[Noisebridge-discuss] Follow up on request for someone to help us run a workshop

Gabe Mahoney gabe at optimizely.com
Mon Mar 30 20:51:10 UTC 2015

Hi Rubin,

Thanks a bunch for letting me know all this. I realize now my email was too terse and I didn’t actually fully understand how what I was asking could go against the ideals of Noisebridge. That’s certainly not my intent and I really appreciate you clarifying things. You’ve summed up my intent well with this line: “simply misunderstood what we're about, have all the good intentions here, just want to throw together some fun team building workshop for your employees, and are looking to hire a fun hacker to run such a workshop for you. "

But let me explain a bit more about myself and what I am looking for and you all can tell me whether there is a way for Noisebridge to be involved or not. If not, I totally get it and that’s cool.

Me and my intentions
I came to SF in 1998 from Boston and was blown away by the flourishing art / science hybrid thing that was going on. I had friends at places like the Crucible and while my own focus was music I was really impressed by all of the great things that came from creative collectives like that.

I am currently the manager of a team of software engineers, many of whom are young and new to San Francisco. I want to expose them to that San Francisco. Many of them know very little about the tech/artist/hacker culture here. Noisebridge seemed like a bastion of that San Francisco so it seemed ideal.

I reached out to Mitch to see if we could crash his Circuit Hacking or Arduino for Newbies classes, or maybe do a private class (not realizing that this latter option was against Noisebridge’s tenets). He said he was unavailable in April and suggested I send a request to the noisebridge list and see if there was someone who wanted to help.

The gig
I’ve got budget for a “morale building” event for 50 software engineers. I would be psyched if I could spend some of that in a way that supports Noisebridge’s goals (like paying the rent). If we had an event at Noisebridge and our budget went towards it, I would have no problem with that being open to the public as well so long as I could confirm that each of my engineers would get to participate as well. We’d be totally up for meeting and hanging with other people. We’re very friendly :)

If that is inappropriate then I would like to see if there are fun hackers who hang around Noisebridge who might be interested in helping me do something at our office or elsewhere. If even that’s inappropriate then that’s fine too and just let me know.

Really sorry for any kerfuffle I may have caused with my previous (or even with this current) request.


On March 30, 2015 at 12:10:00, Rubin Abdi (rubin at starset.net) wrote:

Hi Gabe.  

Your previous emails have caused a bit of a ruckus on both our IRC channel and on Slack in the last few hours. I think people are a little irked over not really knowing what your intentions are with your request and are getting mildly emotional over guesses to it. Also since it's the internet and many of these people are communicating over it, no one wants to actually poke you for clarification, and would much rather chew each other out over their opinions about it. Epic lulz, etc.  

Noisebridge is a non-profit hackerspace, one of the things we provide as such is volunteer driven free to the general public classes over a multitude of subjects. Some key words one might notice in that previous sentence are...  

- Non-profit: We're not here to make money, though we do appreciate (and desperately need) donations to pay rent.  
- Volunteer driven: We do this because we like to do this, not because we have to or because we're paying paid to. Additionally we teach what we want to teach, how we want to teach it.  
- Free to the general public: Are classes are always for free, always. One might want to pay for materials, and we might be pushy about donations, but the classes themselves are always for free.  

A bunch of folks who can't get their shit together to actually reply to your post feel that your request comes off as wanting a very specific to happen, mirroring a similar class which happens to be for free. You also want this thing to happen for your paid employees, which is sort of limiting to the general public. And without really naming if you'd be willing to pay whoever teaching this thing for you, you're also ok to have this event happen at Noisebridge.  

Some of us, myself included, feel that you simply misunderstood what we're about, have all the good intentions here, just want to throw together some fun team building workshop for your employees, and are looking to hire a fun hacker to run such a workshop for you.  

Anyhow, just wanted to point out the invisible elephant in the room, so that I can go back to complaining about trivial things on IRC. Thanks for reading.  

rubin at starset.net  

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