One of the peculiarities of Silicon Valley is that communities of innovative and creative people tend to spring up. One of the earliest was the famous Homebrew Computer Club (with members like Steve Jobs and the Woz) in the mid 1970s.
A more recent example is the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View. Formed as a permanent 24/7 place where programmers could meet and learn from each other, the Hacker Dojo calls itself “a community of engineers, artists, scientists, activists, entrepreneurs and other creative people centered around a co-working and social facility.”
It was founded by four programmers: David Weekly, Jeff Lindsey, Brian Klug and Kitt Hodsden. Hacker Dojo volunteer Larry Maloney told me that, “David used to have hacker parties or hack-a-thons at his house that became the SuperHappyDevHouse. It got so popular and big that they had to move SHDH to larger venues like Sun Microsystems and other places. At one SHDH at Sun, over 400 programmers showed up. It was then that David made a proposal for a permanent place for the SHDH which became the Hacker Dojo. ” The Hacker Dojo became a place where you have a permanent hack-a-thon.
Hacker Dojo is a place for hackers to come to work, where programmers can train each other and learn from each other. It also has online collaboration spaces on places like Google Groups, Facebook, LinkedIn and others. A number of Valley start-ups have their roots at the Dojo in terms of either programming talent or using the space as a company incubator.
There are currently 300+ active members. Ten to 15 members of them are regular volunteers. All activities at the Dojo are sponsored by its members. Regular activities range from the Friday Hacker Dojo Happy Hour (at 7:00 pm) to classes and hack-a-thons. The Hack Dojo event page is updated weekly.
On top of all that, the Dojo has a reputation as a place where companies look for great programming talent, and where programmers can learn the most cutting-edge technical techniques from their peers.
So: If you’re a programmer in the Bay Area who’s looking to increase your technical skills or find a new cool job, stop by.