Radical Transparency

This afternoon, SSH:Chicago made an unprecedented step in radical hackerspace transparency: we started actively publishing our finances.

Check it out: https://github.com/sshchicago/finances

I came up with the idea back in December, when I started as the treasurer here and had no idea what was going on. I didn’t know how much money we had, or what we were spending it on. Once I saw how the sausage was made, it became a lot easier to make decisions and help shepherd the space.

When I proposed the idea, the biggest issue was our 501(c)3 application. There’s no reason it should have interfered with 501(c)3, but the board agreed that I could go radically transparent once we achieved 501(c)3. So I waited.

While I was waiting, I started experimenting with accounting software. I eventually settled on Ledger-CLI, which is super nerdy and hackerspacey. I developed a workflow where every few days, I log into our bank account, copy our new transactions into the ledger, and then run Ledger to verify that I got it correctly.

I want members at our hackerspace to be able to make informed decisions, and, I think, with these data, they can.