Meeting Notes/20160618

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Treasurer's report: Summary: $29k in bank, 207 members, saving about 1k to 2k per month, recent efforts to audit members list, audit valid B-Shares for voting list This lead to general discussion of increasing member involvment and voting activity.

Operating Agreement Amendment / 501c3: This was mis-discribed on the mailing list, it is not about voting, but on ownership of non-B shares. No exact text is proposed yet, so the proposal was a bit premature, but the general line of thought is:

  • Some portion of the board and members want to convert to a non-profit entity
  • The method of doing this that seems plausible is:
    • Make a 501 3c non-profit in parallel to the current company
    • Have that new non-profit collect some donations
    • Current A and C share owners may donate their shares to the new non-profit and take a tax write-off (which means the new entity must go through the process of being fully 501 3c non-profit in the IRS's eyes, which means the timeline for this is long)
    • Other A and C share members would sell their shares to the new non-profit, which means the new entity has to raise some money
    • At some point the new entity would own the current one, and we could cosolidate under the new non-profit

An amendment to our Operating Agreement to allow a non-profit entity to own shares (but not vote) would enable this course of action in the future, but not commit us to it, but it would be an option to the membership in the future.

David for PR Board discussion Discussion why we need a PR person, why we are bad at social media, and David was not there but had sent in this email:

Hey everyone,

So, a couple of days ago I put in my name to volunteer for the public relations position that opened up a while ago. In this post, I want to talk about why I did that, what my intentions and goals are for the position, my goals for the space, and proposals I would like to put forth as the PR director.

The most vital component of a hackerspace are the people who make it what it is. We can always get new or different tools or relocate to another building, but the people, the artists, makers, hackers and thinkers, we are the ones who make the community. This is the overarching concept that I want to bring with me into what I do.

I see a hackerspace as a diverse community of thinkers and makers, people with creative ideas who do creative things. More diversity of thought and talent expressed here will lead to a more vibrant and engaging place. I would like to see more users of our currently underused areas like the crafts area, the future chem/bio lab, the metalworking and electronics areas. I will also work hard to increase the user base for the entirety of the Hackerspace, there's no reason why we couldn't easily support a hundred or more new members, especially considering that other hackerspaces/makerspaces around the country easily have more members per square foot than we do.

The PR position is a relationship between our space and the public - people who are not yet members. The goal for the PR person is to communicate regularly and openly with the public in a way that promotes our community, our projects, and our space.

My goals as PR director are to:

   Promote the space creatively - use every available tool in the toolbox to attract new members who will add value to the space and allow us to expand, improve and grow. It will be very important to take advantage of social media and create regular blog posts that are motivating and engaging.
   Respond to calls and queries from the general public and direct them in the appropriate direction.
   Launch successful social media campaigns with frequent, regular updates that showcase the best features of what we can offer.
   Create and use our social media profiles on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, etc. to showcase the cool projects of our members and to promote them and their work.
   Organize events and programs that will introduce us to the public and allow us to interact in fun and educational ways.
   Promote the cool projects of our members here to inspire new members join and create good publicity for the Hackerspace and the members.
   Use our Meetup account to announce and hold regular free meetups for like-minded people, hopefully with lots of free beer.

A couple improvements that I want to propose:

   A telephone number. Someone has already recommended a phone number at our previous member meeting. It's a great idea. A working phone number adds credibility to any organization and provides another means of communication between the public & us. I would set up a Google Voice number, which is free and we can add a friendly recorded message with instructions and other options to reach us. I would add a voicemail option for people who aren't internet savvy to leave a message and contact info so I can call them back and speak to them. There are a lot of older people out there who don't give a hoot about the internets but would love to come here every once in a while to cut and plane a little wood or weld something up for a home project.
   An online store. I would like to design and develop an online store for our members so they can market and sell their creations. This will also give the space cool publicity and showcase the wide variety of awesome things that are built here. I would propose to develop this with WooCommerce and add it to the new website that Rob Williams has been working hard to develop.
   Create ATX Hackerspace e-commerce marketplace accounts. We should also have an Etsy page, as well as pages on other marketplaces that cater to American handmade art and products, like,,,, and others. Again, this will be good for our members who create things here for a living and good for all of us.

Rob for Education Board discussion

There was discussion of the amount of class related work increasing, and possible assistent / volunteer help, and delegating more work. Danny Miller commented on organizing signups for classes and class scheduling issues.

Dustin Silverman is moving to Dallas, so the Board HR Position will come up next month -- description of duties, general board duties

Lease status -- pretty much where we were last meeting, need to fill out coworking and increase membership to cover expansion into neighboring unit if we want to do that.

Other impromptu topics that came up:

Parked cars review - One BMW disappeared, the other one appears to be actively in progress, Bus is underway, White Suburban with giant mind-control antennea is an active project, but nothing has happened recently with the white electric truck that is in a desirable spot. This lead to discussion of the Porche project, if it could be at least cleaned up to be presentable, etc.

This lead to a general discussion of the need for any space to be in a presentable state - member storage on the scaffolding, woodworking area covered in sawdust, etc.

After the official close of the meeting a few members looked at coworking to see if they wanted spaces and Rob Williams showed the current status of the new wordpress site on the overhead projector.