A community of makers, entrepreneurs and change makers 

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Welcome to DoES

DoES Liverpool is a community of makers and entrepreneurs, which includes a Co-Working space, Workshop, Event Hub, and much, much more.

First and foremost we’re a community of people with a diverse range of skills and interests, that you can be a part of. In joining the DoES community you get to mingle with entrepreneurs and company founders, artists and makers, software developers and hardware engineers, academics and students (and many people that are less easy to label).  Find out more here.

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DoES Weekly Updates

Week 173 - Branching Out Into Less-techie Events

Each week we'll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you're involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Tuesday 30 September, 6:30pm-9:00pm Geek Up
Wednesday 01 October, 5:00pm-8:00pm mySociety Meetup
Friday 03 October, 11:00am-6:00pm IoTBoost - Connected Digital Economy Catapult workshop and showcase
Saturday 04 October, 10:00am-4:00pm Absolute Beginners Arduino
Read more

Building a Self Sustaining Community Space

DoES Liverpool is three years old! Over these three years we've gone from 6 people who thought it might be an interesting idea to set up a shared space for co-working and making stuff to a much bigger community including great tech startups, published authors, internationally recognised conference speakers, and awesome moustaches (and all that's just Adrian).

It's been mainly good times during these years but we've also had some difficult times. We're getting to a tricky time at the moment so please read on to the end to hear more about that, but first...

A Little History

Actually DoES Liverpool did exist as more than 6 people before we opened "DoES Liverpool" the space. We had already been running "Maker Night" at the Art & Design Academy (now the John Lennon Art & Design building) at Liverpool John Moores University. These events were great and their popularity helped to confirm that there would be a market for a co-working and maker space in Liverpool.

Setting up a new company and opening a physical space was always going to be a big step though. It's one thing to run some free events in a space graciously provided to us, but in DoES Liverpool we wanted to build something important, something that would change the landscape of Liverpool and Liverpool's position in the world (as Adrian says - return Liverpool to it's rightful place at the top!)

One of the earliest decisions we made was how to fund the space. As we were looking to nurture a community, and one of the ways we might be doing this would be running events, it was tempting to look for funding. Many times we were told "there's easy funding out there, you just need to apply for it" but we'd also heard of experiences from other people running similar spaces that funding led to paperwork, and could easily cause you to change your mission to match what the funders would be looking for.

On the other hand four of us in the community were already paying around £120/month for a desk in a small office. We realised that it may actually be possible, and more scalable, to build a business charging people money in exchange for services.

We knew straight away that before we could go ahead with the plan, we had to make sure that we had enough people paying for services so that we could afford to pay our outgoings. In the end we did cheat a little. ScraperWiki (one of those aforementioned "great tech startups") donated £300 and OpenLabs (John Moores University's team of startup action men & women) donated £175/month for the first 3 months but these really were just going to help us get started and we knew straight away that we had to have a sustainable business or it wasn't going to last very long.

We moved into our new home in the Gostins Building on Hanover Street in central Liverpool on the 8th July and opened our doors to the public just a week later. Not long after we'd sent out our first invoice for 10 days of hot desking (thanks Chris!) and a short while after that welcomed our first two new permanent desk members. From that moment on we haven't looked back, we've made new friends and welcomed new people into our space. From that point we've been consistently profitable, well almost...

Making a Profit

Although we've asked for sponsorship when we've put on specific events, such as BarCamp Liverpool or Howduino, beyond those first donations we've never asked for outside funding to cover the general running costs of DoES Liverpool. All of our costs are covered by the services we provide. We have tried to keep our list of services short and simple: permanent desks, hot desks and workshop access, but have recently extended this to include a registered postal address service.

Originally, when looking at our finances and balancing the books, we tended to only consider the permanent desks. At £150/month and reasonably stable they were a lot easier to consider than the hot desks which could be so variable. However when we did eventually look at the hot desk figures - by adding up all the revenue and dividing over the number of months we'd been running - it turned out that we were making £150/month, so equivalent to an entire permanent desk, not to be sniffed at.

Francis Irving decided 2 years ago that he wanted to pay us £9/month as a "Friend of DoES". He saw that, while he was an active member of the community, attending events and participating on the mailing list, we didn't actually offer him a service that he could pay for. Others followed suit, many set up a standing order and pay each month but some people donate a few months at once. While £9/month may not seem like a huge amount it does add up. Since Francis suggested the idea we've had 169 "Friend of DoES" payments, amounting to over £1500 in donations. That's pretty awesome, thank you Francis for starting this and thank you to all of the friends that have donated.

Down to Brass Tacks

This blog post was inspired by a recent conversation on the mailing list in which Karl Ablitt - who's looking to set up a hackerspace in Norwich - asked for some information about DoES Liverpool. My response went into some of the information above and also gave a run-down on the current state of DoES's finances. Adrian's response suggested that it would be useful for there to be more visibility on these numbers and that led to this blog post.

So here's our income:

Hot desks (avg) £193.95
Permanent desks £1,200.00
Workshop £60.00
Friends £114.75
Events £50.00
Petty Cash £125.00
£1,743.70

And our outgoings:

Main rooms rent £850.00
Workshop £324.00
New Dinky rent £350.00
Electricity (approx) £150.00
Phone & Internet £175.03
Sundries £200.00
Recycling £16.20
TiR £150.00
Cleaning £40.00
Hosted Services £38.80
Admin Role £292.93
Laser Payments £150.00
£2736.96

You will probably notice that one of these is actually bigger than the other. If you're even sharper-eyed, you'll spot that it's not the good way round. For most businesses that would be a sign that things aren't going right, but as with many things relating to DoES Liverpool it isn't quite that simple.

Our mission isn't to fill a certain square footage with paying desks, nor provide a laser-cutting bureau. We have a bigger aim - providing what Liverpool's tech, maker and startup community needs to prosper.

What does success look like then?

It could be a business using the laser-cutter to prove the market for their jewellry, and growing it to the point where they can justify buying their own machine. Or a startup forming from a few hot-deskers getting to know each other, and then heading off to focus on their idea at an accelerator programme. Or a startup using DoES as a base until they get their own office. Or local businesses finding talented freelancers who join them on-site for a few months to help both business and freelancer thrive.

There are other definitions of success for the DoES community, but we highlight those for a reason - all result in people giving up workshop membership, full-time desks or hot-desking, even if only for a while.

Normally it isn't a problem, but over the summer we've had a few of those coincide with some growing pains which had already pushed our costs up to just over our income.

The admin support that Sean is providing is proving really helpful, and we'd hit the limits of our Internet connection so the new bonded line and router are still essential upgrades.

Obviously we need to address the shortfall, but rather than shrink our capacity, we'd rather ask the community to help us push through this to the next level.

How you can help

The best way you can help is to move in, then we get the benefit of your cash and your presence adding to the activity, conversations and connections being made - be that at a full-time desk, workshop membership or just as a frequent hot-desker.

If that doesn't work for you, then consider becoming a Friend of DoES or setting up a regular donation. We always appreciate any donations, no matter how small... or large ;-)

Everyone can help get word out about what's available at DoES - tell your friends who are looking for a desk, or who might be interested in laser-cutting or 3D printing. The more people who know about us, the better.

Read more

Week 172 - Birthday Celebrations!

Each week we'll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you're involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Monday 22 September, 6:30pm-9:00pm Maker Night
Wednesday 24 September, 7:00pm-9:00pm IoT Liverpool
Thursday 25 September, 12:00pm-1:00pm Inequality and the 1% (RSA Video)
Thursday 25 September, 6:00pm-8:00pm SQL Meetup (pushed back from last week)
Read more

Week 171 - Better Signs Make Better Networking

Each week we'll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you're involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Monday 15 September, 6:00pm-9:00pm Sewing Club
Tuesday 16 September, 7:00pm-8:00pm Liverpool Drones Meetup
Wednesday 17 September, 6:30pm-8:00pm Friends of the Earth
Thursday 18 September, 6:30pm-8:00pm SQL Meetup
Friday 19 September, 6:00pm-late DoES Pi Birthday Party
Read more

Week 170 - All the Acronyms! EMF and RFID

Each week we'll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you're involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Tuesday 09 September, 7:00pm-9:00pm JavaScript User Group
Wednesday 10 September, 6:00pm-9:00pm Maker Night
Saturday 13 September, 10:00am-5:00pm Maker Day
Read more

DoES π Party!

It occured to us recently that our third anniversary had come and gone - in July, actually. Obviously, a momentous occasion like this should be celebrated, but it seemed silly to hold a party so long after the event.

Luckily for us (and, of course, the whole DoES community), we're not the type of people to let silliness hold us back, and certainly not when it comes to getting everyone together for a shindig. With that in mind, we just needed to find a reason, and one presented itself with an almost perfect serendipity - after all, what better celebration could we hold than one to commemorate our πth anniversary?

Strictly speaking, it might not be exactly our π day (that would be 51.1 days after our birthday, which is hotly disputed. Concensus is that it's sometime in July, and 51 days after July is September 20th) but it's as near to it as makes no difference, and besides, without a little number fudging, there'd be no party at all.

So, on Friday September 19th from 6pm, we'll be hosting a get together right here in DoES. There'll be everything you've come to expect from a DoES party - namely beer, food and a lot of great people - and a few surprises. And no doubt pie, in all its forms.

So bring your kids, bring your old people, bring your dogs*, but most importantly, bring yourselves, and help us see in a fourth year.

Well, the rest of our fourth year.

 

 

*Not really. Dogs hog the laser cutter.

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EMF Camp Report

Our correspondent Francis Irving sends this report whilst on the train back from the excellent EMF Camp:

It is part the UK's national hackerspace festival with an amazing number of spaces turning up from all over the country. Stunning.

And part an out shoot of Chaos Communications Camp (CCC), so there were lots of continental Europeans on the crazy circuit of such spinoff camps.

Highlights for me were:

  • Seeing quadcopters fly high and wide
  • Sociology of computer security talk (by Jessica Barker)
  • Why is there no hacking of housing infrastructure? And a call for more (Vinay Gupta)
  • Learn to speak dog body language
  • Arm knitting workshop
  • Playing the terrifyingly realistic Nuclear Poker arms race simulation card game
  • Physical version of Space Team game

Plus generally hanging out with a wide range of geek friends from all sorts of places.

Overall there was lots of talks, workshops, and good opportunities to make makery connections. And if you have a project, get help, advice, customers and so on.

e.g. A friend of my Tom Oinn gave a short talk about a simple Arduino based wheel robot with easy mounting points (eg for robot arms) he has made, and in the audience someone from Ragworm appeared, seriously interested in selling it.

Also, was good to hear unprompted reports of DoES startup Housahedron from Berlin expats!

All told, our national maker infrastructure is getting pretty good.

Would be fun to have DoES camp next time, but only if we have fun stuff to show, and the work of organising it isn't by our overburdened usual suspects!

Read more

Week 169 - Water Sensing and Warmer Discovery

Each week we'll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you're involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Monday 01 September, 6:00pm-9:00pm Sewing Club
Tuesday 02 September, 6:30pm-8:30pm Clojure Dojo
Saturday 06 September, 10:00am-3:00pm Introduction to Laser Cutting
Read more

Week 168 - Use the Tools to Improve the Tools

Each week we'll endeavour to publish some details of the interesting things that members of DoES Liverpool have been up to over the past seven days. You can find out a bit more about them in our introductory post.

And remember, if you're involved with DoES Liverpool at all, let us know what you get up to so we can include it here!

Things of Note

Coming Up in the Next Week

Tuesday 26 August, 6:30pm-9:00pm Geek Up - The Importance of Women Coding
Wednesday 27 August, 6:30pm-9:00pm Maker Night
Friday 29 August, 12:30pm-1:30pm DoES Lunch
Read more

Until September, Liverpool has a new art gallery - and it's rather good!

Gallery on the 6th Floor, Gostins Building

Liverpool is famed for its art scene, second only to London in the UK for its wealth of artistic culture on offer to residents and visitors alike, can we ever have too much? No!

Drawn by a poster pinned to the noticeboard in the DoES office advertising a showing by three artists based on the sixth floor, Mark from Reddbridge Media took the lift up last week to take a look, and says it's worth your while visiting too.

Click here to read his review here over at Articles.



coridor_72

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