Starting Seasteading on Small Scale
March 4, 2014 at 4:47 am #23032
The topic starting seasteading on small scale, inevitably lead us to the topic of what kind of small scale business you can do better on the water than on land. The inevitable answer was – snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, fishing, scuba diving, sunbathing, windsurf, kite surf, waterski, bait and tackle, – all kind of “aquatic activities” as the tourism and hospitality industy is offering on a typical tropic tourism site as in Florida, Australia, The Caribbean, and around the world.
Ocean pointed us to the “leaders in this” in his target area Florida, so we ended up looking at Fury Water Adventures. The question that a investor now would ask is: Ok we know that Fury Water Adventures is probably doing a profitable business in the area where you are planning to do a profitable business in the near future – so tell us EXACTLY how do you compete with Fury, what is your competitive edge over Fury that will make that their business is loosing customers to your business. (because that is what you need to deliver to prosper)
Why exactly should we put money into YOUR venture when Fury is also looking for investors and they already ARE business leaders in the area, they know exactly how to do it, and they are obviously good in it, looks a better investment to me to throw a couple of thousand on Furies expansion plans than on your “bunch of crude ideas”. This is how investment really works.
So you come better up with a “informed and credible talk” about your “competitive edge” and how you will “enhance the customer experience” that fury offers as we speak –
The attention span to do so is less than a minute.
The reality of what we have heared so far is, that the customer of Fury just buys a ticket, boards a wonderful catamaran, sails all around the keys eats lobster from a buffet prepared by a real chef, snorkels, kayaks what he wants, on a “all inclusive” ticket marketed and sold by any travel agency in Florida.
In their (working) business model nobody needs to buy any odd “timeshare for an old houseboat that does not exist yet” for doing water tourism in the keys. – So what is your “wonderweapon” that will beat Fury in business?
The dialog up there sounds like you have not given sufficient thought to this yet – you seem to be entangled in “bow floats” and “lateral floats” square floats and angle floats and ferrocement – but all this really does not interest an investor. The superior customer experience and the competitive edge does – and when you have a convincing plan to pull it off – you need to get a convincing talk to sell yourself as the “right man to do it” – otherwise the investor listens to your business plan – and implements it then with FURY on the steering wheel. Talking like a “aquatic hobo” while you should talk like somebody “you want to invest in” does not make your case.
I see that you have come a long way in the last couple of years. I still remember the endless green an lila angular float graphics from the discussions three years ago – what you say now sometimes really sounds like somebody who is working on a business model that at some point could really work.
If seasteading will be implemented on small scale in the mentioned business ambient, the starting point might well be Quicksilver and Fury with some twist that creates that competitive edge, that extra that can create a momentum that projects into the future.
Keep looking for it – fine and sharpen your talk about it – investor calls will come sooner or later if they think you are ready for the task.
And when those calls start rolling in – don’t take everybodies money. Especially small scale investors frequently want to see a unrealistic amount of stuff done for a very small amount of money wired to your venture. Have the guts and commit your investors to share the risk, do not let them load all the burden on your back for a ridiculous small sum – have been there have done that…March 4, 2014 at 7:34 am #23033
I guess what i am stumbling over is the profitable business is only a water-related business. And that the most investor-friendly has a resturant with chef, liquor service, it has a aqua-bus system for moving groups of people around, it is a scuba and snorkle dive shop, watercraft rental shop, and has a marketing shop doing online and bricks-n-mortar advertising and ticket sales. It certainly has someone doing interface to other businesses for supplies, and government agencies for permits. They may also have a hotel license if they carry customers overnight. Plus if they do not own their own waterfront land, they need to deal with someone where the customer parks their car and waits on the aqua-bus to arrive. Plus the captain of the charter aqua-bus must be a licensed captain, and the bus must have insurance, these are not cheap. To compete with that i think is not a small start to online business.
I was going to build a space to live on (so i will be there full time), go out and test what i build, and stock more than i need, so if i am out at a dive site (i was thinking of a sub wreck off Tampa, actually), then i can make side money selling groceries, fuel, and renting dock space. This plan is much simpler, much cheaper to start. I was going to build more of whatever works, but not on land where there is much interference, i was going to build seastead out on the seastead, so no more need to truck boat parts 100’s of miles before they get to the water.
Neither plan comes with a guarantee, but one has much less risk, and is more “ground floor”.March 4, 2014 at 11:41 am #23034
You have to define for us “small scale seasteading”, because it seems that we have different understanding of what “small scale is”. Quicksilver and Fury are not small scale. They are multi million dollar businesses. “Quicksilver like” businesses (being moored right on the reef) are close to impossible in Florida. The whole Florida Keys are designated Federal Marine Sanctuary and there is no way in hell you’ll get a permit to be on the reef.
But if you firmly believe that “seasteading will be implemented on small scale in the mentioned business ambient, the starting point might well be Quicksilver” you should came here from Cartagena and put your money where your mouth is.
Now, if you woke up on wrong side of the bed today, try to keep it to yourself and don’t “snake it off” by patronizing…And let me respond to your comments.
Your are assuming that “seasteading on a small scale” will start as a for profit business only. Obviously there is a problem with your attention span since I have already mentioned on page 3 here that, and I quote….”The present day MMK Project is set up as a non profit 501(c)(7), a boating, ocean eco-habitation and water sports recreational club, and it will stay like that….We’ve been talking for years about starting seasteading as a business and it didn’t happen… Since doing the same thing all over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, I will try a little “sanity” this time by starting a small scale seastead as a non profit.” Please make a note of that.
Since non profits need “investors” too, of course I am entangled in floats, because that what really matters to an “investor”: how much would the float cost and if they are based on solid engineering so they can perform the task at hand. I’d rather be entangled in 3 floats that can eventually serve the purpose of seasteading, than in an array of submarines, ramforms, shells, domes, honeycombs, Monaco floating pier, etc that we had seen and heard of countless times.
Talking like a “wannabe seasteading expert” without a business plan in hand does not make your case of being somebody “you want to invest in” either. An “aquatic hobo” called Richie Sowa built the Spiral Island. And while you were busy copying and pasting somebody’s else futuristic floating structures and posting them here, my own “endless green float graphics” scale model performed excellent in a wide variety of simulated sea state and wind condition.March 5, 2014 at 9:23 am #23038
Ocean, i understand your frustration with Ellmer, but still: ouch!
I do agree, at a ground floor level, the basic question is: will it float or sink, and under what conditions? The next question is: will it pass a boat inspection? It’s not about the shape of the windows, the size of your webpages, or what floor the spa is located on, or how good you are with photoshop.
What is the water depth around Wisteria Island (or other popular anchor sites)? I mean really, at low tide, in real life, without looking at charts.
Wasn’t there a large private ship, Greek or Russian, years ago, driven into shallow water in a sea-grassy area by a storm, that took a year to get floating again, due to regulations regarding damage to the ocean floor at that point? They were fined $millions and had to transplant(?!) mud and grass if i recall correctly. What was the designation of that area, so we’ll know to not drop anchor there? Is the rule of thumb “drop anchor only if it’s sand with nothing growing on it”? If one can anchor at location X, can one touch the bottom there in any other way too?March 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm #23039
Ocean, nothing pitchy, snaky, patronizing, about business, it is not personal, it is just business. As advisor i am normally paid and welcome to point out the weaknesses that need to be improved. You sounded like a business owner that can not get a lift off – i went in to offer my help to point you to the areas you should give a thought to come to the point of lift off. The one minute attention span is what you get from any investor – be prepared for it when you want to catch the interest of one. I would see convert to non profit rather a drawback than a improvement. Give deep thoughts how you can be attractive to investors. Richi Sowa is not really a good example of a fast forward moving business plan that will lead us into a brigh future… what separates business from “fooling around” is having a clear strategy, intelligent implementations, – and – several investors lining up to be part of it. Avoid to sound like somebody who is not up to the task – who has not clear what are the “outstanding things in oceanic engineering” and what are the “fooling around ventures”, what is key to the business, and what is not, who is hands on, who is pure computer graphics, never wine around when somebody points out your weak points – just take it and improve the points. Thanks for pointing out my weak points – going to improve them. Not trying to molest you i really want to see you succeed. WilMarch 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm #23040
Kat what you normally do when you are not big enough to compete on the main playfield you go for a “specialized niche market” the big competitor does not cover … Conchy Bowe did that successfully.March 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm #23041
Conchy Bowe’s may not be so successful: http://www.city-data.com/fl-restaurants/CONCHY-BOWE-S-BAIT-BARGE.html Looks like the last inspection was 2010, their facebook page has been closed two years now, i don’t see anything online for them dated 2014.
Since i do not know what is being covered by businesses out there now, i need to get there and find out. Otherwise, not a big deal, because i have no investors to make happy. I think i will be happiest working with the ocean and the things floating on them, not primarily the humans. Perhaps i’ll be selling floating things. Who knows?March 5, 2014 at 4:09 pm #23043
Looks like he found a business niche but could not survive a “interferer” that had a boat and came out to close him down. Should have stayed in the bait and tackle business not ventured to the “tourist feeding business” what seems a “high interference risk business” in Florida … nice pilot project after all – we all know now for certain that it is risky to enter into the “small scale tourist feeding business” in Florida when afloat – “LOT of code to apply” for that.
Here in Cartagena people run small scale food business cooking in an old baril on the street – seems like you can not do that in Florida…
No code to apply for that…the business plan depends on the business location – this is true on large and small scale.
Know the interferers, know their code of function, know their execution practice…if they would have found slime in the ice machine of a cruiseship would they have “closed down the operation” or got their ass kicked overboard – that is a question on “food safety realpolitik” for a lawyer in Florida – anybody a educated guess on that?March 5, 2014 at 4:58 pm #23045
ellmer, nothing personal either. I never pretended or said that I am an “expert” businessman. In fact I am far from that in terms of the seasteading business…I am just testing the water…I guess. I also said that due to other present business interests I didn’t cover or research all the aspects of The MMK Project and your input (which is by far much superior than mine in terms of anything “business”) was, is and will always be highly appreciated and I said it few posts ago:
“ellmer, THANK YOU for bringing this up:
“The critical part in this business plan is the transition from the houseboat you mention to quicksilver…you need to show that you actually can transform a boring second hand houseboat into a profit center – can you? – this is what the investors will want to know.”
I definitely overlooked this “simple detail,..can i prove it?”, and the more I read the above phrase, the more I realize that it holds the key to the whole MMK business plan implementation. I owe you one ellmer!”
BUT, when it comes to the kitefloats, the “endless green float graphics” as you put it, that was a wrong bite out of the wrong apple. And will bite back twice as hard at anyone who is bashing those floats because I know my product. There is no better shaped and designed floating platform out there, for ANY scale seasteading applications in terms of structural strength, durability, stability, sea keeping, station keeping, scalability, mobility, speed, and modularity.
I challenge anybody to prove me wrong in a wind and water tunnel test of my scale model against any other scale model. Anytime, anywhere. $5000.00 challenge. Bring it on.March 5, 2014 at 6:55 pm #23049
No need for inspection. The houseboat will be certified as a “6 PACK” operation (carrying only 6 passengers, no more) and there is no inspection needed for this certification.
Around Wisteria at low tide you have anywhere between 2’and 15′ depending where around the island and how far. There are submerged wrecks and banks all around it and if you don’t know the local waters you better don’t get in there ’cause you will be running aground and hit something left and right
Yes, that was Dante’s boat, a friend of mine. He always wanted to sell it to me for $1 Mil…(joking, of course). Really nice guy (a Conch) and lots of fun. It was an old steel boat and it used to be a local casino business at some point. It was anchored for ever in front of the Sunset Key, sort of a bit out of the channel between Wisteria and Sunset Key, facing key West.
Those rich owner on the Sunset Key hated it, but they couldn’t do nothing about it since it was legally anchored on a hurricane mooring that Dante owned It end up braking loose from the anchor in a storm and drifted on the Sunset Key on the beach in front of a $10 Mil. mansion :),…and that was it,.. the CG pulled it out of there and let it drift in the Gulf and nobody saw it again,…They wanted to sue Dante to recover salvage fees but in fact the boat was registered in his father’s name. That guy was so connected with everybody in KW, so the case was never even considered….
Or, your are talking about Peter Halmo’s boat, “Legacy” who ran aground around KW in 2005 during hurricane Wilma. Now that’s a wild story and that guy Halmos a character….In fact he inspired me to built the MMK, because he was a sort of pioneer of “houseboat seasteading”. During the salvage of “Legacy” he rafted up 8 houseboats close by to support the operation. He loved living on those houseboats and he said that he will come back and build a “Houseboat Floating Village” close by KW. 4-5 years ago I got a hold of his lawyer and he gave He his address. I send him a letter saying that I would participate anytime in such a venture. Since I told him I was from Romania and he was Hungary but he spoke Romanian (broken) he called me back and he said that he might do that in the future, but at that time he couldn’t do it because he just got Legacy out of there and he was moving it somewhere for repairs,…Never heard of him again,…March 5, 2014 at 7:18 pm #23050
Ocean, i was thinking of the Legacy. Didn’t the EPA etc want to fine him for every square foot of mud he disturbed, including the mud disturbed when the hurricane put his boat in the Marine Reserve? And make him transplant ocean “grasses” back where the mud was scraped off the sand?
How does one know where it is ok to disturb mud? There’s so many overlapping parks, reserves, sanctuaries, etc from Ft Myers down to Dry Tortuga and around up to Miami!March 5, 2014 at 8:00 pm #23051
I don’t know about the mud disturbing and Legacy,…or else. I think it’s about not damaging the sea grass.March 7, 2014 at 9:23 am #23054
Ocean, you mentioned pump-out tanks, and the uscg inspecting for them and their condition (being present and locked). What about other technologies, such as drying, composting, chemical, and anything i have not heard of? Even small details could be appreciated. For instance, i have yet to find a cross-section drawing of how a pumpout tank should be built!March 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm #23055
On small boats, some people use the “Lectrasan”. https://www.google.com/#q=lectrasan.
In terms of a waste holding tank, usually nobody “builds” one. Most of the boats nowadays come with those built in from factory. It is usually a plastic tank (or it can be a “bladder”, https://www.google.com/search?q=bladder+holding+tank&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=4iEaU76hM6fJ2wW-vYGwDA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAw&biw=1067&bih=514). The waste goes in the tank. There is a pump out hose going from the tank to a pump out deck fitting. https://www.google.com/search?q=bladder+holding+tank&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=4iEaU76hM6fJ2wW-vYGwDA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAw&biw=1067&bih=514#q=deck+pump+out+fitting&tbm=isch
When the tank is almost full, you call a pump out service company, basically a boat fitted with a big pump out holding tank and a waste suction pump that will come alongside your boat, open your deck waste fitting and pump out all your waste, for a certain amount of money. Key West has one and all the cities with ports and marinas have several such business available to the boaters. And it’s quite lucrative,…if you can put up with that s—
If you buy or build a boat that doesn’t have a waste treatment (or holding) system, you can build it your own by buying a holding tank and all the other parts from West Marine (or cheaper, at your local marine chandlery)March 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm #23056
Ocean says: “If you buy or build a boat that doesn’t have a waste treatment (or holding) system, you can build it your own by buying a holding tank and all the other parts…”
So i cannot weld one up from some plate i have laying around?
What about a homemade version of http://www.sun-mar.com/ ?
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