Deus Ex Machina has made a unique place for itself in Venice, Calif., since moving into an old flower shop two years ago. That's not surprising. Where else can you get a good cup of coffee, a full wetsuit for surfing and a Yamaha SR400-based custom cafe racer, all under the same roof?
Having built a company around all the things they love, they’ve since built a brand based on sharing those loves with others. Deus Ex Machina has numerous events every month ranging from their bi-weekly Sunday Mass to hosting MotoGP viewing parties. This past weekend I was invited to come and check out the first of a new series they’d be launching: Saturday School.
Those of you who grew up with the Saturday school concept associate it with the kind of punishment you get for being a brat in grade school. This is a very different take on Saturday School. It’s about teaching us the things we want to know to be informed motorcyclists.
Among the learning opportunities was a presentation by a guy from Motul Oil explaining the different weights and why you may want one over another. Another guy offered advice on body positioning and riding techniques, while our friends from B.A. Moto were on hand to answer questions about wrenching on Triumphs (a popular bike for those in attendance at Deus functions). Classes were free, but participants were required to sign up in advance. That kept the group size much smaller than most Deus Ex Machina events and gave everyone the chance to participate and ask questions.
Overall, I’m a huge fan of this event, though I think it will be interesting to see the direction Deus takes it. Because it’s a small event, there’s really no way to monetize by getting more people in the doors on a weekend afternoon. I got the impression the Deus guys also are sure yet what to do with the event.
I can’t say that I blame them if they choose to take it in a direction that is more education themed than education centered, but I really hope they decide to use it as opportunity to build an environment where people can come to learn more about something we all love. Far too often, the attitude at events like this feels competitive. Like people are trying to prove they know more or know better than other attendees.
Saturday School had a completely different vibe. Participants brought notebooks and asked intelligent questions, free from the fear that they wouldn’t look cool enough. In reality, all of us are still learning and I think Deus deserves to be celebrated for promoting that, no matter what Saturday School turns into.