March 21, 2009

TSI’s mission statement

I wrote the original mission statement for The Seasteading Institute somewhat hastily while trying to get the corporate entity formed and website going on a tight deadline. With more time to reflect, Liz, James and I think it can be improved, and we’d like your feedback.

Here’s the original:

To establish permanent, autonomous ocean communities to enable experimentation and innovation with diverse social, political, and legal systems

And our proposed new version:

To further the establishment and growth of permanent, autonomous ocean communities, enabling innovation with new political and social systems.

Some notes:

* “To establish” -> “To further the establishment”. People often seem to expect our small nonprofit to be out there building hundred million dollar structures, and we think the old language encourages that misperception. Big ventures need big investment, thus need to be for-profit, and to be their own corporate entities. While we are in discussions with our lawyers about how TSI can help such ventures, perhaps by incubating them until they receive enough funding to become independent, we don’t expect TSI to ever own a $100M seastead.
* “Establishment and growth”. As part of our long-term timeline, we realized that over time if we are successful, TSI will shift from just trying to get seasteads started to also acting as an advocate for existing seasteads, and we wanted the mission to reflect that.
* The other changes, removing experimentation and legal, and some minor rephrasing, were just trimming words we felt were redundant.

This may seem like obsessing over minor details, but the mission statement is a compact embodiment of the goals and values of the entire organization, so it is a sentence worth looking at quite carefully.

Comments welcome.