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Jul. 13, 2010 11:30 am

Independents Hall gets back to work, experiences growing pains

Independents Hall co-founders Geoff DiMasi and Alex Hillman just came right out and said it. “We suck at putting these things on often enough,” said Hillman to a crowd of roughly 30 members of the coworking space that were crammed into the building’s northern wing. Hillman and DiMasi where speaking at Indy Hall’s third town […]

Indenpendents Hall co-founders Geoff DiMasi (left) and Alex Hillman speak at the coworking space's Town Hall.

Independents Hall co-founders Geoff DiMasi and Alex Hillman just came right out and said it.

“We suck at putting these things on often enough,” said Hillman to a crowd of roughly 30 members of the coworking space that were crammed into the building’s northern wing.

Hillman and DiMasi where speaking at Indy Hall’s third town hall, an informal gathering where the coworking space updates its members and interested public on news pertaining to the space while providing an update of the plans of the Indy Hall leadership.

Yesterday evening, Hillman and DiMasi shared some new policies to help Indy Hall deal with its ballooning membership, new security protocols to address recent thefts and a pledge to return Indy Hall to a hub of social and professional events.

“I feel we haven’t done a great job in returning to the cultural aspects that made Indy Hall awesome,” said Hillman.

Though Indy Hall has been hosting less events than in the past, attendees were able to rattle over nearly a dozen that have taken place in the past few months such as a blood drive and Cocoa Heads, a Mac-focused programming meetup.

Hillman and DiMasi pledged to return more events to the space and encouraged members to develop more programming.

“Our default answer will always be ‘yes’,” said Hillman.

Trouble in the Hall

DiMasi and Hillman spent nearly half of the gathering revealing that one member had been caught stealing $2,000 worth of goods from the space, including the camera used to film popular video podcast Two Guys on Beer. The guilty party has since been caught, but the scare has forced Indy Hall to re-examine who should hold a key to the space.

Instead of spending money on cameras and other security equipment Hillman and DiMasi suggested that a return to more social events as well as becoming stricter with key privileges should help keep Indy Hall safe. DiMasi went as far to say that members be as friendly and conversational as if they were living in a small town.

“It’s an excuse to pretend you are in Minnesota,” said DiMasi after his suggestion that members work hard to know their coworkers. “Everyone says Philly is cool once you get past the shell, so let’s get past it quicker.”

New events and meetups will have to be “co-hosted” by a key-holding full time member. Any new key holders will have to be “signed off” by three existing key-holding members.

“We haven’t been going to the bar for lunch, we haven’t been hanging on the weekends,” said Hillman. “It’s that trust that allowed us to get away with some of the things other places couldn’t.”

As for the stolen goods, Indy Hall plans on selling t-shirts to make up for the smaller items. A local brewery and National Mechanics are partnering to sell a special brew where all proceeds will go to helping Two Guys in Beer purchase a new rig.

Disclosure: Hillman is a sponsor of Technically Philly.

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Sean Blanda is an adviser to Technical.ly, the local technology news network, having cofounded its flagship Technically Philly in February 2009. He is a media consultant, engagement editor for Behance and lives in Brooklyn, NYC.

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