Noisebridge has been a staple of the San Francisco hacker and technology and art scene for 10 years. We are a hackerspace where everyone is always welcome, where everything is free, with supportive community where anyone can come and explore and learn and make cool things.
Due to a series of anonymous complaints to the city planning and building inspection departments at the city (we believe with the intent of shutting down Noisebridge), our landlord has decided not to renew our lease, which ends August 2018.
Since Noisebridge first moved into 2169 Mission St., rents have risen considerably in San Francisco. Leases for comparable spaces are anywhere from 300-500% more than Noisebridge is currently paying, which well exceed Noisebridge's current funding sources.
We don't know where Noisebridge will end up, but our community is committed to providing a home for hacking and making in San Francisco. We believe that San Francisco needs a hackerspace that is open to as many people as possible as often as possible. We also strongly believe that the residents and guests of our town deserve a space to pursue their hopes, interests, and ambitions at their own pace in a safe space where lack of funds is no barrier to entry. This is what Noisebridge provides, and has provided for nearly a decade.
To continue this mission, Noisebridge absolutely needs to raise money at a much higher level then it has in the past. We have put a call for fundraising, asking for community members and friends of Noisebridge to become monthly donors.
Please reach out to us - we'd be happy to answer any questions you have, or setup a time for a phone call or in person interview, or give you a tour of Noisebridge. You're also welcome to come to any of our events.
Official press contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (TODO - is this still active?)
You can also contact specific Noisebridge community members via their contact info in their bios below.
Please note: Feel free to take photos of Noisebridge, but some of our community members are very privacy concious, so please ask people for permission before photographing them, even if they're in the background of a shot. Usually most people will give permission.
Background on Noisebridge
Noisebridge is a hackerspace for technical-creative projects, doocratically run by everyone. We are a non-profit educational institution intended for public benefit. We have a 5,200 square-foot space located in the heart of San Francisco containing an electronics lab, wood shop, machine/metalworking shop, sewing/crafting supplies, two classrooms, music making areas, conference area, and library.
We provide infrastructure and collaboration opportunities for anyone interested in programming, hardware, crafts, science, robotics, art, and technology. We teach, we learn, we share. With no leaders, we have one rule: "Be excellent to each other".
Noisebridge was one of the first hackerspaces in the US, along with Hacktory, Hack DC, and NYC Resistor, which all started in 2007, inspired by hackerspaces in Europe, like the Metalab in Vienna and c-base in Berlin.
Noisebridge is as open as possible. Typical "open hours" are from 11:00am-10:00pm, however this varies greatly depending on scheduled events and who is using the space on any given day. New visitors are welcome any time (all ages, all skill levels), as long as someone is in the space and able to answer the door.
Bios on key people to interview about the space (with 1 paragraph of their story, headshot-type photo, and contact details)
Ruth Grace Wong
Hi, I'm a Site Reliability Engineer at Pinterest by day and a manufacturing nerd at night. My goal is to learn how to work with both software and hardware at scale, because I think these skills will empower me to make the biggest positive impact. I do lots of sewing and laser cutting projects at Noisebridge, including a DIY iMac and my Leave Me Alone Sweater, which went viral and made me some money via Betabrand. To me, Noisebridge is a supportive community where people are super generous with their time and knowledge, and people in the space have encouraged me to branch out and learn more about electronics hardware and shop tools. I've also met many people in the space which lead to collaborations (some of them paid!).
I love documenting and sharing my experiences and learnings related to DIY projects or manufacturing. This has lead to unexpected successes such as the Leave Me Alone Sweater, which I initially posted on Instructables, as well as a writing gig with Supplyframe Hardware about manufacturing, after writing about the annual Noisebridge China hacker trip (NoisebridgeChinaTrip7). I can be contacted at my full name at gmail.com.
I'm a web engineer and investigative journalist, and can barely begin to describe how important Noisebridge has been to my life in San Francisco. It's been a place to learn to code, a place to meet lifelong friends and collaborators, and a place to have my mind blown by new technologies, artforms, and ideas in the innovation capital of the world. And unlike almost every place in San Francisco, Noisebridge is open to everyone without a need to pay! That matters a lot when you've just moved to the city after college and trying to find your way, or if you're trying to make things work as a freelancer.
Over the past few years I've volunteered as a board member, treasurer, and errand-runner for Noisebridge, because I believe it should continue to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. I'm proud to say that we've never been stronger as a community, and that our bank balance has been growing every month over the past year! That's hard to accomplish in a city as expensive in San Francisco without demanding payment to be a part of our community. We thrive because of hundreds of small donors who love this place. I'm thrilled to see what comes next, and I know we can face any challenges thrown in our path.
I'm a software developer working on artificial intelligence, formal methods for programming languages, and blockchain infrastructure. I also teach Haskell and laser cutter safety at Noisebridge.
On the whole, Noisebridge is an amazing community of people working on interesting things, and is a completely unique place to be. I've never encountered anything like it before. But for me it's also quite a bit more. Noisebridge provided me with the space and community necessary for me to reflect on my gender and come to terms with being trans.
I'm pretty active on Twitter (https://www.twitter.com/psygnisfive) and on Freenode IRC (as augur). My GitHub is a bit less active (https://www.github.com/psygnisfive). I also blog sometimes (http://languagengine.co/blog/).
- John Shutt
- Scotty Allen
- 5 Minutes of Fame (video, live and archived streaming) Noisebridge's monthly series of lightning talks on widely diverse subjects - Flaschen Taschen - Danny's book scanner - Brain Machine (details) creates hallucinations and aids meditation by flashing lights and sound with special goggles
Leave Me Alone Sweater
Noisebridge has a prolific sewing area, including a giant cutting mat, an industrial straight stitch machine and serger, and a few home sewing machines. Sewing is not as hard as some people think! I've been able to teach people with no experience basic sewing in an afternoon at Noisebridge. The sewing area has given me the opportunity to make projects such as my Egg Rug and Notebook Cover with Zip Pouch, but the most successful project I've made by far is the Leave Me Alone Sweater. It's a cowl neck sweater that can roll up over your head and be zipped close, for its Leave Me Alone mode. After I posted this sweater on Instructables, it went unexpectedly viral. Many publications picked it up, and it even aired on TV, on Live With Kelly. I did one run of sweaters with Betabrand, and now I'm setting out to learn about apparel manufacturing and produce them myself.
Q: What is a hackerspace?
A: Hackerspaces are community-operated physical places, where people share their interest in tinkering with technology, art, craft, and other diverse topics, meet and work on their projects, and learn from each other. There are more than 2000 hackerspaces all over the world. (from http://hackerspaces.org)
Q: What is a hacker?
A: A hacker is someone who sees the world as full of resources. We use these resources in any way we can to improve our projects (which can be anything!). We see what works well, what doesn't work well, and we share with others. This is how we continually improve our projects, our communities, ourselves, and the world.
Q: Where does the name Noisebridge come from?
A: A "noise bridge" is a piece of electronic test equipment that injects noise into a system to see how it responds, so you can fix or improve it. Such a device is often used in RF electronics. We believe this is a good metaphor for what hackerspaces can do for society.
Q: What can people do at Noisebridge?
A: Meet techie, arty, and crafty folks; take a class or workshop; teach a class or workshop; use the power tools and electronic labs; make cool things; learn to make cool things; build something out of stuff on the hack shelves; use our library; surf the web; and so on...
Q: What does it mean that Noisebridge is do-ocratically run?
A: Doing excellent stuff at Noisebridge does not require permission or an official decision.
Do-ocracy - If you want something done, do it, but remember to be excellent to each other when doing so.
Typically when someone wants to do or change something big at Noisebridge, they bring it up at a meeting and it goes through our Consensus Process. If it's a smaller, more mundane thing, there's Do-ocracy. Do-ocracy tends to work just as long as our only rule is followed, to be excellent to each other. If someone nicely asks you to change something back, be nice back and just change it back.
Q: Who is in charge of Noisebridge?
A: No one is. No wait, we all are! Noisebridge is anarchically run, which means no one is in charge. We do have elected board members, but they strictly serve to statisfy the state's requirements for nonprofits. We make official Noisebridge decisions by consensus, which means the willing consent of all of our members. Decisions are typically made at our weekly meetings. You can read more about our Consensus_Process.
Q: How is Noisebridge currently funded?
A: We self-finance entirely through one-time and recurring donations from members and non-members alike. We also take donations for beverages, and take donations for our incredibly cool parties. Membership fees are $80 per member/month with a $40 "starving hacker" rate. However, no one needs to be a member to make full use of Noisebridge!
Q: What sort of events does Noisebridge host?