The Seasteading Institute May 2010 Newsletter

The Seasteading Institute May 2010 Newsletter

>“Unless we change direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.” — Chinese proverb

Table of Contents

  • Highlights
  • Jim Von Ehr Donates $100,000 to The Seasteading Institute
  • Ephemerisle 2010: Making Headway
  • Seasteading Conference on a Cruise! — Save the Date
  • Donor Profile: Nicolas Germineau
  • Max Marty Returns to Lead Commercial Seasteading
  • Summer Intern Tony Dreher Coming Aboard
  • Two NEW Special Project Job Positions Now Available

  • Poseidon Project

  • Awareness & Community
  • Membership Program
  • Events
  • Media
  • Book

  • Hiring

  • Membership

  • Special Thanks


Nanotech Pioneer Takes Plunge Toward Settling the Sea

Jim Von Ehr donates $100,000 to The Seasteading Institute

SAN FRANCISCO, Cailfornia – Not all nanotechnology entrepreneurs think small. Jim Von Ehr, founder and CEO of Zyvex Labs–a leading nanotech company–recently gave $100,000 to the Seasteading Institute (TSI) toward the goal of creating independent communities on the open ocean.

Said Von Ehr of his gift: “History teaches us that we see incredible gains for civilization whenever a new frontier is developed. Seasteads represent a freedom frontier unique in the world: offering a chance to provide social, economic and political freedom to its citizens. Humanity will benefit from more places open to liberty, opportunity, free markets and innovation in everything.”

Patri Friedman, founder and executive director of TSI, added “Jim Von Ehr’s passion for freedom, engineering practicality and experience as a technology entrepreneur make him an ideal supporter, and we’re delighted to welcome him.”

The Thiel Foundation will match Von Ehr’s donation, completing their $100,000 matching grant for the first half of 2010. As a result, the Foundation is increasing their grant to match up to $250k of TSI funds raised through Dec. 31, 2010.

Located in Sunnyvale, California–in the heart of Silicon Valley–The Seasteading Institute was created to further the establishment and growth of permanent, autonomous ocean communities, enabling innovation with new political and social systems. TSI is a nonprofit public benefit corporation. For further information, visit

Ephemerisle 2010: Making Headway

Ephemerisle 2010 is fast approaching, and will make significant strides along its incremental path towards real, permanent seasteading. In a new article on, TSI Executive Director Patri Friedman explains exactly how this year’s Ephemerisle festival will increase the seasteading community’s knowledge, ingenuity, and understanding of life on the water.

In a nutshell: we’re scaling up! This year, Ephemerisle will triple in population from 2009 — and we’re scaling our organizational capacities to match, with a volunteer program that seeks out and trains marine-motivated individuals and gives them direct responsibility for many construction, engineering, and logistics challenges involved in building and structuring the event.

We’re also excited to be making use of some bigger, better marine technology: a 4000 ft^2 steel barge fitted with a construction crane will provide the basis of TSI’s presence and commmunity infrastructure (common areas, plumbing, power, etc) this year.

It’s important to us and to the success of Ephemerisle that we encourage acts of creativity and ingenuity among our community. Thus we’re extremely pleased to be partnering with several maker/builder organizations in the Bay Area, including Tinkers Workshop, The Alternative Energy Zone, and Noisebridge, to provide a series of DIY workshops on topics such as solar and wind energy, knot-tying and rope skills, and the construction of basic floating vessels.

Learn more about Ephemerisle:

For those not acquainted with our annual floating festival, we recommend our brief intro to Ephemerisle on

If you want to get a feel for what Ephemerisle is like, go to the Ephemerisle website, where you can watch a video of the first Ephemerisle event, held in October of 2009.

How to stay up on Ephemerisle developments:

For the latest official updates and important information about this event, The Official Ephemerisle Blog is your best source.

If you prefer all your news wrapped up in a nice neat package, subscribe to the Ephemerisle Announcements mailing list.

To RSVP and learn more about the upcoming Bay Area workshops leading up to the festival, use the events page on the Ephemerisle Community Group on Facebook

Next TSI Conference on a Cruise Ship — Save the Date!

You asked, we listened: TSI’s first-ever conference on a cruise ship begins on January 30th, 2011!

At the 2009 Seasteading Conference, many of you requested such an event and pointed out how appropriate it would be. So we’ve found a like-minded organization to partner with and we’re doing it. The cruise leaves from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and makes port at several lovely Carribean locations, returning on February 6th, 2011.

Details, speakers, and registration info coming soon. For now, save the date!

Thanks to community member Terry Floyd for championing this idea at our 2009 conference.

Donor Profile: Nicolas Germineau

This month, we are excited to welcome Nicolas Germineau to our circle of Argonauts.

Nicolas Germineau knows intimately how hard it is to relocate to a new country. As a young IT professional, he made his start first at Apple in Ireland, and afterward as a business owner in France. Finding his hard work in starting a small business unrewarded under France’s byzantine regulatory structures, he again endured the cost and emotional toll of international relocation to make a new start in North America.

Across all of these moves, Germineau has carried an idealism that pushes him to seek a more satisfying freedom in this world. Most recently settling in Quebec, Canada, he has found the economic climate more conducive to his needs than in France, and the political climate more conducive to his international relocation than in the United States, but acknowledges that these are local optima particular to his situation — not the kind of freedom he believes the world is capable of supporting.

Says Germineau,

>“I had always felt drawn to smaller intentional communities and had already investigated seasteading, but when TSI was finally founded I saw it as a beacon of light. I originally saw TSI as a fresh approach to an age old problem. But the approach is only fresh in living memory. TSI is actually going back to the only approach that consistently worked throughout history: moving to a new and unsettled frontier.

>But more remarkable still is the fact that TSI’s mission is not to create one new frontier or to foster one kind of ideology, but to enable anyone to create their own frontier for themselves. Removing the need to convince ideologically heterogeneous populations with existing entrenched interests vastly improves the odds and makes even the most drastic engineering challenges seem trivial in comparison. I see The Seasteading Institute as the only organization that aims to work around the insurmountable obstacles all others futilely try to climb over, and I am proud to support it. I’m glad to be contributing to one of the few realistic ways of breaking the cartel.”

The Seasteading Institute is deeply grateful for Nicolaus Germineau’s contribution to the development of seasteading.

Max Marty Returns to Focus on Commercial Seasteading

This month, Max Marty returns to The Seasteading Institute after a brief hiatus, brimming with enthusiasm and ingenuity to take on commercial seasteading development as part of the Poseidon Project.

At The Seasteading Institute, commercial development means growth in business relationships among prospective entrepreneurs who have expressed interest in extending existing businesses or starting new ventures aboard one of the first seasteads. We see TSI’s role as facilitators in fostering the development of new, untapped market opportunities revealed by the unique physical and regulatory environments of future seasteads.

As a leader in facilitation of seasteading business development, Max will focus on the following goals for 2010:

  • Building a network of commercially-minded entrepreneurs, investors, and advisors from the seasteading community
  • Continuing to make progress investigating the business of ocean-based medical tourism, which we will publish as a detailed case study, and potentially even spin off into a for-profit business to help accelerate the sector
  • Completing high-level research on several other seasteading-oriented business models to assist & inspire others

In his return to TSI, Max says he is most excited about “meeting and working with individuals who are thinking of ways to make big money off of seasteading.”

Summer Intern Tony Dreher Coming Aboard

In June, TSI will welcome Tony Dreher as our first summer intern. Tony hails from Birmingham, Alabama, and will be trekking out to California to spend two months assisting in development efforts. Tony will take on some important work such as donor and foundation research, general fundraising, website updates, and will also assist with Ephemerisle preparations.

“I’ve always liked the sentiment behind Justice Louis Brandeis’ “laboratories of democracy,” said Tony. “Consequently, I find seasteading compelling because it fixes the basic methodological problem that governments have always had as laboratories for developing sound policy – non-volunteer contamination. To me, seasteading represents an absolutely momentous divergence in the evolution of governance. I am incredibly fortunate to be involved in its infancy, and I’m really looking forward to helping with fundraising and planning Ephemerisle this summer.”

The internship will give Tony a chance to directly apply his skills to the success of many crucial operations here at TSI.

We’re still looking for interns! If you’d like to make a direct impact on the future of seasteading, and can assist with our development, engineering, oceanographic, and/or general organizational efforts, please read this page on how to apply to become an intern at The Seasteading Institute.

Two NEW Special Project Job Positions Now Available

As part of the Poseidon Project’s Platform Initiative, we’ve apportioned two 3-month projects as key initial steps. Contributing your valuable skills and brainpower to the Poseidon Project puts you in touch with the cutting edge of the seasteading movement while adding an intriguing project qualification to your academic or professional resume.

The Seasteading Institute is now hiring individuals for the following 3-month contract-based project roles (click on the links to read more):

Oceanography Researcher – This individual will help identify promising locations for potential seastead locations based on favorable oceanographic conditions.

Territorial Boundaries Researcher – This individual will research potential seastead locations to determine what the exact limitations of territorial waters and EEZs from any neighboring states.

We encourage recent graduates and those working towards Masters and PhD degrees in related disciplines to apply. For more info about other jobs and opportunities to get involved at TSI, please see our Jobs and Volunteers page.

There is a $500 referral bonus for each position. If you know of any promising candidates, please send them our way!

Poseidon Project

The Poseidon Project is our medium-term strategy to build the world’s first independent seastead by 2015, which we unveiled at the 2009 Seasteading Conference. We are still iterating on strategy, budget, timeline, and pitch. The strategy consists of three initiatives:

  • Platform. The “Platform” initiative is the physical and legal foundation for the project, including the location, engineering design, legal research, and diplomacy.
  • Commercial. To be financially self-sufficient, seasteads needs businesses which can operate profitably on them, providing an economic engine that employs residents and keeps the seasteads afloat.
  • Residential. We need pioneers!

Currently, we are focused on the fundraising and hiring stages of the Poseidon Project. We are making progress on the Poseidon Project in parallel, however, and will have more updates in upcoming newsletters.

Awareness and Community

Awareness and Community: Events

Check out the ">The Seasteading Institute public calendar, where we list all TSI hosted and sponsored events, both singular and ongoing. You’ll find casual meetups, speaking engagements, conventions, workshops, and other intriguing community events.

And there are lots more ways to keep in touch listed on our Seasteading Social Networks page.

If you’d like to hold an official Seasteading social event or workshop in your area, send an email with your idea to

Bay Area Events


  • June 9th: Let Freedom Ring! A special event hosted by John Chisholm featuring leaders of three non-profit organizations fighting for freedom and liberty. In her remarks, Sally Pipes (Pacific Research Institute) will touch on health care: challenges, myths, and solutions. Patri Friedman will explain how seasteading improves governments through the power of competition. Larry Reed (Foundation for Economic Education) will inspire us to rise to the challenges and take principle-based action. Advance ticket purchase required. Click here for details, registration, and directions.



  • June 2nd: Patri Friedman speaks at TEDx Del Mar. The theme of the event is “The Big Picture Future”.

  • July 8th-11th: FreedomFest 2010 — Come visit Patri Friedman, James Hogan, and Max Marty at The Seasteading Institute booth! This year’s 7th Annual FreedomFest happens in Las Vegas, Nevada. Register for the event here.


  • April 6th: Patri Friedman spoke at the University of California at Berkeley. Event details on Facebook

  • April 11th: Patri Friedman presented at the 1st Mises Brasil Austrian Economics Seminar in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

  • April 15th: The Millenium Insitute hosted Patri at their “Ideas and Projects for a Freer World” seminar in Rio de Janerio, Brazil

  • April 25th: Copenhagen Business School included Patri in the speaker lineup at the “In Defense of Capitalism” conference.

  • April 26-30th: Patri attended the Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway.

Awareness and Community: Media



We know of several articles now in the works! Keep an eye on the Main Blog on to see where TSI will turn up in May and June.


Selected blog posts from April:

Awareness and Community: Book

Your input is still needed! Cast your vote for the most important topics in seasteading, and help shape the canonical seasteading book by Patri Friedman.


We are seeking a Director of Engineering to lead The Seasteading Institute’s marine engineering research ($1000 referral bonus).

The following project-based roles are 3-month contracts:

Oceanography Researcher – This individual will help identify promising locations for potential seastead locations based on favorable oceanographic conditions.

Territorial Boundaries Researcher – This individual will research potential seastead locations to determine what the exact limitations of territorial waters and EEZs from any neighboring states.

Internships (NEW): TSI is now accepting applications for student internships in various areas. For more information, see “Internships at TSI”.


Today is the day to join a movement that will change the world! Become a member of the Seasteading Institute and know first-hand the inner workings of a life changing movement. You’ll be joining 150 other pioneers in this effort and help bring Seasteading that much closer to reality.

Special Thanks

To our donors and members, who continue to astound us with their generosity, their volunteered insights, and the quality of their characters;

To our forum participants, who have been keeping discussions lively, fresh, and civil, helping to further the cause of seasteading on all fronts;

And to you, for reading our newsletter!

See you next month!


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