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Interview with Brian Rouch from Hacker Dojo, a true geek hangout


The San Francisco Bay Area is a great area for startups to benefit from incubators and co-op working office locations, with countless locations from San Francisco to San Jose. I recently stopped by the Hacker Dojo location in Mountain View, California, which is a community center for tech geeks working on projects.

 

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I originally visited Hacker Dojo when I attended the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) meetup last week. I've attended multiple small tech meetups and think Hacker Dojo, even with a lack of parking in its current lot, is an excellent venue for events.

 

"What's compelling about Hacker Dojo, it is the open membership for anyone... we don't decide who is allowed, anyone can come in and be a member," said Brian Rouch, Hacker Dojo Executive Director, when speaking to me recently. "We have a lot of members in the ideation phase, start hacking or working on something, and you can see the teams grow."

 

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There is a certain passion that can be immediately recognized throughout the Hacker Dojo building, with people busily typing away on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Others are engaged in phone conversations or conference calls, while some converse about current projects and future aspirations. It's an open work environment that consists of a co-working space, events venue, and large social area.

 

Hacker Dojo welcomes guests, but also encourages frequent visitors to sign up for a $100 monthly membership, which helps cover overhead (utilities, Internet bandwidth, etc.) - and has some unique perks:

 

"Members get the farm - 24-hour access, Internet, stocked kitchen, lots of events, electronics and robotics lab, plus other perks," Rouch added that events are a big part of the Hacker Dojo culture - and will play host to six events this Saturday alone, with 20 spread throughout the first few days of February.

 

The group has around 400 members, and 71 members joined in January, marking the biggest single month of new membership in Hacker Dojo history.

 

Moving forward, Hacker Dojo will look to continue its expansion, with planning related to additional conference spaces, extra desk space, and improved parking for the growing non-profit.

 

"(We) want the organization to be self-sufficient," Rouch said, wishing for a bright future of Hacker Dojo. "(We) want a new building fund, for acquiring a large building or expanding to a campus of smaller buildings for Hacker Dojo."

 

Hacker Dojo is available 24/7 for members, and guest hours are from 8:00AM to 10:00PM every day.

 

I look forward to visiting again! (Hello Katy - keep up the great work!)

 

(Images from Wiki)

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