What do you do if you’re not happy with your country? Start your own!
Peter Thiel, one of the billionaire founders of PayPal, some times back, helped to fund Blueseed, a floating city in international waters, 12 miles off San Francisco. The community will be home to high tech start-ups where every citizen need not pay tax, needs no work visa, and can run a global business from the high seas – while connecting to the brains and connections of Silicon Valley. The ship, effectively, is under the rules of no nation, and can set its own rules of how everyone lives, works, plays and pays.
In 2008, Peter invested $500,000 in the Seasteading Institute, to begin paving the way for floating sovereign nations in international waters. The Institute, set up by Patrick Friedman (the son of famous economist Milton Friedman) has set the mission of enabling “the next generation of pioneers to peacefully test new ideas for government. The most successful can then inspire change in governments around the world.”
WHY SET UP A NEW COUNTRY?
What’s Peter’s motivation for helping to fund a new nation? As he says, “The reason the seasteading question’s been so interesting is that a lot of people do think that we can do much better as a society. And if you run the thought experiment, could we be doing things better in our society, people may disagree on the particulars, but an awful lot of people think things can be done dramatically better.”
He also compares rethinking nations to rethinking business: “The reason people start new companies is because there’s a need to have a certain amount of freedom to explore doing new things. That’s why you’d start a new business. There’s a question: If you can start a new business, why can you not start a new country?”
WHEN DOES THE FIRST ONE START?
A little while back, Blueseed announced its funding from Peter and a list of 133 entrepreneurs who have already registered their interest to be the first residents of the Blueseed floating community. Blueseed was started by Max Marty, the previous Director of Strategy at the Seasteading Institute, who knew a good idea when he saw one.
The attraction? For startups with a global online business, the work visas and hoops to jump through to live and work in the US simply don’t make sense anymore. Being in International waters, they can set their own rules, have companies registered in any country, including tax-free countries, and run their businesses from day one as truly international businesses (while still having physical access to the networks of Silicon Valley with boats and helicopters connecting with the US mainland daily).
WHAT WOULD YOU CREATE, IF YOU COULD START YOUR OWN NATION?
What would you create if you could create the ideal community with its own rules? If, like Max, you went out to gather registrations, how many would be attracted into your world?
With seasteading, the question is no longer a theoretical one. The intent of the advocates of these new nations is to ‘give people the freedom to choose the government they want instead of being stuck with the government they get’.
If you think you can do better, well its a big sea out there.
Though blueseed is on hold pending funding, the concept itself is amazing and it has inspired entrepreneurs all over the world to, in Steve Jobs’ words, ‘Think Different’.
WHAT’S STOPPING YOU TODAY?
If starting your own kingdom or living in a new utopia are not exactly top of your to-do list right now, here’s a final thought:
If, while many people are blaming their governments or local economies for their woes, a small group of entrepreneurs can come up with a plan as bold and audacious as this, where the problems of government simply go away… What apparent obstacle are you currently facing in your business which, with a simple shift in solution, will make your obstacles simply disappear?
It brings a whole new meaning to blue ocean strategy.