Meeting Notes 2008 10 07

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Time and Place[edit]

8pm, place: Noisebridge, 83C Wiese St. near 16th St. & Mission St., San Francisco


  • kitchen proposal (Shannon L)
  • incorporation status
  • The Key Issue (TM)
  • Issues with Consensus; definition of our consensus process
  • safety committee
    • risk assessment/mitigation best practices
  • Insurance status
  • Safari (online books)


Hi all,

Here are my notes from the meeting today. Please let me know if you have any additions, questions, or amendments, etc.. I'll wiki-fy them after a day or two, including any fixes people send me, unless someone else feels like doing it.

Roughly 32-35 people in attendance.

1) Incorporation Status

  • Secretary of State has accepted the incorporation documents
  • The first Board resolutions to activate the corporation have been drafted, need to be slightly fixed up, redrafted, and then signed by Board members. Then we are an active California Public Benefit Non-Profit corporation.
    • ETA: Wednesday 8 October 2008
    • Andy and Mitch take responsibility for obtaining signatures
  • David Molnar will file online for a Tax ID number
  • Noisebridge will then open an account with Wells Fargo
    • There is a branch down the street
    • Question about Wells Fargo's stability - they appear to be stable (they are eating other banks, not being eaten)
    • Question about credit unions -- they appear not to be a good fit for small businesses
  • Wells Fargo can be changed later if membership desires, but we need a bank account now

2) Keys, Dues, Membership

  • Shannon Lee sent out to make many copies of the key to the space
    • People are getting keys tonight
  • Bootstrap Membership process
    • We have talked about a 3 month contribution/waiting period
    • Do not want to prevent people from being members who have contributed so far!
    • Therefore invite people to join now
    • Initial members will help us all make a membership process
    • Goal: simple 1-page document to sign stating agreement with Noisebridge mission, disclaim liability, and agree to pay dues on time
  • Dues: where does it go?
    • Rent - $1975/month
    • Electric bill - we're not sure exactly, but $300-$600?
      • Previous tenants paid $365 for 1.3 megawatt-hours (13,000 100-watt lightbulbs on continuously)
      • House can use 2 megawatt-hours per month
    • Connectivity - DSL + cable bill
    • Consumables - toilet paper, resistors, etc.
  • Board exists to fill will of membership
  • Want to trust the members. "We're not sacred cows. Don't be afraid to kill us."
    • "Don't actually murder us."
  • Want to collect 2x rent every month
    • Cushion because we don't know our monthly expenses yet
    • Will be moving target until we work this out
  • Two proposals for membership fees, assuming 55 members:

1) Baseline fee of $75, "starving hacker" fee of $50 2) Baseline fee of $80, "starving hacker" fee of $40

  • We accept donations above membership fee
    • If you want a "Corporate Rate" of $5000/month we can do that
  • Pay 3 months or more at a time if you can
    • Helps Noisebridge figure out what to expect
  • Jake promises to sink as much money as needed to keep Noisebridge running for one year more
  • Feeling that $10 makes a difference to starving hackers, so $80/$40
  • What do members get for their dues?
    • Need to work that out with members
    • Keys at a minimum
  • Membership lapses? 1 month behind on dues?
    • Another thing to figure out
    • Won't take away key because you're one month behind
  • Door lock progress
    • Goal: keycard lock
    • Thomas is obtaining bill of materials for AnonAccess keycard system
    • We will be obtaining a quote for SALTO DESFire system, too
    • Contact David Molnar to be on the Lock Team
  • For now, trust the members to do the right thing with keys
  • Do we redo key discussion when we have a new lock?
    • Probably not, but we will talk about it
    • Likely scenario: trade in key for keycard
  • What if income is low enough that $40 is too much?
    • Gender issues, women work for 50 cents/dollar
    • Scholarship program - Noisebridge forgives some dues?
    • Sponsorship/patronage program - one member sponsors another?
    • We will try to work something out
  • The $40 is not "hard wired"
  • Grants?
    • Jake looking at $150K grant for "hacker in residence" program
  • Want to make Noisebridge accessible as possible
  • Even if not member, not paying dues, welcome to hang out at space!
  • Members will also be part of consensus process
    • Welcome input from non-members too, but members decide
  • Greg wanted to point out that the $80/$40 can be reviewed at a future time, even if we agree to it now
    • Put as agenda item for meeting on wiki
  • Treasurer will open source accounting
    • Subject to privacy of donors - $1k in anon donations already
  • Should ask "does anyone disagree" with consensus rather than "does everyone agree" - easier to hear when there are dissenting voices
    • Adopted
  • After Shannon arrived with the keys (at the end of the meeting), Jake then asked people to sit down. Then Jake asked people to stand up if they felt they had made a contribution, that they would continue to make a contribution, and they were OK with paying dues. Many people stood up, they all got keys.
  • Consensus: Move forward with $80 baseline, $40 "starving hacker" dues, with concerns noted about payment in kind, sponsorship, or scholarship for people that can't afford $40 but still contribute. Also noted that these numbers are open to revision.

3) Consensus Process and Running Meetings

  • Proposals for improving meeting and consensus process:
    • 90 minute time limit to meetings
    • Recorder reads back consensus to everyone, asks "Does anyone disagree?"
    • Do not decide big things in same meeting when introduced
    • Limit ad-hoc agenda items (see also 90 minute time limit)
  • Who joins the consensus process? "Wander in off the street" issue.
    • Have to be a member
    • Person has to be a member of a group for consensus to work
    • This deals with "out of nowhere" problem
  • Can we get IRC channel to discuss beforehand?
    • Yes. See #noisebridge on !
    • Sadly, this by itself does not shorten meetings
  • NYC Resistor - need to do a cool project to be a member
  • What about members interested but not present?
    • Some weeks people can't leave the apartment
    • People travel
  • Ubuntu Boston meetings: webcam, IRC
  • Space will have projector, webcam, microphones
  • Work on telepresence and tele-consensus needs doing
  • Process discussion will go on wiki
  • Consensus: we are not done yet discussing the consensus process. More work needed.

4) Safety Committee

  • Seth Schoen is starting a Safety Committee. He couldn't make it tonight, but he has already started adding things to the space.
  • Currently 2 fire extinguishers, some goggles, earplugs, etc.
  • e-mail the list and start a wiki page about Safety Committee
  • Action items for Safety Committee: figure out agenda items for near future meeting
  • Question - are board members on Safety Committee? Jake is.
  • Consensus: we have a Safety Team.

5) Kitchen and Chem Lab

  • Shannon previously had suggested on list that we scrap the kitchen and use it exclusively as a chem lab.
  • Shannon stated at the meeting that he felt the consensus was to keep the kitchen. No one disagreed with this.
  • Meredith described plans for a fume hood on casters.
  • Meredith and Shannon will form the Chem Lab Team. Talk to them if you want to help out with building out the chem lab.
  • Consensus: we keep the kitchen. We have a Chem Lab Team.

6) Insurance Status

  • David Molnar is handling interactions with insurance agents.
    • One agent gathering a General Liability quote for us
    • Another agent has given us application forms
    • Forms sent to, archives public
    • Check wiki page, ask David if any questions
  • We are applying for the following insurance:
    • $1MM of general liability, $500K per occurrence, because the lease says we need to have it. Covers slip and fall, accidents, etc.
    • Property theft insurance - $15K replacement cost, $1K deductible, but this may change depending on the premium. This covers Noisebridge property of the space only, so it covers the oscilloscope but it DOES NOT cover your laptop! We will ask about coverage for member property and see how much it costs.
    • $1MM of Directors & Officers insurance. Protects board and officers in case a donor sues the corporation for mishandling a donation among other things. At a previous meeting Alameda County Computer Resource Center people suggested seriously having this.
  • These are starting points for insurance so we can get up and running. We can revisit in the future. In particular we may want to increase the coverage for member property. That depends on our finances and the cost. Our priority now is to get the basics in place to cover operations.
    • Until then, please don't leave your laptop in the space.
  • Two people pointed out that renters' insurance may cover personal property lost in the space. Check your coverage!
  • Consensus: David M. should continue to pursue insurance.

7) Safari

  • Brian/endenizen is researching Safari, online book service for O'Reilly books
  • Current status is we can get a corporate account at no cost to Noisebridge proper, then that enables individuals to access cheaper plans than they could obtain on their own. Need minimum 5 people.
  • Plans are pre-paid, cheapest is $153/year in advance
  • Cheapest plan is 10 books / 30 day period, not downloadable
  • Slightly more expensive plan allows downloading
  • Plans rocket up in cost from there
  • Still need individual accounts under the corporate account, but these accounts are transferable
  • Brian asked if group is OK with having a group account, also asked if there were at least 5 people interested
  • More than 5 people raised their hands
  • Meredith pointed out competing services may be available.
  • This does not establish a precedent that all no-fee corporate accounts are automatically OK. For example, would need to discuss a corporate Zipcar account. Settle on case-by-case basis.
  • Consensus: Brian can move forward with a corporate account for Noisebridge and organizing Team Safari. Several members have concerns about being associated with a service that uses Digital Rights Management, but these concerns are not blocking. In addition, future corporate accounts must be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

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