“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” –Mahatma Gandhi
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the media can no longer ignore the steady progress of seasteading entrepreneurs. Now, you can add the Huffington Post to the list of media outlets to take note of what could end up being the first seasteading business venture to get off the ground, a visa-free startup incubator on a retrofitted ship 12 miles of the coast of Silicon Valley called Blueseed.
Mahendra Ramsinghani, author of The Business of Venture Capital, is the latest writer to profile the ambitious startup. At first, Ramsinghani comes off as skeptical, asking "How crazy can entrepreneurs get?" However, it quickly becomes clear that the Indian immigrant and expert on venture capital sees a great deal of room for Blueseed to succeed, and warns against poking fun at the idea. He writes:
"In many ways, immigrants and entrepreneurs are alike. At first, both appear crazy: why would you leave everything behind and travel to new domains? Both are ridiculed or worse, treated as social pariahs. As a society, we don’t do much in their darkest hour, the lonely phase that can make (or break) many. Of course, once they make it big, we celebrate them!"
Further, Ramsinghani gives some surprising and important statistics to back up his optimism. He notes a survey from the Kauffman Foundation, which asked over one thousand foreigners studying in the United States about their future plans. "Over 60 percent of student respondents indicated that they want to start a business within the next decade," Ramsinghani reports. The Kauffman Foundation study also shows that 85 percent of Indian and and Chinese students are worried about obtaining work visas.
Back when Blueseed co-founders Max Marty and Dario Mutabdzija worked for The Seasteading Institute, they researched ways that seasteading businesses could solve problems arising from government regulation and referred to the resulting profit opportunity as "jurisdictional arbitrage" (see pg. 14 of the paper "Seasteading Business: Context, Opportunity and Challenge"). From this idea sprouted Blueseed, which the founders are not alone in believing provides ample arbitrage opportunities. "While economic opportunity is paramount, the US visa system and its inherent challenges are a deterrent for smart people to stay in US," writes Ramsighani, "Will the floating incubator solve this problem? Not in its entirety but a crazy idea is always a good start."
If the words of Mahatma Gandhi are a good guide, Blueseed should be preparing for the battles ahead. Fortunately, they will have the backing of a large and growing community of seasteading enthusiasts led by the Institute. If you support the efforts of the Blueseed team, and want seasteading to become a reality on a larger scale, log on to Huffington Post and show them your appreciation in the comments section!