RadioShack is dead.
This is sad, even though RadioShack has mostly sucked. Everyone who has been into a RadioShack in the last year probably left empty-handed and saddened, customers and employees alike.
The Heart of the Matter
But the idea of RadioShack was wonderful. It was a place where you could build anything. If you didn't know where to begin, RadioShack seemed like the place to start. The idea of RadioShack fed the inventor’s spirit, even if the actual RadioShack starved it.
Makers Are Thriving
The spirit of invention is alive and thriving in America. It’s part of our soul. Today, the Maker movement is huge, and awesome, and growing.
The Maker community, however, faces some challenges. The biggest is: SPACE. Makers mostly connect online and meet up in basements and garages. There are "makerspaces" popping up everywhere, but they are few and far between. Especially in urban centers, where real estate is expensive, makerspaces are hard to launch.
Meanwhile, there is a RadioShack in every town in America. Each of these stores is loaded down with supplies—and yet these stores mostly sit empty.
So, let’s buy RadioShack, and turn it into a MakerSpace.
We will reclaim the heart of this company by reuniting it with the community of Makers it was originally supposed to serve. RadioShack will become a place where Makers meet, and where new Makers can get plugged in.
We will clear out most of the retail merchandise and set up tables and workstations. It will become an open space for Makers to meet and work on projects. We will host events, meet-ups and trainings.
Let’s help RadioShack meet the maker.
1: RETREAT ON RETAIL
We will liquidate a large portion of the merchandise, especially cell phones and accessories. We will cut the retail footprint to about 30% of what it is now. Only the bare essentials. Spend zero energy pushing new products.
2: MAKE SPACE FOR MAKERS
We will clear out at least 1,000 sq ft per store (the average store is 2,500 sq ft). We will set up tables and desks in the space we made clearing out the retail inventory. This space will be used to host workshops, meetups and events.
3: COMMIT TO THE COMMUNITY
We will connect with local groups—meetups, high school robotics clubs, etc., and provide them space to meet. RadioShack staff will also organize local events, including hosting authors and famous engineers for talks in the local store.
4: POUR INTO THE PEOPLE
We will hire and train staff who have a passion for inventing, and who want to learn and grow. We will supplement paid staff with volunteers from local MeetUps. We will structure management practices around creating community builders, so that store managers are driven to host events and be connectors.
A Note Concerning Existing Maker Spaces
There are already a lot of Maker Spaces across the country, and more opening every day. The whole point of buying RadioShack is to encourage and support this community. It’s like what Starbucks did for coffee in America: they raised demand and taste for coffee across the board, and independent shops are now thriving. The vision is similar with RadioShack. Also, not every RadioShack store will become a MakerSpace. Communities that are already well-served by independent makerspaces will probably not need a RadioShack Makerspace. The aim is to have MakerSpaces more accessible across America.
Risks and challenges
1: Obviously this is a hugely risky Kickstarter. We are trying to buy a multi-million dollar corporation and give it new life and a new vision. There are a million things that could go wrong with this acquisition, beyond the issue of raising funds. We need a contingency plan in event that we are not able to complete the purchase with the funds raised. In such an event, we will direct 100% of the funds to existing and new makerspaces across the country. So, keep this in mind as you contribute.
2: In terms of executing the vision for the company, main challenge will be enacting a culture shift across the organization. This includes addressing deep issues with existing leadership and management structures.
As any business consultant knows, an organization's culture is shaped by its leadership and ownership. The current soul-dead culture of RadioShack is a product of a total lack of vision from its leadership. For years, it has been managed to a bottom-line figure, rather than to a vision of the company and of the world.
As soon as the project is funded, we will mobilize a team of organizational change management consultants to address these issues.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (14 days)