Organizational Synergy

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HacDC, Make:DC and DorkbotDC are closely related groups focusing on the intersection of art, technology, culture and craft infused with a DIY ethic. This article attempts to more carefully define the symbiotic relationship between these groups.


The earliest online origins of Make:DC and HacDC could be traced back to a September 18, 2007 MAKE: Blog post by Bre Pettis advertising the first meeting of the NYCResistor Microcontroller Study Group. Nick Farr and Adam Koeppel, who would both later become co-founders of Make:DC and HacDC, both posted to this entry stating their intent to start an organization in Washington, DC similar to what was being pitched in New York City.

Shortly thereafter, Pettis encouraged Farr and Koeppel to get in touch with Gareth Branwyn, one of Pettis's fellow MAKE:Blog Bloggers based in the DC area. Branwyn and Alberto Gaitán, both "co-overlords" of DorkbotDC helped Koeppel more carefully define MakeDC's purpose and helped secure the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences space for Make:DC's first meeting/build-a-thon, a co-presentation that also served at that month's DorkbotDC meeting. Koshland had previously approached Thomas Edwards, Founding Overlord of DorkbotDC and then-recently departed to California, about collaborating in creating programs for the museum. The build-a-thon received much support from DorkbotDC regular R. Mark Adams, who hosted the pre-build sessions and especially DorkbotDC regular, Tim Slagle, who created the build's how-to, sourced and packaged the project (LED Cube) kits, wrote example code, and ran the evening's program.

Shortly after Make:DC's first meeting, Eric Michaud encouraged his friend and former business partner Andrew Righter to meet with Farr about building a hackerspace in DC. Righter, Farr, Alli Treman and a host of Righter's business colleagues and associates met at The Diner in Adams-Morgan to discuss forming a hackerspace in DC. Farr created the MIBS list shortly after the initial meeting.

From that meeting forward, Gaitán and Branwyn offered advice and assistance to both Make:DC and HacDC's organizational efforts. They encouraged Farr and Koeppel to present at DorkbotDC meetings and posted announcements about the group's activities to the DorkbotDC announce list. The DorkbotDC announce list is credited with breaking news about HacDC's part's party and initial organizational calls.

The relationship came full circle when DorkbotDC used the facilities leased by HacDC at St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church to host the Dorkbot DC meeting held on May 26. 2008.

Alberto's Idea

  1. Make:DC conceptualizes projects
  2. HacDC builds them
  3. DorkbotDC presents them
  4. GoTo 1