HackerspaceWed 01 April 2015
I think it's about 15 years now that I want a hackerspace in my town, and today that dream become reality. The hackerspace or makerspace (I never could tell the difference) is and will be alternate place for acquiring knowledge. Let's go to the beginnings and see how it all unfolded.
I started dreaming about hackerspace more seriously about 2 years ago. What was the real trigger is the last year's BalCCon. One of our guests was Mitch Altman. If you never heard of the guy, I recommend his TED talk in Brussels. The man is one of those smiley faces that radiates out "it's easy if you really want it" message. One night we were sitting in the basement of the museum where the BalCCon was held and talked about starting a hackerspace in Novi Sad. He had a lot to say, but only one thing he said stuck in my head: "Out of 60k hackerspaces round the globe, not single one ever failed because of lack of funding". It took me two weeks to process that. To be more precise, I live in a place and time where people are happy if they have any job. Let me repeat that, it's important: "ANY JOB". That's the reason I couldn't just accept the truth about hackerspace funding. Once I accepted that in my mind, I was ready for the the next step.
You might think that the next step would be opening the hackerspace, but no. I had to talk to a lot more people (on BalCCon, of course) who had experience with this matter. I've heard all kinds of squat stories, funding initiatives, creative ways of persuading landlords how to keep the rent low, and such, but one man was really standing out: Arnd from Technologia Incognita (sorry, Arnd, I don't know your online identity). Although Mitch is inspiring, Arnd gave me tons of stories from his hackerspace experience that really pushed me forward. With all of these educational stories, I've set my path.
As always, we tried asking for resources from other organizations and foundations with no luck. At one point I was pissed of by my incompetence to start a hackerspace. All other people are able to do it, but not me. I took it really personal, so I sit down and realized one simple fact: I have my own flat, but if I didn't have it, I would be forced to rent one, like most of my friends do, and it's the same with the hackerspace. So I decided to change the client, and the minimal salary I would be satisfied with, and I made it. Don't get me wrong, there are friends of mine that give moral and financial support, I was just sick of planing projects to fund a hackerspace (in short, begging), and I was determined to be able to fund it on my own, if everything else fails.
In short, the result is Tilda Center. I'm sitting in the hackerspace of my town while writing this post with Internet connection provided by the kind people of NS Wireless. We have our own 67 square meters of space to gather, hack, talk, exchange knowledge and welcome new people. Come, visit us!