The idea for Diyode began in 2008, while residents of Sunny Acres Neighbourhood worked on designing and building a charcoal barbecue to be installed in their park. Every Wednesday night we would get together to cut, grind and weld, learning various skills from each other as we went. After three months of work, the barbecue was finished and installed, and with our Wednesdays free, we started wondering “what next?”
About this time, a fellow named Michael Heimstra in Kitchener put out a call on Twitter for makers to get together to discuss starting a hackerspace in Kitchener/Waterloo. That first meeting would lead to the the creation of both Kwartzlab and Diyode. It quickly became obvious that a single space could not serve both cities, as the travel distance would be too far. The Guelph contingent (Adrian Harding, Ken Brown, Simon Clark, and Khaleed Khalfan) decided on the way home to start a separate group from the KW one, and try to find enough people in Guelph to make a space viable here.
This is where we sat for almost a year. We started renting meeting rooms occasionally to teach arduino programming while we attracted enough members to justify renting a space. We had meetings every other week at the Pennywhistle in downtown. People would come for a few meetings, but drift off as it became clear that we were getting no closer to having a space. For a while we pinned our hopes on the Farquar building, near downtown, and one of our members who had an opportunity to put in an offer to buy it. When that fell through (GO Transit decided the property was needed for a transit hub), our hopes for an easy way forward were crushed.
It was at about that time that one of our members, Simon Clark, headed to Detroit for the 2010 Maker Faire there. At a panel on hackerspaces, we discussed the start-up pangs of spaces around the country. The general consensus was that membership will double when you get a space, and if you wait until you have enough members to rent a space, you’ll never rent a space.
Armed with this new perspective, we resolved to take the leap, rent a space, and see what happened next. After a couple of months of searching, we found a space for $1000/month for 1600 sq/ft. We signed the lease in September, 2010, and moved in in October.