Thursday, January 6, 2011

OpenCoffee Tallinn meeting in the Garage48 HUB / hackerspace

I just came from the monthly OpenCoffee Club Tallinn, this time in the recently opened Garage48 HUB of Lutheri kvartal. I had to be quite brief (car logistics and that sort of stuff) but man what an energy there! Not only was it crowded with interesting people for the Open Coffee, but the G48 HUB seems to be attracting plenty of interest (hopefully paying members), my sincere congratulations to the team for going ahead and executing such an awesome idea!

Something which is refreshing for Estonia is certainly the sense of trust and community the hub brings. Many times involving the websmurfs or my home village of Gnosjö do I hear of smooth arrangements which in Estonia would be met with the rejection "A good deed never goes unpunished". But here is a good deed, with sufficient rules, smooth for everyone involved, which may make financial sense too!

See, where I come from we have an opposite culture of the expression "The best food for an Estonian is another Estonian". A Gnosjö factory owner knows that the wellbeing of his neighbour affects him too, and at least if it doesn't hurt him directly, rather than lose a customer from the area completely when they're over capacity, Gnosjö factories will send business to their local competitors, and sometime the competitor will send business back. Also incredible informal arrangements, like sharing of facilities or that the security guard sometimes will serve as night shift machine operator, are common and remarkably lacking covering of one's own ass. They may not be brilliant driven business men, but the almost naive problem solving ability and how low-friction business runs in the Gnosjö region really is a key factor to its sustained profitability and development.

The wheels of Gnosjö keeps spinning
My personal impression is that Estonia desperately need this sort of networking as well. It must be uncomplicated to do business and there must exist reasonable service providing companies. Surely this sort of web is not woven out of dreams and society alone, but trust, handshakes, forgiveness and a lot of good will is absolutely essential!

Speaking of the G48 HUB, it is somewhat modeled on the concept of hackerspaces. We were some people who wanted an Estonian hackerspace already before, but we emphasized the communication and local community rather than the physical space, and honestly were too cowardly and lazy to do something serious. So now to complement the physical G48 HUB, we have a hefty online community in Skype where nerdy people come to chat, meet and possibly collaborate any time of day. Just ping me if you would like to be invited there!

I had the pleasure to meet some new interesting people in OpenCoffee, but I still would like to discuss with someone my ideas regarding Flattr and pricing models for near zero marginal cost content...


Luis Barragan said...

Great initiative specially in Estonia where communication and openness sometimes is a luxury.

So +1 for this and hopefully I'll get to join one of those meetings soon.

Carl-Johan Sveningsson said...

Yeah, absolutely, and I'm cheerfully surprised that they seem to be able to populate the hub as well, supposedly enough to break even. A hub like that makes a lot of sense also in terms of shared consumption, to have devices like hardcore teleconferencing as well.