Like many, I was surprised and saddened to hear of TechShop’s closing. My name is Nate Bezanson, and I’ve been around i3Detroit since the very early days, back in 2009, before we had a space. Before we were even certain we’d end up in a space! That seems obvious in retrospect, but it might not have happened the way it did if not for TechShop’s influence.
The history of i3Detroit is intertwined with the history of TechShop in several ways, and I think it’s time to tell that story.
I’ll start with perhaps the least obvious aspect: Motivation.
In the spring of 2009, a little group started meeting at the now-defunct Coffee Beanery in Berkley. (It’s now a Firehouse Subs.) Russ Wolfe was inspired by an article in Wired, I had previously spent some time at HacDC, and going around the group, every single person had their own “origin story”, of how we came to believe in the value of the shared workspace. Russ had come up with the “imagine, innovate, inspire” theme and he registered the i3Detroit domain name, but there was no i3Detroit yet, not in a physical sense.