Before there was ever a McMaster Innovation Park or an incubator in town, the original shared work and social space in Hamilton for nerdier-than-most people to get together was hackerspace ThinkHaus (@ThinkHausOrg).
Since that time there’s been a lot of new innovation incubators, makerspaces, shared working spaces, co-working spaces, etc – for example Platform 302, Innovation Factory, CoMotion on King, The Forge downtown, etc. Now even the downtown library has a makerspace on the 4th floor! They are all different spaces, targeting different niches… craft hobbies vs. startup businesses… but they all involve nerdier-than-most folks getting together to work and play together.
Which was why it was disconcerting to read that ThinkHaus may be closing:
“Let me be blunt: think|haus is broke. It is behind on rent. Current monthly expenses far exceed monthly revenue. Membership numbers are far below what is necessary for think|haus to be viable. It has been that way for a long time, and it cannot continue.”
The ThinkHaus community met on June 2nd, and it looks like their is a stay of execution and a plan to try to save ThinkHaus.
“At our meeting last Thursday, June 2, we agreed to try to save think|haus. We were encouraged by the messages we received from many people who had, at one time or another, been associated with think|haus. Everyone believed it was a special place worth saving, and that the current state of affairs could be turned around with concerted effort. We have a lot of work to do in getting the space in better physical shape, making sure all of our equipment is in good working order, and creating simple well documented workflows. We also need better management and administrative structures, and new revenue sources. Most of all, however, we need to rebuild our sense of community. It won’t be easy, and it will take a lot of dedicated effort. Enthusiasm is much easier to generate than maintain. But we are willing to try.”
It’d be a shame for the Hamilton community to see ThinkHaus close. Hackerspaces play an enthusiasm generating and craft hobby role that other organizations like incubators and co-working spaces can’t really play. But they can’t be expected to operate at a loss forever. Hopefully a refresh can breathe new life into the space. Maybe there’s a way you can help them out? They’ll be at the Hamilton Mini MakerFaire on June 26th!