What do Seattle, Silicon Valley, Berlin and Cambridge (both Cambridges) Have In Common?By Guest Contributor 14 Oct, 2009
Editor’s Note: Wong Meng Weng co-founded pobox.com and karmasphere.com during his time in the US. In Singapore, he works with a venture-funded Red Herring Global 100 company on new product strategy. He has taken over 10,000 photographs of random strangers. When he takes yours, you will like it so much it will become your profile pic, or your money back.
They’re all home to hacker spaces.
Part living room, part hardware lab, hacker spaces are beginning to mushroom: back in March, Wired counted over a hundred hacker spaces around the world.
And “mushroom” is a surprisingly apt analogy: outside of tech hubs like the San Francisco Bay Area, hackers have traditionally stayed underground, like fungal hyphae, gathering furtively at 2600 events or at conferences like HOPE and SIGGRAPH and various motley Barcamps.
But in the last few years conditions have reached critical mass: after Make Magazine legitimized engineering as an avenue for creative expression, a generation of nerds have started to stumble, blinking, into the sunlight.
Where do nerds go when they leave the house?
I beg your pardon: they’re not quite nerds, they’re not just geeks; they’re hackers.
Hackers go to hacker spaces.
Starting in November, Singapore’s hackers will have a hacker space of their own: hackerspace.sg.
By day, hackerspace.sg will be a co-working shared office for entrepreneurs and independents. For people who want to get out of the house, but don’t necessarily want to make Starbucks their second home.
When night falls, the hackers come. Out of the darkness. Dressed in black. Like vampires. Geeky vampires. Who build robots. Because they have Asperger’s.
If you’re a hacker –
– if you misspent your youthful Saturday nights building Linux boxes…
– if your mental map of Sim Lim is oriented along green elevator vs blue elevator…
– if your childhood heroes were Richard Feynman, Einstein, Coyote, or Ji Gong and the Monkey King
– if your inner five-year-old never stopped asking “why”, and more importantly, “why not?”…
Come meet the others.
Hackerspace.sg will offer a space to build things and the tools to build them with.
It will also serve the community’s need for meetup spaces: rather than scrounging space at community centres, library branches, and off-peak restaurants, user groups can now meet at the hackerspace on any night of the week.
There might even be SuperHappyDevHouse weekends and TED talks and movie nights:
(“Bambi?” you ask. Yes, Bambi. What, don’t you like Bambi? Is there something wrong with you?)
Where will the hackerspace be?
After much house-hunting, the hackerspace.sg organizers settled on the Kampong Glam area: it’s bohemian, funky, artsy, and very close to good food at all hours.
The membership drive is now officially open. Regular memberships begin at $128 per month. Youth members pay $64. The hackerspace requires a six month commitment, three months payable upfront. If you’re really broke, you can pledge $32 and wash dishes while everybody else relaxes on the sofa.
Sponsors are also welcome: old wealthy hackers are welcome to donate $1024 or more.
How to join as a member?
Leave a pledge at the bottom of http://hackerspacesg.pbworks.com/HowToPledge. We’ll ping you again when it’s time to cough up the funds.
And join the mailing list, and post a description of yourself: what makes you a hacker? What hacks have you accomplished in the past? What are you working on now?