Fragmented Free Geeks

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Assuming we grow bigger and decide to split out our departments into different physical spaces, what are the chunks that could move out and set up shop elsewhere? And what kind of impact would that have on us?

Here's my first stab at this. Let me know what you think.

Each of these areas could run more or less autonomously, but there'd obviously need to be communications and transportation running between them.

The sections


  • Receiving / Evaluation / Testing / Recycling / Operations

Anything that is primarily tied to the adoption program would have to stay together. Gizmos that pass the tests or survive evaluation would be transported to an offsite build workshop or an offsite store, depending on what we needed to do.


  • Build / Online Sales / Advanced Testing / Community Workshop / Tech Support

Assuming that the idea of a drop in, fix your computer workshop takes off, this could be coupled with build in its own space. Rejected parts would flow back to RETRO and usable systems would flow to an offsite store or the classroom for adoption. There would need to be an advanced testing site here, since this is where the experienced volunteers are likely to congregate. This might make it a good spot for tech support as well.

The Store

  • Local sales

The store benefits from the traffic through the rest of Free Geek, but might find a location with sufficient traffic to offset that loss. No matter what, keep operating our Thrift Store at Free Geek, as many volunteers frequent the store.
What about creating an online store via EBay? Not only does this expand Free Geek's market but also has the added benefit of free publicity. Consider that there is a market for people specifically looking for PC's that come preloaded with a Linux distribution. How much would it cost to rent a kiosk in one of the malls?

Many Colleges and Universities charge reasonable fees for a kiosk in their Student Union/Lounge/Food Court, and many students on a budget may be looking for a computer! This may also present an opportunity to educate the future leaders of the world on the benefits of open source.


  • Education and Training

The more Free Geek offers classes that are not central to the rest of our programs, the more possible it becomes to house education and training offsite.


  • Where do people go (to more than one building)
  • Further segmentation. Do people even know they can volunteer at another location?
  • Less
  • More transportation needed
  • Rent costs go way up
  • These could be combined into less units, of course

rfs 19:14, 22 Jan 2005 (PST)