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Patri suggested that I try to write down my views on Seasteading as a sort of a "Single Family Seasteading Manifesto". I said I think my wiki home page and the links from there sum up my views. He said it could be good to have it in one place. So here goes.

  1. I think the combination of business model and engineering of the structure are the problems we should focus on at this point. These two are tied together, as the business model will put requirements on the structure design and a structure puts constraints on the business model. I think we should also think some about how things would evolve over time (what outsiders will do as well as what we could do) and if that could get to a new country.
  2. I think the easiest business model is families buying their own seasteads. Housing is an expense they have anyway. It may be they already own a home and could sell it for more than the cost of the seastead. The family may have income from telecommuting or have enough savings they don't need to work. There is already a niche of families that want to live on the ocean and travel around. If we can "beat a boat" is some significant way, we could get part of that niche or even grow the niche. If we assume this business model, then the only question is how to engineer the structure. Anything other than engineering of the structure is a distraction.
  3. A SFS avoids the problem of having to design a government at the start. They are just like some yachts floating around. A platform with 200+ people living together needs to have rules and people to enforce the rules from the start. If the rules are bad the venture could fail even though the engineering was good. Investment in a single family seastead that the family knows they can use is much less risky than an investment in a share of a floating city that might have real social problems. A SFS lets experimenting with governance come later.
  4. I think Low Cost Wave Tanks and natural waves can let amateurs test how models will react to waves with accuracy close enough to what professional engineers can do for now. Scale models are really good for testing ideas. All you need to do is slow down the video by the square root of the scaling factor. So for 1:25 scale models you want to slow the video down by 5.
  5. I think we should encourage amateurs to explore the design space. Probably the best way to do this is to have contests and prizes. Some day when we are ready to build a full scale structure we should have a real engineer work over the design to make sure it is strong enough and will last.
  6. I think a seastead design needs to "beat a boat" for some combination of price/living-area, safety, comfort, ease-of-use, and operating costs. They can sacrifice speed to win in other areas. If they don't beat a boat, then there is no reason for people to buy a seastead structure, a boat is better.
  7. I think it is easy to beat a boat in the single-family price range (say $1 million). Small blue-water boats are not that cheap, safe, stable, or roomy. Yet they are good enough that many families travel around the world in boats 50 feet long and 15 feet wide or less. I think in the cruise ship size range it is very hard to beat a boat. A single-family size seastead could also take 1/100th the funding. So I think we should first try to design single family seasteads.
  8. The single family seasteads can each have a flag of convenience till there are enough of them that you start getting stores and other things. Then some won't bother going to land any more. Then after some size people will want to form some joint security. And there will be need for a counsel to arbitrate problems. And it will be like a government.
  9. If you have a good migratory route you can avoid both winter storms and summer hurricanes (birds do a similar thing). This reduces the maximum wave you will have to deal with. This also lets you visit lots of interesting places to make life on the seastead more fun. Also lets you get supplies easily. Might stop in around 30 different places through the year. Would get to know some people in each place and where the good restaurants were.
  10. For slow movement, big efficient propellers take so little power that solar power will be sufficient for a SFS. It is very doubtful that a 200 person platform could get enough power from solar since the population density is so much higher.
  11. Migrating generally downwind should make movement easy. Using a kite and seaanchor to move you on the right path seems fun, at least as a backup propulsion. I think kites are progressing fast and that for a 5 to 10 year timeframe it is reasonable to plan on computer controlled kites at reasonable prices.
  12. Most of the stuff inside a seastead, sinks, water makers, showers, beds, fridge, solar panels, generators, etc. will just be stuff that regular boats or houses use and are easy to buy. Discussions of anything that you can just buy on or seems like a waste of time at this point. Only the structure is different from a boat or house, not the kitchen sink.
  13. This can start small. Maybe my family would kick it off. Then if it works we can get plenty of publicity in magazines and TV. Could probably do a reality TV show if we had a design that worked. So once the engineering is such that we beat a boat, the rest will follow. So the focus should be on exploring the engineering possibilities at this time, not publicity.
  14. It could also start with sort of 1:2 scale seasteads as floating villas a bit like houses on the water in Tahiti. Two people visiting for a week don't need nearly the space a family living fulltime would. If located a few miles offshore the maximum wave can be much lower than out in deep water. So a smaller seastead could work.
  15. I think 3 of the single family seastead designs I have would be more comfortable in large waves and be able to handle larger waves than ClubStead (WaterWalker, Tension Circle, BallHouse).
  16. It would be nice if single family seasteads could tile together, and I think WaterWalker could. But computers controlling the position is probably good enough to make a community. We can work out ways to go between two seasteads that are very near each other.
  17. I laugh when I see a new country plan with 10 steps where step 1 is "raise a billion dollars". I laugh 1/5th as much when I see a plan where step 1 is "raise $0.5 million" and step 2 is "raise $200 million". But deep down I am thinking, infinity divided by 5 is infinity. Things have not really improved. Funding single family seasteads is much more realistic. I have a fair shot at funding my own sometime in the next 10 years.
  18. I don't think there is a realistic business model that starts with a large structure and evolves into a new country. Large things are just too easy a target to mess with. For example, California might just say "no boats can go from California to that evil seastead structure because they are smuggling drugs" and cut off all your customers. I think the evolutionary path to "new country" for single family seasteads is more realistic. Homesteading on land was done a single family at a time, not in 200 person chunks.
  19. There are many families that would like to travel around on a boat for a year if they could afford it. If a seastead makes that more affordable it will have a market. Some people after trying it for a year will want to keep living on a seastead. We can also charter seasteads between any 2 islands in the migration route, so we can appeal to the less than year charter market as well. And staying around an island for a week or 2 charter is easy enough also. So SFS can compete with normal boat charter for customers. If we have beat a boat in some way, we should be able to get some customers.
  20. After you get enough people, life in the flotilla will be interesting enough that you won't need to keep dropping in on islands to make life interesting. With enough people staying far from land you can experiment with new types of governance.
  21. I think Patents don't really apply to ships passing through a country and that seasteaders should not worry about them and work on open source designs for seasteads. When work is done in secret the odds of wasting time on a dead end or reproducing something already done are much higher.
  22. I think oil platforms are always tied to the bottom and so seasteads are not like oil platforms. If you are tied to the bottom it is easy to not bob up and down. There are oil drilling boats that use dynamic positioning.
  23. I think most readers don't have enough feeling for big waves and should watch big wave videos from time to time.
  24. I like the idea of large wavebreaks protecting an area so that regular boat or even floating homes could be inside and not have to worry about waves. A wavebreak marks out a territory and provides a real service. Makes dynamic geography easy yet provides a town-like community. But I think this is also a larger thing needed more people for payoff and not the easiest/cheapest place to start. Probably a wavebreak stays far from land on a migratory path. So getting initial customers is harder than for a single-family-seastead. It might be that a wavebreak could work as a deep-sea gas-station and rest stop for small boats crossing the Atlantic, or some large place. A wavebreak seems to take much more money than a single-family-seastead and not have as easy a commercial start. But I do like them for the long run.
  25. I think that acceptable motion for a tourist seastead with short term visitors is much less than a seastead where people live on it long term. A couple days getting used to the motion is a big deal if someone is there for a week but no trouble if they are moving there for good.
  26. I think operating costs are a very important issue, maybe more important than capital costs. It would be fantastic if operating costs were comparable to property taxes. So maybe 1% of $1 mil or a $10,000/year operating costs. This is nice because it would work into a new seasteaders budget since they no longer have to pay property tax on the house they sold to buy the seastead.
  27. I think at the moment there are no seasteading experts, only amateurs. It may turn out that seasteads need plastic or concrete experts if we do a BallHouse, or aluminum truss experts if we do WaterWalker, or something else altogether. I think it is too early to hire a specialist. I would recommend an engineer with a broad background who was interested in learning more. A background including model testing in water would be good too. Even 1 day a week exploring ideas would be good. They should be willing and able to help educate TSI management as well as work on wiki pages and participate some in the forums. I think the engineering problem is the most important one, but that this is a new wide-open designs space that needs to be explored more before a specific design is chosen. I think any engineering work paid for by TSI should be done in a very public way, like on wiki. The odds of engineering work done in secret turning out to be a waste are just too high.
  28. I fully believe that dynamic geography, where people can move their house to associate with a governing system they agree with, will change the pressures on governments in a really good way. If a government starts to get too big, people can just leave. Should keep governments in check and help keep people free. So I am in full agreement with the main thesis of seasteading. I think this works better with single family seasteads where a family can move when they want, and not have to wait till 200 other families agree it is time to move.
  29. I think a family moving between islands can pick which ones treat visitors well, and start using "dynamic geography" from day 1. So one of the key motivations for seasteading can start working with a single family.
  30. I think if we get students working on seastead contests and our kids playing with our models, that even if we don't move onto seasteads we have increased the chance that the next generation does. If we made it so the next generation lived on seasteads, that would be much more success than anyone else has had.
  31. I am annoyed when people think "single family seastead" means "do it yourself", "home built", "grow your own food", "shoestring budget", etc. In retaliation at the "floating city seastead" types I think we should call theirs "unaffordable seasteads". I expect that a SFS is around $1 million (2008 dollars) and professionally built. But I expect them to have more room and be more stable than a $4 million yacht, though much slower. The idea is that after someone has paid off their house mortgage they could sell it and buy a seastead.
  32. I think that a kit for a SFS similar to my floating villa idea could be designed to fit in a container or two. So they could be easily sold and shipped to people all over the world. With an agent or two from the company supervising, the customer's crew could put it together and launch it in a few weeks.