We’re out of empty offices at Local 64, so it’s time to pack up the laser cutter, the 3D printer and all the other toys. if you build it, it turns out most people are too busy to come. Six months of mostly weekly laser nights garnered maybe a dozen or two visitors. Half a dozen of those came back for additional sessions, and two people commissioned honest to goodness jobs that brought in some return.
One of the people who came by multiple times wanted to do a project — and we wanted to used him as a tester for a simple course in using the Glowforge without burning anything down — but he has a day job that takes most of his time, so three months after his first laser night he had only one tiny test file to show for his efforts. And that one caught on fire.
Winter in Vermont: also a problem. It’s no fun sending out a flurry of notices telling people about an event, only to end with a cancellation a few hours beforehand because of that pesky eight inches of evening snow on the way. (And even more of a problem for people with kids, because they’ve got hockey, skiing, snowboarding, almost anything to do but sit in a room learning about lasers.)
Lessons for next time, assuming that there is a next time? Biggest one: way more promotion. Notices on local social media will bring in some people, but not enough. More events, targeted at a broader ranger of people. Events with food and drink. More flexible scheduling. Workshops, also flexibly scheduled. Location? Good question. I know some people reported they couldn’t find us up on the back of the second floor. More variety? Sure. All that means it can’t be a one-person operation (which we knew already, but that involves even more scheduling, which see above…)