The Seasteading Institute July 2011 Newsletter

The Seasteading Institute – July 2011 Newsletter

Greetings Friends of Seasteading,

Our vision for seasteading is to improve government through competition, and my personal talents lie in seeing possibilities and starting initiatives. Many groups and organizations in the past have tried their hand at the audacious task of creating innovative societies, and I saw the possibility for seasteading to powerfully advance this idea with our unique approach. Thus was born The Seasteading Institute in 2008, as a marvelous addition to the practical politics portfolio.

Much important movement-building and research work remains here at the Institute, and we believe there is also important work to be done in the commercial sector, by creating businesses that benefit individuals through better laws. From both a personal and organizational standpoint, the time is right for me to pursue the vision of government innovation by shifting my primary focus to creating new commercial ventures that will complement the work here at the Institute. I look forward to sharing more details about my projects as they become more solid.

I’m excited to announce that I’ve found a great executive team to take over and continue to grow The Seasteading Institute: Michael Keenan and Randy Hencken. I will stay significantly involved as Chairman of the Board, media and diplomatic spokesperson, and strategic advisor, as well as promoting seasteading through our in-progress book Seasteading: How Ocean Cities Will Reinvent Politics. While it is a bittersweet moment for me, I believe my talents are best suited to continuing to expand our portfolio of ventures, while Michael and Randy have the passion and talent to take The Seasteading Institute to the next level.

Similarly, two other staff members—Max Marty, Director of Business Strategy and Dario Mutabdzija, Director of Legal Strategy—are wrapping up their research and preparing to start Blueseed, a shipsteading venture, as their contribution to expanding the movement. A commercial sector is vital to seasteading progress, and so we’re thrilled that Max and Dario are helping lead the charge to this next frontier for seasteading, and we’re excited to see where their adventure takes them.

As you can see in this newsletter, we have lots of great progress to report, and Michael and Randy will continue to add new programs to advance the seasteading mission. If you’re interested in reading about the details of our motivation for this expansion, the staff and program changes, and the new ventures, this page has more information.

In service of seasteading, Patri Friedman

Table of Contents

Engineering Report Released: “Parametric Analysis of Candidate Configurations for Early Seastead Platforms…”

For the past half-year or so, The Seasteading Institute has been toiling away on an engineering study that’s aimed at identifying the most promising configurations for early seastead communities. We’ve looked at three different hull configurations (ship, barge and semi-submersible) in a range of sizes to accommodate as few as 100 to as many as 5,000 seasteaders. To document the first phase of this work, we have just published a report entitled “Parametric Analysis of Candidate Configurations for Early Seastead Platforms, Part 1: Platform Configurations and Cost Estimates” (20 mb, loads slowly), written by George Petrie, The Seasteading Insititute Director of Engineering and former Professor of Naval Architecture at Webb Institute. By mid-August, we will follow-up with a report on the remainder of the study, which evaluates the relative performance of each candidate configuration.


First Legal Research Report Released: “Charting the Course: Toward a Seasteading Legal Strategy”

We are excited to share The Seasteading Institute’s first legal research paper, “Charting the Course: Toward a Seasteading Legal Strategy (one of a two paper series)” by Director of Legal Research Dario Mutabdzija.

The primary objective of these legal papers is to assist with the formation of a legal strategy that will be useful to seasteaders around the world. What does this mean from a practical standpoint? First and foremost seasteaders will want to understand international law as it relates to seasteading. The success of this paper—in conjunction with other, more targeted legal research papers—will be determined by the extent to which people can start up their seastead ventures armed with relevant legal information.

I would like to extend my deep gratitude to all of the supporters of the institute who made this research possible, as well as to my co-author Max Borders for assisting with the writing of this text. I look forward to publishing the second paper in this series in the next few weeks and hope that everyone in the seasteading community finds the documents useful toward our common goal.


San Francisco Bay Summer Meet-Up, August 17

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area on Wednesday, August 17, then come hang out with other seasteading enthusiasts at our summer meet-up. We’ll be gathering at Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub and Restaurant, which is within walking distance of the Millbrae BART/Caltrain stations in Millbrae, California. This will be an excellent opportunity to connect with other seasteading community members from around the Bay!

Event Details: Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub and Restaurant 333 El Camino Real, Millbrae, CA 94030 Wednesday, August 17th 7-9 pm


Featured Ambassador: Julian Le Roux

The Seasteading Institute is proud to have Cape Town, South Africa’s Julian Le Roux as one of our official volunteer Seasteading Ambassadors. He is truly devoted to the goals of seasteading and has given numerous hours of his time—beyond his role as an ambassador—to assist our business strategy department’s research. The hard work contributed by Julian will be found in the two business strategy reports released this summer.

Julian heard Patri predict on the BBC One Planet radio show that seasteads would attract two types of people—skilled migrants from developing countries, and entrepreneurial pioneers. Julian notes, “I am both those people.”

“In my lifetime, over a million skilled individuals have fled South Africa due to problems created by seriously dysfunctional government. No doubt they went through immense stress and struggle to obtain work permits, residency and citizenship—all to be ruled by states that are only slightly better. For me, even an early seastead sounds like a superior prospect.”

Seasteading also brings out Julian’s entrepreneurial spirit. “The business opportunities and challenges genuinely excite me, to say nothing of the technological and futuristic aspects. As an anarcho-capitalist, the chance to try revolutionary ideas and institutions that are prohibited on land is tantalizing. Actually living in a truly free society, that would be a dream come true.”

“The end goal of seasteading is to catalyse technological progress in the industry that needs it most—the most important industry of all—governance. The effect this could have on global quality of life, and the course of human history, cannot be overstated.”

Julian, The Seasteading Institute is grateful to have you on our team!


Featured Donor (and Ambassador!): Paul Martin

Our featured donor this month is Paul Martin, a Dolphin member of The Seasteading Institute, and one of the first community members to be awarded a Seasteading Ambassadorship.

Graduating from Stanford University with a B.A. in History, Paul was an early employee at PayPal, serving for two years as the Senior Product Manager for products comprising 80% of PayPal’s revenue. He then spent three years as the self-employed owner of a web-based micro-business, Noss Galen Baby. In 2008, Paul entered the realm of law enforcement, joining the Albuquerque Police Department, which is considered to be one of the premier local law enforcement agencies in America. Paul and his wife Alison are the proud parents of five young children.

“For me, seasteading would mean the fulfillment of two long-held dreams: pioneering a new frontier and making a real, positive change to human governance,” says Paul. “I once believed that space was the only possible new frontier, but space appeared to be beyond the reach of my generation. I once believed that political activism was the best way to make a difference, but I quickly found that activism in the modern political environment was ineffective. Seasteading changes all of that. Now there is a huge new frontier to be settled. Now there is a way to change all the rules.

“I hope to contribute to seasteading both as a pioneer and as a law enforcement officer. And I hope for my children to have many seasteads available to them as choices of where to build their own lives and families in the decades ahead.”

Paul, thank you for your support and for your service as a Seasteading Ambassador!


Welcome Engineering Interns: Jorge Suarez and Elie Amar

This summer we are getting some extra help from two engineering students from the University of Southhampton in the United Kingdom. Jorge Suarez and Elie Amar are working with Director of Engineering George Petrie on researching deep ocean floating breakwaters combined with wave-powered generators plausible for a large-scale seastead.

Jorge, a native to Spain, would like to pursue a career in the offshore energy field. “I believe that providing energy in the face of increasing demand, and doing so in a sustainable and responsible manner, is a huge engineering challenge faced by all energy companies. Interning for The Seasteading Institute is an excellent opportunity to challenge myself. The research that I am doing at the moment may not be applied to seasteads for many years, but helping the seasteading community to develop a floating breakwater that produces energy from the waves is an exciting challenge.”

Elie, originally from New Caledonia, studied naval architecture in Sydney, Australia for three years before moving to Southampton to complete his education. His interest in seasteading came during an offshore engineering lecture given by George Petrie. “I could not believe such a project actually existed, everything seemed unreal. Helping in the development of the seasteading adventure, and working in such a vibrant place is a rich experience at many levels.”

Welcome to the office gentlemen!


San Francisco Chronicle Placed us on the Front Page

We received a tremendous amount of exposure from the June 1, 2011 San Francisco Chronicle front page story, “Patri Friedman makes waves with ‘seasteading’ plan.” We are pleased about the friendly reporting, and we’d like to address a few inaccuracies in the story in order to create an accurate archive of our plans and accomplishments.

The article reported: “…the planned [italics added] nation flotilla would be constructed on a variety of barges and water platforms within sight of San Francisco. It would include everything from homes, schools and hospitals to bikes for transportation and aqua farms for food.”

As Seasteading Institute followers are aware, the Institute does not have any official plans to construct a seastead, or a nation flotilla. Rather, the institute is working to enable the creation of this vision. Whether or not a seastead is created within sight of San Francisco will be dependent upon the seasteading community to turn our research and movement building into action.

The article went on: “…Friedman already has secured more than $2 million in venture capital for the development…”

Patri, acting as the executive director of the institute, has secured more than $2 million in donation money for seasteading research and movement building, not $2 million in venture capital funding for the development of an actual seastead.

Further in the article: “…construction of floating offices will, according to Friedman, begin off the city in 2012. The project, which aims to have tens of millions of residents by the time it’s completed in 2040, may ultimately be floated down the Pacific toward San Diego, but for the next decade, the focus will be here.”

Patri and The Seasteading Institute do not have plans to begin construction of floating offices next year. As indicated in Patri’s introduction to this newsletter, the first seasteading businesses are being developed and will hopefully be operating in the near future, but we do not know how long it will be until they are open for business on the water. Patri mentioned to the journalist that sailing a seastead down to San Diego could be an option, but it isn’t part of a plan.

Later the story states: “…Backed almost entirely by venture capitalist Peter Thiel…”

The Thiel Foundation historically represents approximately 70% of our funding. The remaining funding comes from 250+ donors, with about one dozen making large contributions of more than $10,000 annually.

The story also says: “Working as an engineer at Google in 2008, Friedman met Silicon Valley philosopher and software engineer Wayne Gramlich, who introduced him to seasteading.”

Patri and Wayne became acquainted before 2002, when they wrote the first online version of a seasteading book.


Ephemerisle Demonstrates Success in Crowd-Sourcing a Seasteading-Esque Event

The audacious vision of seasteading is way too big for any one organization, and to achieve it we will need to share a common vision that is enacted by many diverse, enthusiastic people. This model functioned wonderfully at the crowd-sourced 2011 Ephemerisle festival, where The Seasteading Institute brought two of the dozen plus boats for the weekend community gathering.

It was incredibly exciting to see the event grow based entirely on grassroots support, and we loved the new U-shaped configuration and central platform design. Seasteading enthusiasts gathering on the water is always a powerful bonding experience with great emotional impact, one which is now on a marvelous growth trajectory, with about double the number of attendees we had in 2009 and 2010.  We can’t wait to see what happens next.

Learn more about the floating festival at the Ephemerisle website and Matt Bell’s blog.

Check out photos tagged ephemerisle2011 on Flickr.

We encourage all seasteaders to follow @ephemerisle on Twitter and to watch for next year’s date, contribute to brainstorming for 2012, and join the festivities!


We look forward to bringing you more news soon. In the meantime keep up with all that is happening at The Seasteading Institute by visiting our blogs, forums, and Facebook page. We’re also on Twitter.




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