Starting Seasteading on Small Scale
February 26, 2014 at 8:13 pm #22979
Well, because not doing it that way hasn’t been productive. The process has worked in businesses as “incubators”. Some internet or electronics companies have gathered people together, paid a stipend to them, and furnished normal business resources to them. At the end of some time frames, each group is evaluated, funded some more, or let go. Eventually, someone produces something profitable, or at least interesting. The participants can sell out their product, but usually share some portion of it with whoever funded them. There’s often not a designated product at the beginning, but a list of what-ifs.
So what if a benefactor set up a site next to the ocean, provided you with marine plywood and fiber-reinforced cement, provided me with steel tube and plate, and imported Ellmer and filled his wish list? What if we were free to mingle and share ideas, and had free use of the basic necessities to live there and build our vision of a small prototype seastead, and maybe were extended a year or more to float it out and test it in real-world conditions? Would you discuss the costs of sharing with someone holding out a tentative $125k check? And if they could provide free office staff too, like people to run software emulations on Google’s or Amazon’s computer clusters, interface with the uscg and patent office?
At the end of the day you leave with whatever you built, the benefactor leaves with whatever you negotiated for as the fee for services (percentage of builds over licenses to make more, etc), the benefactor retains the site and tools and leftover materials. At the very least, you get a seastead for free, and the results of the real world testing, etc, get published, everyone gets publicity.
Can someone please put forth this idea to anyone who can make it happen? There’s been enough time and money wasted doing this the same ole ways.February 26, 2014 at 9:40 pm #22980
I see. That sounds like a good idea if you can find a benefactor.February 26, 2014 at 9:58 pm #22981
ME? I was thinking you would search them out, or maybe Aeolius would. I am socially unacceptable. You at least need to get your foot in the door.February 26, 2014 at 11:13 pm #22982
What do you mean “socially unacceptable”?? Regardless, while I think that your “incubator” is a good idea, the MMK is my main project. But I am not pushing it, for now. If it will happen with partners, it’s be OK by me. If not, I’ll just build it for myself.
You can only lead them to the water, but you can’t make them drink.February 27, 2014 at 4:16 am #22983
It looks like we do not have the attention of Elon Musk – at this point. Otherwise we would have recieved a call already. The baseline in “investor relations” is, that as long as you have to “explain the benefits of your venture” a lot – you are kind of “loosing your time” because somebody who is going to invest, already has a clear understanding why it is convenient to invest in this instead of something else.
In part the ramform aproach was developed to allow a extreme low project entrance level and scale it up from there depending on the budget situation. The other 2 roots of the ramform aproach is the high grade of mobility (which is a important card to play in project management – see Lozman case) and the Draupner wave handling (neccessary for the open ocean since the non linear wave model is in place).
In general i would expect that a investor would be more interested in the “mid term business potential” of a venture than in the long term “political proyecction of the seasteading ideal” –
I expect it to be easier to get money to “floating doing business platforms” than to “floating social experimentation platforms”.
There is something in Thiels concept that the fastest track to make things happen is to avoid politic entanglement altogether.
It also seems that doing good business allows to get everybody into the boat while doing politics tends to bring up fricction and interference on all fronts.
If you ask for the lowest scale and less interference approach to seasteading you can get it is probably something like this.
So to come up with a low scale approch for a seastead i would think in something like this…
Later scale it up to something like this…
And end up with something like a floating business park…
what over time could develop into a floating settlement
that could grow to a floating VENICE
holding politcal power, balancing powers around it, and gain a substantial independence orienting to sea trade …
In any case you would start with a small floating business of some kind. The bait barge and the floating restaurant are just examples. What else comes to mind is ship repair barges, yacht services, all kind of services to the tourism industry, aquaculture, in short any kind of business where a floating platform is a business advantage instead of being a downside.
What you would look out for is a bay with a low wave ambient where a lot of business is around to connect but you can handle interference factors conveniently mostly by playing the mobile card and keeping a couple of minute distance from shore.
The important thing would be first that you build something that attract investment and investors, and that you then can keep up the moment trough all the stages of development.February 27, 2014 at 4:07 pm #22991
If you aim to build businesses on the water (or under it), you need to show a reason why this is better than land, and affordable for the business you target. I don’t see it happening.
The best fit is a small engineering or light industrial facility, and i see only hardships in getting the staff out to work. You won’t get the staff to live on the working seastead unless they are homeless, aren’t locked into a 30 year mortgage on their house on land already, and don’t mind the 30 minute boat ride to shore for almost everything outside of work. Plus, very few will tolerate not being in a sheltered bay with zero boat motion. And the interpersonal relationships will be crazy. You have no clue what your co-workers do when not on the job in the work space, and you prolly won’t like it. Plus there’s the whole married with kids vs single versions of life. The business owner will not only have their business to run, but also a boat, hotel, and marine taxi service. The overhead of starting it all from ground zero, and maintaining it, will be enormous.
The way i see it, you need to know what sort of structure on the water will replace land, regardless of it’s use. It needs to be an even swap on that basis first. Then you need all the same elements of an area which is suitable for a business to move into: people suitable as employees already living out there anyhow, common and reliable and cheap transportation, and knowing your place will not resemble an artificial reef after a storm.
But basically, there’s no reason for a business to exist on the water unless it’s to escape some government’s rules, in which case it must be outside the EEZ in the open ocean. If i have a business which my workforce is boated in from land, and i decide to boat 100 miles down the coast to another nations’s EEZ, what am i going to do about my employees? Or my raw materials which i sourced from the previous nation? If i have a business somewhere, and need to escape 200 miles offshore, what will i do about the electricity i need and the 200 mile commute to land for food and fuel and my customers?
I don’t need any more pics of floating bait shops, $billion dreams, or esoteric designs people have already dropped (<cough> ramform, clubstead </cough>), or theories of oppressive political escapism, but in the many years Patti has been promoting seasteads, where’s the real reason for a business (other than a fish farm) to be floating on the water?
I see reasons for individuals to escape, but other than ordinary common boats, there’s no methods to be comfortable and available on the water. And a bouncng boat bobbing and swaying in the waves is not comfortable. And few are affordable, especially compared to the space in a basic minimal land apartment. Ocean seems to have a fine idea for sheltered waters, assuming again that the inhabitant rarely need to goto land for anything.
Sure seasteading is possible, but a cursory look at a book like “how to sell your house” or “how to rent your storefront” will show how far off most seasteading ideas are. The very basic info like “how will this design function in a storm out of sight of land, and would you want to be on it?” has yet to be answered. Finding the answers alone, each of us working in our own limits, is terribly slower than what could be done in an incubator setting. For instance, i want to build a certain design, my best bet alone is to build it almost entirely of steel, even tho i believe Ellmer and Ocean are correct about using cement as some components, but i cannot afford to hit every option to test it in an actual ocean environment. In a incubator site, i could do some welding for Ocean and borrow “his” cement mixer, at no cost to either of us. The incubator benefactor would get the research done at a shotgun approach: “we now know this will work, and this won’t, so we can fund more of this in a profitable way, and not fund more of that”.February 27, 2014 at 8:00 pm #22992
Are you familiar with Blueseed? http://blueseed.co/
It was started by TSI staffers who left TSI to do so. It’s not active yet, but it’s being worked on.
It will be in international waters, but within the U.S. EEZ.February 27, 2014 at 9:27 pm #22993
I live in Florida and I see a lots of “seasteading like” businesses on the water around here. From islands (keys, as they are called here) being developed for real estate, small floating bait shacks and pontoons with ice cream, burgers, soda, pizza on the inter-coastal waterway by the inlets, houseboat rentals and boat and breakfast by the mangroves down in the Keys, countless boat charters, boat rentals, parasailing, kayaking, diving, fishing, snorkeling, swimming with the dolphins & sharks, reef trips, etc. etc. And most of them are real and are making sick money. You know why? Because we are at the Tropics here and everybody wants to be at the beach, by the water and in the water and most of the people down here down’t really care about the government.
Now, those with 30 year mortgages, careers on land, problems with a bit of rocking and rolling and sociopathic personalities might have some difficulties on a seastead But who said that seasteading is for everybody? Plus, no matter how big of a seastead, it will still be moving. Every day and every moment since it’s water and it’s liquid,…But after few days at sea your brain will adapt to it and it’s quite a pleasant feeling, like being buzzed all the time.
There is no engineering left to be done when it comes to seasteading, how to build mega floats (or small floats, for that matter), their design, how to operate, maintain and navigate them offshore or coastal, how to ride a storm and how to make a decent living on them. Or at least in my book.
As I said, I like the “incubator” idea, the only problem I have is with the sole benefactor. In fact, The MMk Project it is a “seasteading incubator”, BUT with multiple benefactors, its owners. If somebody wants to seastead, they should put their money and efforts where there mouth is…specially when we are talking about few thousands of dollars to start with. Not only that this format will create a homogeneous community on that seastead, but it will also create the incentive for each of the owners to do their best in order for the seastead to prosper, since it is theirs.
I called it ecosynergism:
“Ecosynergism, is an economic philosophy in which ownership of private property, productive property and wealth is highly desirable for all the members of a society, and where the means of production are ideally being spread as widely as possible among the general populace, rather than being centralized under the control of the state (socialism) or a few large businesses or wealthy private individuals (capitalism). Ecosynergism seeks to subordinate economic activity to human life as a whole, to our spiritual, intellectual and family life.”February 28, 2014 at 12:15 am #22994
Ken, yes, i have heard of it. It’s way out of my price range. Wasn’t TSI given a boat? Is that the same boat Blueseed will use, or is TSI selling the boat and pocketting the money while ignoring Blueseed?
Ocean, sounds great if you are one of those making the money.February 28, 2014 at 8:24 am #22995
Kat, I wasn’t suggesting that you be involved in Blueseed. I was just presenting them as an example of a project doing things that you had presented as reasons why a business seastead wouldn’t work. Of course it remains to be seen whether Blueseed will even go into operation, much less be successful.
Yes, TSI was given a ship. The upkeep was too expensive, and so they did something. I don’t remember what, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the ship that Blueseed is going to use. As for “ignoring Blueseed”, TSI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Blueseed is a completely separate, for-profit (hopefully!), organization.
Ocean, speaking as someone who has seen lots of talk on these forums (more so in the past than currently) about various projects, the biggest issue that I see as to why these projects can’t get investors is a lack of an actual business plan. Someone who is investing, i.e. expecting to get a financial return, wants to have some reassurance that there is a significant probability that the project will ever generate a profit.
So far, out of all of the talk, I’ve only seen one actual business plan. Everyone’s “plan” seems to be just of the “if I build it, they will come” variety. That doesn’t fly with investors, especially investors who have a lot of money to invest.
I do NOT fall into that latter category. But even as a low-level investor, if I’m looking at putting money into a seasteading project as investment (rather than a donation), then I want to see an actual business plan with solid numbers and facts to back them up.February 28, 2014 at 11:06 am #22996
Why would people bother to invest big amounts of money in something like that if there where “no possible economic future” on the water…February 28, 2014 at 11:46 am #22997
Ken said: “Kat, I wasn’t suggesting that you be involved in Blueseed. I was just presenting them as an example of a project doing things that you had presented as reasons why a business seastead wouldn’t work. Of course it remains to be seen whether Blueseed will even go into operation, much less be successful.” I understand your mention of Blueseed was just an example. However, since it is not in operation (yet? possibly?) it is still an example of a plan that did notwork! The money is thru the roof, if you contrast with what people down Ocean’s way are doing. As he said, some people are on boats because they cannot afford to be on land, so charging more on the Blueseed boat won’t be attracting people already out there, except perhaps as transient itinerant hotel labor. Blueseed almost smells like paying a “coyote” to get smuggled from Mexico into the usa. But i wish them well, i wish i could be part of it in some way, but it can work only for those who can command the highest pay yet aren’t allowed into the usa.
I mentioned the ship TSI recieved because they were given the ship, and then could give it to Blueseed while (i’m sure) still finding tax deductions for the duration of the time they had it. Assuming Blueseed wanted it. Or since Blueseeds plans are for the first boat to be a trial period, lease the ship from TSI and everyone gets a tax break while laying out much less cash. But i imagine someone already mentioned that scheme.
Ken said: “So far, out of all of the talk, I’ve only seen one actual business plan. Everyone’s “plan” seems to be just of the “if I build it, they will come” variety. That doesn’t fly with investors, especially investors who have a lot of money to invest.” This situation is as ironically predictably as backwards as ever. I, for instance, am sweating dollars over 4″ tubing and every sheet of steel plate, not $1600/mo room rent for the Blueseed-scale commercial project. I am wondering once the boat is built, can i afford to get it to the lake for trials, and then back home, and then down to the Gulf (total of 3 pricey trips on the road before it lands in salt water). I’ll bet no hot dog vendor out there in the Keys on a beat-up pontoon boat goes home to a mansion at night. They don’t have a plan because there’s not enough money to climb over the hump of survival to make a plan. In some ways, there never will be enough money. But many of the people already out there on small boats work hard during tourist season to have food, fuel, and a dry bed at night all year. I know if i had not built my house with my own paws, i’d still be homeless. I still build things, i often actually wear my fingerprints off. I can barely see my seastead plans out to me living afloat on it, and i’d trade my meager real estate to be out there. And, again ironically, i own my place free and clear, and have steady income, but cannot get a mortgage to fund the move to a boat. I’d love to take a week and drive down to the Keys and pay Ocean’s fuel bill and food to show me what’s happening down there, but i don’t have that kind of money. Ocean is sweating a few $1,000 from each investor for a timeshare houseboat with bargettes around it, i am sweating dollars, so sharing our labor and collected data with a proper incubator might help everyone find a cheaper, safer, more comfy way to put more people on the water, and if buildable, maybe they will come. It’s a cheaper leap of faith than Blueseed is, which, again, ironically and predictably, means it prolly won’t happen.
(not meaning to speak for anyone else, nor put words into their mouths, nor characterise them precisely, and no harm intended)February 28, 2014 at 11:51 am #22998
Ellmer wrote: “Why would people bother to invest big amounts of money in something like that if there where “no possible economic future” on the water…”
Great, Ellmer, where is that giant floating structure? I should be able to see it on Google maps satalite view if i had a location…
To clairify again, i am not against seasteading, but i do not see it happening. Show me, please. And i don’t mean oil rigs, common people cannot be part of oil rig “seasteads”.February 28, 2014 at 1:46 pm #22999
Kat said (of Blueseed) “it is still an example of a plan that did notwork!”
It’s a plan that is still in process. These things take time as well as money. It’s way too soon to be declaring it a failure.
When I talk about investing, I’m not talking about some individual working on building a boat for their own use, even if that use is seasteading. Where is the possible financial return in that?
Investing money with the hope of getting back that money and more (yet always bearing in mind the risk of not getting any of it back) means that there has to be some kind of business which will hopefully generate a profit.
That business needs to have a detailed business plan. For example, if the “plan” for a medical tourism seastead consists of … “Give us money. We’ll buy a ship and hire some doctors who can perform procedures which aren’t approved in the U.S.” … that’s no plan at all. That’s just pie-in-the-sky (or pie-on-the-ocean).
I would want to see quotes for the cost of buying the ship, the cost of the personnel to run it, the cost of fuel, food, etc., the cost of insurance, the cost of registering it with [probably] a flag of convenience, etc. I want to know what country’s flag it is going to be flying. I want to know where the doctors, nurses, and other medical support personnel are going to come from, how they are going to have been trained, what they are going to be paid, how that pay compares to what they could earn on land. I want to know what patients are going to be charged, how they are going to be transported, who is going to provide that transportation (with quotes with it will be provided by some third-party), etc. And that’s just scratching the surface of what I would want to see before I seriously considered investing money.February 28, 2014 at 2:36 pm #23000
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