraderie. When we moved in 2013, we gained some core members by building out our 2nd space in a similar fashion.

        I'm thinking we need to do more like this... at least get everyone in the same space more often.

        Ben

        On 7/5/2016 1:40 PM, Silence Dogood wrote:
        I think one good question anyone in this list needs to ask themselves is who their hacker space is servicing?

        For some on the list the answer is 'the public'.  For others the answer is some specific 'community' or 'communities'.  For still others it is more of a, if I build it, they will come mentality.  I think the latter approach is doomed to failure.  The first and second approaches are specific and very very different.

        NYC Resistor focused on community first.  From the very get go, the organization pulled in the people it wanted as members to help contribute back to it's community and advance it.  As a result, we've enjoyed a relatively mild eight ( jesus has it been that long? ) year run.  And the fact that we are a homogenous community whole makes that a lot easier to achieve.  Our membership operates with the full force of the organization behind them.  And we are pretty much on board with agreeing with consensus decisions. 

        A public oriented space faces the problem of community hijacking.  Hackerdojo saw this.  And it was regrettable, but not ultimately destructive to the organization.  One community ended up being edged out by another, but the organization lived on as something new.  In a similar way, even NYC Resistor has changed as members have come and gone over the years.  But, there is a difference between a gradual shift in culture, and a sudden and abrupt shift that leaves some feeling as though they have just been robbed of their investment.

        Other issues facing a 'public' space are many.  So the questions of who does your space serve will have a huge impact on what the criteria are for success, and what models will work for you.



        On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 1:24 PM, Ben Brown <[hidden email]> wrote:
        Finance-wise, Kwartzlab has never been in the red. This has been
        achieved by being fiscally conservative of extra spending and proper
        reporting -- we always know where money is and for what purpose. Keeping
        the doors open and lights on is the priority, we've never considered a
        new space that we can't sustain with our current membership. Most of our
        big tools have come from grants/donations and member-driven group buys.
        We've also kept an emergency fund of three full months of operational
        expenses (rent, hydro, etc) that we've never used, but it's good to have
        just in case.

        Our biggest problem is we don't have enough new members interested in
        the general day-to-day operation of the space. Traditionally the board +
        small number of volunteers take care of most things - cleaning,
        upgrades, new tools, etc. However a lot of our core group (including
        myself) is burning out after seven years of operation. Our last two
        boards were appointed without a vote because we didn't have enough
        interested nominees.

        If anyone's got some insight on successful ways of combating member
        apathy I'd love to hear what worked!

        Cheers,
        Ben

        On 7/4/2016 6:11 PM, Shirley Hicks wrote:
        > Hey everyone,
        >
        > For those of you who visit other hackerspaces, who has the best financial and operational model? What organizational models have you looked at/borrowed from in order to improve your space? Looking for a couple to study in an effort to improve how the Red Mountain Makers is operating.
        >
        > Shirley Hicks
        > Red Mountain Makers
        > Birmingham, AL
        > _______________________________________________
        > Discuss mailing list
        > [hidden email]
        > http://lists.hackerspaces.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss


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