Universities once provided education; today, they push accreditation. Higher education is prohibitively expensive: the acquisition of a diploma leads to massive debt; school is an exotic investment; risk aversion forces people to seek safety. Stereotypes and the status quo determine majors for those who can afford school. This determines who our tech leaders in development are, and who gets to spin signs advertising their products.
The emergent solution to this problem worldwide is the hackerspace: a workspace available to the public in which people can assemble to complete projects, learn from each other, or simply chat over coffee.
The tech industry should be a meritocracy, in which people are judged according to their abilities—not by a diploma costing more than a modern house. That’s why hackerspaces—especially those with Akeso’s mission—are so vital: we can teach methods and skills to underprivileged youth which can lead to employment in the absence of a degree; we can help those adults working beneath their levels of intelligence; we can connect the frustrated genius to workable solutions for individuals, businesses, and the world.
All this can be done. Simply. Even easily. We can help people become tech leaders. We can disrupt and improve the industry—sooner rather than later. That’s where you come in.
Akeso has everything we need to get started, but in the beginning we will be struggling and vulnerable. As it stands, without your help, we will open in only one quarter of an office shared with several other businesses. It will be a long time before we can perform any kind of meaningful educational outreach. We will begin with a small greenscreen room and a staff that has been educated in video prep to teach students to create videos for IndieGogo and Kickstarter. We will have a small computer lab, a small electronics lab, and a 3D printer. We will have only the income of initial collaborators to work with, so we will start operations at a loss. We currently have a tiny handful of profitable development projects, and every contributing volunteer is working part time on them while holding down our own full time jobs.
We can’t complete our mission this way.
Other makerspaces have done great good, and ours should be no exception. Akeso shouldn’t just be a hackerspace. We should be a disruptive force. We should create a tech culture where people are judged not on who they are or where they come from, but on the value they can deliver.
What’s in it for me?
We live in an age where it is very easy to raise our voices in protest on the internet about injustice and incompetence, but precious few seem willing to contribute something more substantive than their angry voices. Akeso’s method is a simple and proven modern method for creating disruptive change. It has been used countless times by the historically downtrodden using limited resources. We help others to help themselves, because those that do are those that are capable of ending social ills. We target those most in need of assistance, and give them what they need to help others in need. The electrical engineering and computing industry is perhaps the greatest engine for empowerment in human history, but many old social paradigms are holding brilliant and capable people back. Akeso takes the powerful tools of the modern era and makes them available to promising future tech leaders. You must actively and financially support Akeso, or something like it, or nothing will change. Akeso’s volunteers are not talking, shouting, or typing. We are advancing. We are destroying old barriers and clearing rotting infrastructure. We are lighting a candle, not cursing the darkness.