Staff / Board / Advisors

Our mission is to further the long term-growth of the seasteading movement. Our current focus is to enable the first seasteads by researching critical engineering, legal and business challenges, increasing public awareness, and building a core seasteading community.The Seasteading Institute was founded in 2008 by activist, software engineer and political economic theorist Patri Friedman, grandson of Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman, and technology entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Peter Thiel.


Joe Quirk

President, Author, Aquapreneur

Joe Quirk is a science writer, novelist, and memoir ghostwriter, with a national bestseller in each category. He is co-author with Patri Friedman of Seasteading: How Floating Nations Will Restore The Environment, Enrich The Poor, Cure The Sick, and Liberate Humanity from Politicians, which was an amazon bestseller in the category of marine engineering. He has consulted for Pixar, who volunteered to illustrate his public speaking for college students. 

Joe is co-founder and Managing Director at Blue Frontiers, where he helps lead a team of lawyers, engineers, business leaders, artists, and investors to establish the first floating islands with unprecedented political autonomy in the waters of nations willing to host the first seasteads.

Randolph Hencken

Managing Director

Randy earned his MA in communication and his BS in business administration from San Diego State University. From 2008 to 2011, he was the Director of Communication and Marketing for the non-profit research organization MAPS, which conducts clinical research investigating combinations of psychotherapy and novel drugs to treat conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and death anxiety. From 2006 to 2008, while writing a quantitative thesis, he taught communication courses to undergraduates at SDSU. Prior to returning to university, from 2001 to 2004, he was the program director at the Ibogaine Association, an alternative drug-treatment center in Mexico. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Students for Sensible Drug Policy, an international organization advocating for drug policy reforms based on science and compassion. Randy is thrilled to be a part of the seasteading movement and to focus his activism toward creating innovative political systems, governments, and societies.

Carly Rose Jackson

Operations Manager

Carly Rose Jackson joined the Seasteading community after meeting a group of seasteaders at the Startup Societies Conference in August 2017. She has dreamed of living on a seastead ever since. She serves on the board for The Center for Natural Living, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating autonomous and sustainable communities. She has worked and volunteered for a number of nonprofit organizations and political organizations, building communities and training activists. She worked as Social Media Manager for Blue Frontiers, growing the digital presence of seasteaders. 

Her claim to fame is that Jeffrey A. Tucker once kissed her on the cheek.

Board of Trustees

Patri Friedman

Chairman of the Board

Patri received a BS in math from Harvey Mudd College, an MS in computer science from Stanford University, and an MBA from Cardean University. While in school he experimented with technology startups, ran a small consulting business, and co-founded two intentional communities. In 2004 he joined Google to work as a software engineer. In 2008 he left Google and founded The Seasteading Institute with seed funding from PayPal founder Peter Thiel. Patri is on the board of Humanity+ and co-created Breakthrough Philanthropy. He is also a prolific writer on political theory and philosophy. Patri comes from a line of great revolutionary thinkers, his grandfather Milton Friedman was the 1976 Nobel Laureate in economics, and his father David Friedman is a well-known political theorist and festival founder. Patri lives with his partner Brit and his two children Iselle and Tovar in Berkeley, California.

Lelei TuiSamoa LeLaulu

A development entrepreneur operating in the confluences of food security, regenerative ecology, responsible tourism, smart social and economic investment, creative energy generation, and leadership, Lelei is an advisor on Business and Sustainability to the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank where he also consulted on oceans. 

Born in Samoa, Lelei advises the Pacific Oceans Commissioner, the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, the Pacific Leadership Program of the Australian Government, as well as  governments and corporations in the Caribbean. 

Lelei’s career includes the United Nations, foreign correspondence in Africa and the Middle East, CEO of Counterpart International and managing the world tour of the Royal Polynesian Dancers. 

He serves on several boards and is chairman of the Earth Council Alliance, chairman of the Leadership Council of the George Washington University Tourism Dept, the Caribbean Media Exchange, and the Eastern European Film Festival 

Titus Gebel

Titus Gebel is founder, President & CEO of Free Private Cities Inc. and partner at NeWAY Capital. He is a German entrepreneur with a PhD in international law and an extensive worldwide network. Among others, he founded Frankfurt-listed mining company Deutsche Rohstoff AG, retired as their CEO in 2014 and emigrated with his family to Monaco. With Free Private Cities, he wants to create an entirely new product in the “market of living together”. If successful, it will fast-track knowledge and progress for humanity. Titus has written the book, Free Private Cities – Making Governments Compete For You, where he states the theoretical and practical groundwork. At the same time he is working with his partners to make the worldwide first Free Private City a reality.

Susanna Dokupil

Susanna Dokupil is the Vice Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party and the founder of Documenting the American Dream, a video project that teaches core values by telling inspirational stories. She previously served as Special Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee, as an Assistant Solicitor General in the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, as well as two years in private practice. Ms. Dokupil frequently comments on public policy, often on issues related to religious liberty and judicial nominations. She has authored over 75 articles and op-eds for such publications as National Review Online, The Washington Times, The Houston Chronicle, The American Enterprise, Above the Law, The Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, The Texas Review of Law & Politics, The Cato Supreme Court Review, The Journal of Church & State, and The Encyclopedia of Religious Freedom. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Jerry E. Smith, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Prior to law school, Ms. Dokupil received her B.A., magna cum laude, in the University Scholars program and her M.A. in Church-State Studies from Baylor University. Ms. Dokupil currently serves as a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Tenth Amendment Action, a member of the board of advisers of The Texas Review of Law & Politics, and on the governing board of the Houston Symphony. She is also pursuing a master’s degree in Strategic Public Relations at George Washington University. Ms. Dokupil resides in Houston, Texas with her twin boys, David and Benjamin, her daughter Annabelle, and her son Jonathan.

James R. Von Ehr II

Founder and Chairman of Zyvex Technologies, Zyvex Labs, and Zycraft

Recognized as a leader within the nanotechnology industry, he founded the Texas Nanotechnology Initiative and the Feynman Grand Prize in Nanotechnology. His significant gifts established the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) NanoTech Institute, the James Von Ehr Distinguished Chair of Science and Technology at UTD, held by the late Nobel Laureate Alan MacDiarmid, and the James Von Ehr Scholars program at Michigan State University (MSU).Von Ehr was named an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in June 2003. He has also been named Distinguished Alumni of MSU and UTD, and received MSU’s Claud Erickson Award, their highest engineering honor. In 2004 he received the Richardson Chamber of Commerce’s Economic Development Leadership Award, and in 2008, was named Richardson’s Citizen of the Year. A more detailed bio can be found here.

Jonathan Cain

President of the Thiel Foundation

Jonathan is co-founder of the 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship, which identifies and supports the tech visionaries of tomorrow. He also serves as a principal at Clarium and sits on the boards of the SENS Foundation, a nonprofit that works to develop, promote, and ensure widespread access to regenerative medicine solutions to the disabilities and diseases of aging, as well as The Seasteading Institute. Before joining the Thiel Foundation and Clarium, Jonathan served as speechwriter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He lives with his wife, Robyn, in San Francisco.

Michael Gibson

VP Grants, Thiel Foundation

Michael Gibson is vice president for grants at the Thiel Foundation and a principal at Thiel Capital. For nearly five years working for Peter Thiel, he has contributed research to Peter’s global macro hedge fund, helped raise hundreds of millions in capital for a venture capital vehicle, assisted in teaching a course at Stanford Law School on sovereignty and technological change, and helped run the Thiel Fellowship. Before his academic apostasy, he was working towards a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Oxford. He has written on innovation and technology for MIT’s Technology Review, the Atlantic, and Forbes.

Board of Advisors

Jorge Schmidt


Most of Jorge’s work is in complex civil litigation. He has represented clients in a wide range of matters, including securities class actions, antitrust, and intellectual property claims before the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Tenth and Eleventh Circuits, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, in federal and state trial courts across the country, and in arbitral tribunals. These representations include the prosecution and defense of direct and indirect purchaser class actions, of complex multiparty class action and opt-out litigation under state and federal securities laws, and the prosecution of actions for breach of contract, business torts, and trade secret violations.Representative cases include In re Qwest; Genesco v. The Finish Line; Federated Department Stores v. Federated Department Stores Insurance; In re Fresh Del Monte Pineapples Antitrust Litigation; and In re Marine Hose Antitrust Litigation.

O.Shane Balloun


O.Shane Balloun is a lawyer in Western Washington, practicing at his firm, Balloun Law Professional Corporation. His areas of practice include admiralty and maritime law, high-tech business law, property law, litigation, and other civil matters.O.Shane attended Cornell University as Dean’s Scholar and graduated with an A.B. in Mathematics. After college, he worked in high tech in Silicon Valley, enjoying a stint in the hard disk drive industry before beginning work at Google. After Google, O.Shane earned his J.D. with honor from the University of Wyoming, graduating in the top 3% of his class. He also holds an LL.M. (Master of Laws) in Admiralty from Tulane University Law School, where he graduated with distinction.He has published legal articles concerning the intersection of seasteading and American criminal law enforcement in admiralty as well as how the Tenth Amendment supports various states’ firearms freedom acts. He is licensed to practice in California and Washington; further, he is admitted to practice in all federal courts in California, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Honorary Mentions

John Chisholm

Board of Trustees (2009-2014)

In 1992, Mr. Chisholm founded and served as CEO & Chairman of Decisive Technology, publisher of the first desktop and client-server software for conducting surveys through email and the web. Decisive Technology became the leading desktop application for online surveys and is now a part of Google. In 1997, he founded CustomerSat, where he served as CEO & Chairman for a decade until its acquisition by MarketTools in early 2008. He also chairs the MIT Club of Northern California (a non-profit organization serving over 10,000 alumni), is a trustee of the Santa Fe Institute, is a member of the MIT Corporation Development Committee, and volunteers with MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service to help young entrepreneurs start their own businesses. Mr. Chisholm received degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School.