Awareness & Community
At the Seasteading 2009 Conference, we were excited to unveil our new medium-term strategy, which we've dubbed The Poseidon Project. By 2015, TSI will create an independent seasteading community as the seed for the world's first ocean city-state.
This "SeedStead" will:
Have at least 50 full-time residents.
Be economically self-sufficient.
Be technologically sound and safe.
Be politically independent (either per UNCLOS or via contract with a host country).
Be scalable to a city of at least 20,000 (technologically, economically, and politically).
We believe this goal is small enough to be achievable, yet large enough to significantly advance seasteading.
You'll notice that we've restructured much of our newsletter around the Poseidon Project. That section, below, describes the strategies, projects, milestones, and costs required to achieve this major advancement towards opening the oceans as the next frontier for humanity.
We had a fabulous time at the Seasteading 2009 Conference, and from the feedback we've received, our attendees did too! All of our survey respondents rated the conference a 4 or a 5 (on a scale of 1-5), and over 96% of attendees reported that they felt the conference was a fair or good value for the price. We're extremely happy to hear that people felt the conference was worth their time -- it certainly was for us.
We had over 80 attendees, almost double last year's group, and a lot of compelling talks, which we'll be posting videos of in the coming weeks. Other great experiences that weren't captured on video included a wonderful opening reception (graciously hosted by Peter Thiel), an open board meeting for TSI members to discuss strategy with our Board of Directors, and the exclusive members' dinner cruise on the San Francisco Bay. Most importantly, though, it was a unique and unparalleled chance to connect with like-minded seasteaders from all over the world.
Based on feedback from attendees, we plan to hold next year's conference on a weekend so that more people can attend. We're looking forward to sharing more videos and stories, and have already begun planning next year's event!
Over the next few weeks, we'll be putting some of the conference talks online at our Vimeo page. Peter Thiel's keynote speech is now available for viewing.
Ephemerisle succeeded even more than we'd hoped.
We set out to create a floating festival of community and art that could give people a taste of life on the water -- life with more possibility, more freedom, than we have now. But more than that, we wanted to create an event with a vision and a purpose, something that could grow not just in size or spectacle, but in substance, creating more and more momentum each year for the cause of true freedom.
For Ephemerisle, our great dream is that one or more Ephemerisles (who says there has to be just one?) will gradually move out into international waters, evolving into a new society living permanently on the ocean. This audacious vision is a great many years away, and the challenges are obviously daunting. But although we are committed to this vision, our first Ephemerisle also showed us that the Ephemerisle journey will be a productive one regardless of whether this vision is met. In coming together, we all learned more about life on the water (even when it is just four feet deep!)... the inherent challenges, how to solve them, and the wonderful sense of community we create when doing so together.
Most importantly, we heard of a great deal of inspiration, of increased optimism in the seasteading vision, and of more and more people who want to help explore or contribute to the seasteading dream with us, at future Ephemerisles or elsewhere.
You can find a great deal of Ephemerisle coverage (photos, videos, and blog posts) from attendees here.
We expect next year's event to be significantly longer, with 2 "early arrival" days for people to come set up, and the 3 days for the festival itself. More info to follow soon.
We are hiring an Oceanography Intern to immediately begin work on the Poseidon Project, helping us research promising locations to place to first SeedStead ($500 referral bonus).
We also have a new job opening for a Development Manager, who will lead TSI's community initiatives, press relations, and some aspects of fundraising ($500 referral bonus).
We see three main areas as the foundation for SeedStead:
In the sections below, we'll talk more about our approach in each of these areas, plus our approach to fundraising. Future newsletters will provide status updates in each area.
The "Platform" track is the physical and legal foundation for the project, including the location, engineering design, legal research, and diplomacy.
The major engineering areas include the conceptual design work (finding a structure design that fits our requirements), applying that design concept to design and build a BayStead (and move TSI's offices onto it), and applying the concept to a complete, validated design for a SeedStead. The other areas of research include oceanography (determining locations that are physically well-suited), legal (determining locations that are legally well-suited), and (depending on location) diplomacy (in case we try negotiate a contract with a host country to settle in their EEZ).
To be economically successful, there needs to be demand for our commercial real estate and jobs for people who live on SeedStead.
We'll help facilitate this through founding and advising businesses of the relevant types (ocean resources and jurisdictional arbitrage), as well as developing a network of entrepreneurs and businesses that are potential customers. Additionally, we need to think of SeedStead itself as a business, and develop its business plan so that it can be funded and operated profitably.
SeedStead needs pioneers, and we will recruit these using our community & awareness channels and some type of contingent contract or survey (people express willingness to move contingent on certain amenities, timeframe, cost, etc.) In addition, we will operate test communities like a residential ship, outpost on the target location, and successively larger ephemerisles. Finally, this includes determining the governance structure in conjunction with the residents.
We are still determining our budget, but our very preliminary estimates for Poseidon are $20M over the 6 years. Roughly half of this is the Platform area, mainly the engineering work necessary to design SeedStead & BayStead, and build BayStead. (Note that it does not include building SeedStead, which should be funded separately based on the business case for it).
The $20M total also breaks down roughly 50/50 into general advances for seasteading and specific expenses associated with the initial venture of SeedStead. We will continue fleshing out the details during the remainder of the year and begin fundraising at the beginning of 2010.
With advice from community member Terry Floyd, we're doing a poll on whether to hold a seasteading conference on a cruise ship.
Ephemerisle brought lots of press attention to TSI from some major online publications!
Selected blog posts from September and October are linked below.
The first draft of the new book is currently at 74 pages. Patri has started copying the appropriate material from the old book. He had some writing time this month (finally), and is planning to put a fair amount of time in over the next couple months. As a reminder, you can suggest and vote on key sections for the new version of the book, which will be less technical and for a wider audience.
Thanks for reading; see you next month!