I just got a message on the HeatSync Labs Facebook account asking about how we started; figured I’d post it here since it’s a common (and necessary) question:
What was the goal when Heatsync was still in its building phase?
To create a place that removes obstacles to people making things; to support a community of creators in Arizona and improve the area; to provide resources to the public, since many of us had just graduated from college and didn’t have those resources anymore.
Can you describe how the Workspace came to be? in terms of development, funding, spreading the word, and so on
First, the founders went around to other similar places to see what worked and what didn’t work about those locations; chatting with other founders and learning from them. Then they went around to local meetups to find others who might be interested in using such a space, or helping somehow. Finally we started meeting up in freely accessible areas before we grew to the point where we outstayed our welcome and needed our own dedicated space.
Fortunately by that point enough members had signed up to pay dues that we could barely pay the rent on a location. We were also assisted by donations from a corporate sponsor for the first year, thanks to our 501c3 status, however this never factored into our budgets: it was just a safety net.
Social media and word of mouth have been our primary way of spreading the word but we also hold events occasionally and do outreach (usually hands-on events or talks at other locations.)
What is the typical demographic for the lab? is it mainly engineers, or are there more art students?
Over 50% are computer nerds of some type, (we are a “hackerspace” after all) but lately more art types have stopped by, which is a nice balance. Our goal was to mix disciplines as well — programmers next to mechanical engineers next to welders and sewers.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions
You’re welcome, and please do stop by other locations! I’m making a directory/discussion list of collaborative spaces in Arizona here, which might help you: www.arizonacollab.com