The Seasteading Institute – Winter 2011 Newsletter

Table of Contents

What’s New at The Seasteading Institute

Our 2011 Seasteading Strategy and New Research Papers Available Online

The Seasteading Institute believes that incrementalism — the breaking down of our ambitious vision into manageable, practical steps — is the best way to realize the seasteading vision.

The first step of our 2011 strategy therefore focuses on movement-building (building awareness, engaging our community, and inspiring future seasteading entrepreneurs) and research (addressing the engineering, legal, and business barriers to seasteading).

Below is a sample of papers that we, as well as the seasteading community, have published for free on our website:

To read more about our plans for 2011, be sure to visit our strategy page.

Seasteading Business Pioneers: Introducing the Magellan Network

The Magellan Network is a network for individuals interested in active exploration and prototyping of business models related to novel legal environments on the ocean. It is an invitation-only group geared towards those who are best able to make progress towards this goal: investors, entrepreneurs, and accomplished business professionals.

The group will discuss and collaborate on questions concerning the financial, legal, and logistical feasibility of seasteading business models and related issues. Members can expect invitations to networking events, short but regular communications with The Seasteading Institute, and the opportunity to locate other Magellan Network members with whom they have common interests.

Seasteading is as yet unproven, but has great potential for entrepreneurs. The Magellan Network will be a key part of establishing a seasteading movement which is realistic and sustainable. For inquiries or to join this network, please send a statement of interest to .

Welcoming Our New Legal Strategist, Dario Mutabdzija

The Seasteading Institute is excited to welcome Dario Mutabdzija as our new Director of Legal Strategy! Dario will lead our efforts to navigate the highly unique and challenging legal issues pertaining to seasteading. Expect to see a seasteading legal overview white paper from Dario in the first half of 2011, similar to our 2010 engineering overview.

Dario Mutabdzija was born in Sarajevo, and due to the wars connected with dissolution of Yugoslavia he had to immigrate with his family to the United States, where he received Master of Laws (LL.M) in Transnational Business Practice.

With Dario on board, The Seasteading Institute now has a complete leadership team in place for all of our core research areas: legal, engineering (George Petrie), and business (Max Marty). Expect strong progress in all of these areas in the coming months.

John Chisholm joins our Board of Directors

The Seasteading Institute is pleased to welcome John D. Chisholm to our Board of Directors. His strong innovative ideals make Mr. Chisholm a good fit with The Seasteading Institute’s vision of reforming government to improve human conditions. His business experience, leadership skills, and extensive network will all contribute towards making our vision a reality.

After receiving degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT and an MBA from Harvard Business School, Mr. Chisholm founded and served as CEO & Chairman of Decisive Technology, which 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. John also chairs the MIT Club of Northern California, 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.

We are excited to add Mr. Chisholm to our Board of Directors and for the opportunities his collaboration will provide us!

Announcing Our Business Plan Contest Winners

The Seasteading Institute recently held the Sink or Swim Business Contest in which over 40 contestants submitted original business plans designed specifically for seasteads. Hosted by HumanIPO and Premium Advice, the contest brought a wide range of entries that demonstrated the feasibility of seastead-based business.

The first prize of $5,000 went to Mike Doty and Travis Cannell for their Delishus Fishes business plan, which fleshed out the competitive advantages of fish farming on platforms in international waters.

Delishus Fishes will be a project to carry out contaminant free deep water seafood production using sustainable methods. It is committed to the improvement of taste and purity in seafood, providing excellent quality and nutritional value. The company will provide education, experience and research in the aquaculture field. This project will be Seastead based, supplying seafood for the national and international markets.

The other winning entries can be viewed here.

Visionary Non-Profits Converge at Breakthrough Philanthropy Event

On December 7, Patri Friedman and the Thiel Foundation teamed up to launch an invitation-only evening bringing together Silicon Valley’s top entrepreneurs and most visionary non-profits. The Breakthrough Philanthropy event was a huge success with over 250 attendees.

Patri Friedman gave the opening talk with Jim O’Neill of the Thiel Foundation and followed it with a a seasteading talk. The event garnered press from multiple news outlets, including MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, and Yahoo!

In the World

Seasteading and WikiLeaks – Pressuring governments towards better service

by Eric Jacobus

(HT to Patri Friedman and his recent related blog post)

The recent attempts by the US Government to prosecute Julian Assange over the WikiLeaks scandal have made for a cavalcade of attacks from both sides on how information can and should be governed. But what’s most fascinating to us is how the WikiLeaks debate illustrates how powerfully technology can enact change by altering incentives. After all, this is the strategy behind seasteading — using a new technology to compete with governments, thereby giving them an incentive to improve.

The latest news is that the former second-in-command of Wikileaks is planning to release Openleaks, which uses existing peer-to-peer technology to spread liability to multiple users. Apprehending thousands of disconnected peers who share liability is much more difficult than catching and prosecuting a single individual like Assange. Governments may have to change the laws that govern information dissemination, which makes a powerful statement about how governments react to technology. If we change technology, we can change how government works. Seasteading as a technology could do just this.

Interference from existing governments is often cited as a major risk to future seasteads. While this risk does need to be carefully managed and overcome by making friends with existing countries, what critics don’t often see is how the influence can flow the other way — how seasteads, as a technology, can incentivize change in governments, just as the technology of information dissemination will incentivize change in the coming years.

In conclusion, I’ll quote from Patri’s blog post:

But just as the development of ships fundamentally altered the movement of people goods around the world, the ability to create new physical land anywhere in the oceans (68% of the planet!) will fundamentally alter the governance industry. There will be many ways to change tactics to deal with push back, many options that did not previously exist, and that will almost certainly change the balance of power.

Technology changes incentives, incentives change the world.

Donor Profile: Dheeraj Jagadev

Our featured donor this quarter is Dheeraj Jagadev, a valued Jellyfish member of The Seasteading Institute since 2009. We spoke with Dheeraj about his personal background and his fascination with seasteading.

I was born in 1980 (October 28th to be precise) in India. However, I spent some time in UAE, mostly in Dubai, from 1986-1989. Although some of my formative years were spent in the state of Kerala, India, I moved to the US in 1996, in time to start sophomore year in college in Manassas, VA. I went on to get my US citizenship in 2004 and I consider Manassas my home in the US. Although I enjoyed the last job I held immensely (I worked for a non-profit that helps to remove landmines using K-9 units in warn-torn countries), I am going through a career change. If all goes according to plan, I should start med school in the fall of 2011.

Dheeraj’s belief in freedom was what drew him to becoming a paid member of The Seasteading Institute.

For me, seasteading is the ultimate expression of freedom. Given the technical challenges challenges to overcome, seasteading is best explained as a victory for human ingenuity and scientific progress over irrational thought and hyper-idealogical division.

The Seasteading Institute is thankful to members like Dheeraj who support our vision financially and strengthen our efforts. You can find out more about how you can make a difference by visiting our support page.

Call to Action

Help us find a Director of Development and earn a $2,500 referral bonus!

We’re setting our fundraising sights higher for 2011, which is why it’s crucial for us to hire a new full-time Director of Development at our office in Sunnyvale, CA. The Director of Development position will be instrumental in fueling our 2011 program. There is a $2,500 referral bonus for directing us to the candidate who stays for a minimum of three months.

Our new Director of Development will be responsible for the fundraising that fuels the organization, and by extension, the entire seasteading movement. This is essentially a sales position – finding potential donors including individuals, foundations, and corporations who resonate with our values and could benefit from a partnership, and selling them on the vision of seasteading and The Seasteading Institute. This person will be a member of the senior leadership team, working closely with the Executive Director and Board of Directors.

This is a paid, full-time position based in Sunnyvale, CA with benefits. More information may be found at the official job listing. Interested candidates should send a resume and a brief statement describing their interest in the role to .

Help us find a Legal Assistant

Our new Legal Assistant will help us change the world by making sure our legal team is as efficient and productive as possible. Job duties will involve assisting with drafting and writing of legal research papers, proposals, and general legal research. Specific responsibilities include: assisting the Director of Legal Strategy in his job duties and assisting with event management for the first-ever global seasteading summit on Law and Politics.

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This is a paid part-time position based in Sunnyvale, CA. We offer excellent work-life balance benefits, including part-time telecommuting. More information may be found at the official job listing. Interested candidates should send a resume and a brief statement describing their interest in the role to .

Quarterly Updates


  • The Reason Cruise embarks January 30th. Come join our staff and fellow seasteaders on the cruise that celebrates freedom. Talks from The Seasteading Institute will cover topics such as Patri’s “Case for Seasteading,” the legal and political relationships between seasteading and the cruise-ship industry, and business at sea. Other speakers include author Matt Ridley and Reason’s Nick Gellespie. Octopus, Dolphin, and Argonaut members who mention The Seasteading Institute also receive up to a $200.00 discount! Book now while there are still cabins available!
  • The Future of Free Cities Conference will be April 3 – 4 on the lovely island of Roátan, Honduras. This conference will gather those interested in free cities of all types – seasteads, charter cities, free zones, and other ways to increase competition in government. Dolphin and Argonaut members receive a 5% discount.
  • 2011 APEE Conference – There will be a competitive government panel on April 12th at The Association of Private Enterprise, with Brad Taylor presenting a paper on competitive governance (drawn from our current research paper), Patri Friedman presenting a paper on seasteading as a way to implement competitive governance, Arnold Kling presenting on virtual governance, and either Michael Strong or Kevin Lyons presenting their work on embedding private law into current legal systems.

Blog Posts


Community Links

The Seasteading Institute has a presence on most major social networking sites. These are used for announcements, discussion, and are a good way to find other seasteaders in your area.

Special Thanks

The Seasteading Institute wishes to thank its our donors and members for their continued support, and the seasteading community members who keep the seasteading vision alive. See you next time!


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