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Rough Notes from meeting 19/5/14


- Laura James (director) - Brian Starkey (laser, 3d printer) - Robert Karpinksky - Owen Woods - Tim Rowse - Kim Spence Jones (lathe, 3d printers, badger owner)

- Roger Smith (big mill, General Troubles)
- Chris Abri (CNC router)
- Adrian van den Heever
- Mat Cook (laser owner, bandsaw) 
- Michael thomas
- Robert Copcutt (lathe, mills, chopsaw, bandsaw)
- Brian Corteil
- John Sturdy
- Jonny Austin (director)
- Toby Moncaster (laser owner)
- Steve Upton (family makers)
- Peter Sewell (fine metalwork owner)

Laura James: State of finances

- Started with initial grant, 40k from ideaSpace. 15k unclaimed because it was conditional on targets that we have

   - either not met, or been unable to prove we have met

Membership fees pay for operation costs Sponsirship and grant pay for setup, etc

Makespace intends to run with cash in the bank for a rainy day - we want to be cash rich. Certain things are still unknown despite a year of operation, we have still not had an electricity bill.

Income is around 6.6k/month. Current costs for the last 3 months, average 850/month. During 2013 when there was more active setup were spending closer to 2k/month Overal P&L over exitence to date. Income £111k, operating expenses of: £20k This does NOT include capital purposes.

So we do have cash in the bank, 100k, fixed assets around the space, 46k Liabilities: Taxman owed 10k, One directors owed 10k as personal loan

Net asests £115k

We think not worth claiming the 15k remainign grant - volunteer effort to get this more scarce than cash at present.

bulk of costs - fees, insurance, bits and bobs

Cash in bank also valuable to cover potential future ocmmercial rates! looks like we’d need to pay for a 10 year lease at substantial rates… so money in bank important

grant - may be lost opportunity? No, not losing future grant opportunities

Other grants may be available too. BUT right now money isn’t apparently teh gate on stuff

We have looked at a second round of sponsorship - community sponsorship. 1 5k grant so far, think another 3 companies might want to come in. This would pay for a good events room and an events programme. publicity budget etc.


we are still waiting to find out if we have the extra space downstairs - which might help here. This woudl be available via a key at booked times. We could not leave stuff there -- or rather we’d have to let others use it.

other space options exist. we could take part in a big fundraiser to be part of a collaborative new build but we’d need a lot of time! in suits! riasing funds

note that we may need a 6m overlap between current space and new space! therefore extra work needed. and extra money.

future space ideas: one for a subsequent conversation.


210 members. roughly level, although churn has decreased in recent months.

reasons for leaving:

1) “too expensive for the time i can put in to it“ 2) i am leaving cambrige 3) (less than 5 people) ‘it’s not working for me’

do numbers matter, or something else? engagement?

we could change how we are - eg fewer people, more money, be more like an incubator. bigger conversation :)

size of thursday maker night scales with number of members.

What about training? there’s kit trianing. then there’s rich useful skilsl training.

Could we lower the fee to get more people invovled who have more time?

or look at other pricing etc. note you can pay more if you use lots of time…

cheaper membership for volunteers - hard to police - impossible to be fair.

what about if we drop the fee? do we get as much new volutneer energy as we’d have to spend in new extra idnuctions etc?

we should base membership fees on a financial model - how much money we need. Not on how many members we want . … because whatever monthly fee we set we’d be having this ‘shallw e cut membership fees’ chat now!

how much money do we need to set aside for new lease/building/transition???

do we know about attendance? answer: we haev a log from rfid tokens. maybe not super accurate, but we have it. do we want to try detailed analysis???

do we want kit usage data?

survey - gather data on kit and other things too. last survey - we couldnt’ remember - november??

generally positive sense of survey and questions about how can we improve engagegment questions: are you aware of X? have you attended X? pitch events ;)

survey team:

adrian michael steve U toby JOnny laura

volunteers - what’s been working well and what’s been working less well?

  • speed of getting kit in and trained on it is slow. eg one item of kit - slow decision making, stuff started but not finished. didn’t want to tread on toes. “someone elses’ plans”
  • mailing list decision grinds to a halt
  • single person projects mean stuff blocks or fails when they run out of steam
  • if we could speed up the process of new kit, so that people are full energy when we get kit in and start training
  • mailing list decisoin 0making difficult.

Good example: oscilloscope purchase went well. Why? there was already some vague thoughts about scope. Also we could say “this is the first, we can have another later”. Also doesn’t need to be Red and therefore pass hard criteria so much

bad example: reflow oven. CNC mill. No guidelines so contradictory demands.

Mailing lists are Bad for decisions.

2 problems: 1 person wants something no one else wants. OR people want an X, people will settle, but a few folks don’t agree and thrash forever.

if the person who wants it isn’t an expert, it’s a big barrier to entry to getting it to happen

Where stuff is really dangerous or large or expensive, worth taking time.

Idea: every 2m meetings where proposals are reviewed. Proposal list sent around, so there can be debate on list beforehand, and people who care contribute on list and/or turn up.

Rule: all purchases need 2 or more backers

There is already a rule for risk assessment to be done before the purchase.

Also question about kit we have where it’s not properly set up - eg knitting, wood lathe

struggle to get trained machinists!

can we spend money to train up some owners???

It is OK to request a training purchse - if you are trianing owners and trainers! totally fine for active volunteers who look likely. Also purchasing trianing books etc, paying for a course, paying for someone to come here to train etc

^^ need to write that up.

we should have more double checking of training for new kit where it’s unsafe. especially where our native knowledge is for whatever reason in doubt.

need clearer understanding of owner / trainer roles - and what responsibility handover is needed.

overworked laser cutter team!!! very badly :( now somewhat better but still delicate… new laser cutter team v dependent on Mat having energy and no job where is new blood for laser cutter coming from?

should be able to say “sorry i don’t sign you off on this kit”

putting in too much volunteer effort - +£40 -- really doesn’t pay off. just does’t work. will have to step down as a member.

very hard not to respond when people ask questions

very hard not to help people

very hard to defend our own making time committing to a guest or other member helps here :)

greater reiteration of trianing being voluntary greater request that you shouldn’t shout for training etc but respect volunteers

induction can be forgettable.. . need reminder / 2 phase?

wiki - can be hard to navigate. ‘how to buy stuff’ needs to be easier to find stuff (can we add more keywords to the wiki page to make it more searchable)

wiki -- photos of owners/trainers? no - already appraoched too much

email aliases are pretty good and helpful

do we want a separate reminder or quiz on induction after the fact? to help people learn

Buddy system - helping people make stuff - buddy system for tasks

provisional licenses on kit items

general reminder about being polite

emphasis how to get help… clearer

more videos & photos & booklets (like the fine metalwork bench one which is awesome)

working party document jam - for say 3 bits of kit

add to inductions : “ask questions but take no for an answer”

note that this doesn’t put it in people’s heads:

there should just be a regular monthly meetupin meetup, doesn’t need special organising Last Thursday Of The MOnth bring own food and drink & finished projects

once every 2m? make it more of a thing?

do we need pub night or social?? maybe not in makespace?

show and tell / speed dating

regular meetups - if someone wants to theme it they can, otherwise it’s just a social night

maybe we can print the events and stick them on the wall!

maybe we can email events out in monthly update email!! (could others contrib to monthly mailuot drafting)

separate meetups for training and events

prize fund for hackerspace tool -- open source, meeting requirements… would need to write spec

or a small prize to identify code writer?

or pay a contractor?

more foods!

internal test site on internal website.