Public Planning Meeting 1/4/2010

Our first meeting of the new year will be held on January 4th, at 6:30 PM. We’re going to meet on the main floor of the Boilerhouse Cafe at North Central College (29 N Loomis St, Naperville, IL 60540).

As always, this meeting is open to the public, so if you’re interested in what we’re doing, we encourage you to come out and share your ideas!

This meeting is an important one for several reasons:

  • It will be our first meeting as an official entity!  Adam and Jay did a great job getting the paperwork filled out and submitted last week, so Workshop 88 is actually a legal entity!
  • We’ll be collecting dues for the first time.  This has some bearing on the next point.
  • We’ll be electing officers and committee chairs.  If you’re interested in serving in one of these positions, and you haven’t told us yet, send email to info@workshop88.com and let us know how you want to help!  To vote in this election, you’ll need to pay for a full membership ($50 per month, or $500 per year).  If you want to contribute, but can’t afford the $50/month, there is also a $25/month supporting membership that doesn’t come with voting rights.
  • We’ll be approving our bylaws.  This document will lay out the membership privileges, operating procedures, things like that.
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This entry was posted in Announcements and tagged by rlankenau. Bookmark the permalink.

About rlankenau

I'm a software engineer. Right now I make a living writing C, Java, and .NET. I grew up in Naperville, live in Batavia, and work for a company based in Redwood City, California. In previous lives, I was a landscaper, a metal sculptor's assistant, a carpenter, a library clerk, a volunteer blacksmith, and a visualization programmer, among other things. In my spare time, I work on games for Windows and the XBox 360.

3 thoughts on “Public Planning Meeting 1/4/2010

  1. Some thoughts on membership fees:
    I think this team is doing a fantastic job establishing this maker group. The ideas are bright, the momentum is strong, and the necessary work is geting done. I feel the benefit that a member can receive from the collaboration with other members is invaluable. Idea generation and getting help on something one may be stuck on is priceless.
    I think the membership price is worth more discussion. I understand that 15 or so paying members at $500 or $600 per year covers the cost of renting space. And, this space will quickly become a useful repository for donated parts, materials, and tools. But, remember what you are competing with: basements, garages, and the internet. BG&I are already being paid for by potential Workshop88 members with their own personal rent, mortgages, and monthly fees. BG&I are already comfortable workspaces with no commuting time. Potential members may elect to not join because the cost of supporting a satellite workshop is too high.
    Workshop88 may require the additional money to pay for insurance, security, and large capital items. But, again, remember what we are competing with. Individuals are already insured and secure at our primary residences (or should be), and at $500-$600 per year, we can buy those expensive tools for our own personal use in our own personal space.
    I may not have a complete understanding of the grand purpose of Workshop88. There may be capital items in the range of $20,000 – $50,000 or more that members wish to acquire and use. In that case, I can understand the monthly fees. Or, perhaps the vision for Workshop88 is for members to be shareholders in profitable ventures the group initiates. In that case I can understand the return on investment.
    Businesses typically don’t profit during their first years of operating. Perhaps a couple of Workshop88 individuals can invest money to support operations for three to five years. A couple $2000 – $5000 checks can go a long way. Not to mention, those individuals with money at stake will work hard to see that Workshop88 succeeds.
    Then, membership can grow with lower monthly fees (say, $10). Initial investors can simply be given free membership for the term of their investment. For a $5000 investment, free membership for three years at $10/month is almost 2.4% annualized return provided the initial $5000 is given back after 36 months. Try getting that rate from your bank.

  2. Kevin,

    I understand your position, and I realize that $50/month feels like a lot to pay for something that feels extremely nebulous at this point. I’m sure we could draw in many more members with a membership rate at $10/month, but I don’t think we can provide the same quality of service to our members at that rate.

    Just for the sake of discussion, let’s consider a hypothetical budget of $12,000 for our first year. Based on the properties we’ve scouted in the area, rent will be at least $7,000/year, perhaps a bit more. Insurance, equipment, and a few months rent in reserve will eat up the remainder of the budget. If we assume 20 members, we have a cost of around $50/month. If we reduce the rate to $10/month, we need to bring in 100 members to come up with the same amount of income. We certainly haven’t been scouting properties that would accommodate that number of members, and I’m not sure we could even hope to find that many people interested, even at a much lower rate.

    Part of what we’re going to be discussing over the next few weeks is exactly what we are going to provide to our members in exchange for their monthly dues. We absolutely don’t want people to think that they’re not getting value out of their memberships, so I’m sure we’ll have a lot of good discussion about how best to provided incentives to maintaining a membership. Being a member provides you with a direct way to make sure that you’re getting what you want out of the group. I think a slightly higher membership fee will really encourage people to get the most out of the group and give _everybody_ a stake in our success, rather than just a few large investors.

    To your point about collaboration, brainstorming, and cooperation, you don’t need to be a member to take advantage of those sorts of things. We will continue inviting the public to participate in our bi-weekly meetings, as well as other Workshop 88 sponsored events, so there will be ways to participate without being a full member.

    Membership may not be for everyone, and I certainly don’t want to discourage people from tinkering in their basements and garages. I feel like it is worth the monthly fee just to be part of an organization promoting exploration and intellectual curiosity. I feel like we’re doing something worthwhile and that’s why I’m lending my support.

    Thanks for bringing up all of these points, I’m sure they’ll provoke a lot of discussion at the next meeting!

    -Russ

  3. Kevin, Russ

    After reading both sets of comments I figured I would toss my two cents in.

    I would like to start off by saying in no way should Workshop 88 be competing with the BG&I. While both provide similar outlets, they are essentially catering to completely different things. Yes if people want to tinker in the garage by themselves, we shouldn’t try to stop them. If they wish to be part of a group that works together to better themselves and the community, then welcome aboard. 10 dollars, 5 dollars no dollars, if people don’t want to be social about their tinkering, it wont matter the cost. 50$ does sound pretty expensive when you look at it as just a place to tinker, but Workshop 88 wont be a one trick pony. To be honest, 50$ a month might be easier to swallow then trying to explain to your significant other why the garage or basement is full of “crap”. : )

    Also, I understand that with 500 dollars you could go out and buy the nice arc welder you might of needed for your said project, but sadly that might not be the case for everyone, be it because of lack of space, or whatever. To counter your argument, it is very unlikely that you could finish a massive project with a single tool…. so I guess that means you have to wait till next year to finish it.. Or you could pay the 500 dollars a year to have access to many more machines that would of cost you a lot more had you purchased them yourself.

    I agree with Russ about the investors. It does put a few people at a MUCH higher risk. Having everyone pay the same allows there to be no finical benefits. At the same time it creates issue of who owns the machines? who owns the projects created? do the investors get control of project direction? All questions that are easily solved when everyone pays the same.

    My final comment, we currently have anywhere between 20-30 people.. which would bring Workshop 88 200-300 dollars a month. Assume 50-80 cents a therm roughly, we’d be lucky if we could even pay the bill for heat.

    I hope I was able to bring some ideas to the table.

    -Nick

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