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Nearly 150 Companies Show Interest in the Tech Love Boat 332

New submitter dandv writes with a story from VentureBeat about another entry in the race to escape national jurisdiction by offshoring work — literally offshoring, that is : "Blueseed is a Silicon Valley company that plans on launching a cruise ship 30 minutes from the coast of California, housing startup entrepreneurs from around the world. These startuppers won't need to bother with U.S. visas, because the ship will be in international waters. They'll have to pay tax to whatever country they're incorporated in, though. So far, 146 startups said they'd like to come to the ship."
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Nearly 150 Companies Show Interest in the Tech Love Boat

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  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @09:32AM (#39926729) Homepage Journal

    You can remotely access and program pretty much any system you'd ever work on in an offshoring relationshing. Your physical location has little or nothing to do with the ability to provide the contracted services.

    While there is demand for at least some of the offshore service provider's staff to be working on-site with the customer companies, you wouldn't be able to do that with this ship. You still wouldn't have a visa, so you still wouldn't be allowed to "land" from the ship for such meetings.

    In order to be in international waters, the ship would be what, 200 miles out from shore? That's a pretty long ride for any landbound customers to take in order to come meet with you on the ship. Customers don't tend to meet at provider sites; they expect the provider to come to them.

    That being the case, what is the actual purpose served by working on this ship?

    Or is this like the old Sealand failure? A great idea in concept that has no practical purpose and few real backers?

    • by DeathToBill ( 601486 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @09:37AM (#39926801) Journal

      The advantage of these ventures is that they're outside national jurisdiction. The problem with these ventures is that they're outside national jurisdiction - and for almost every company out there, they benefit from the protection of a country's laws more than they suffer from them.

      Sealand failed because anyone who hosted data there was wide open to the whim of Roy Bates - and if you didn't like his whim, you had no recourse. This will be no different.

      A good article on Sealand: []

    • According to wikipedia, they found a loophole: The temporary, easily-obtained B-visa.
      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        How does that loophole protect them from my pirate ship?

        Or the tenants from the captain/landlord?

        • by jythie ( 914043 )
          They would be within US waters, so the Coast Guard would still protect them from pirates. The landlord/tenant problem is a big one though since they would need their own police and court system... and we have all seen how well private courts work.
          • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

            So they get the protection of these Oppressors(government provided defense forces) that our taxes pay for without them paying a dime?

            How typical.

            • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @11:24AM (#39928433)
              Yep. That is the idea. Reap the benefits they want directly want, get the advantages of benefits that effect them indirectly (like the education system), but not have to pay for any of it and claim with a strait face that they are dong the capitalist thing of paying only for services they use.
              • You know, the real disadvantages of having the oppressive, income taxing government are much greater than the perceived advantage of having an 'educated' population. The so called education system is in a huge bubble in USA, people are getting gov't guaranteed loans - basically free money, because whatever they don't pay out in 15 years is forgiven, and the maximum amount anybody is going to have to pay monthly is only on top of 2 minimum poverty levels, and then it's only a 10% of that so called 'discretio

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @09:46AM (#39926895) Journal
      It seems particularly odd when one considers the fact that you don't need to spend months on a boat 200 miles off California to enjoy the privilege of booking a slightly-eyebrow-raising percentage of your profits through an anodyne corporate PO box in some sunny tax haven. You can do that from the comfort of your own home.

      Is there a large market of non-US-citizens who can't secure visas(or who find longterm shipboard stays more comfortable than flying out for a meeting?) but desperately crave physical proximity to silicon valley, possibly along with an internet connection to it that is far suckier than a hardline from virtually anywhere in the not-actively-fighting-a-brutal-meatgrinder-bush-war world?

      I understand the appeal of tax dodges; but I don't understand what this boat concept brings to the game.
      • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:59AM (#39928027)
        Realisticly it doesn't actually bring much, but it draws on a rather heavy Ayn Rand mythology that they are hoping to capitalize on. The theory is supposed to be that if you take away all those pesky regulations then 'real entrepreneurs '.. some kind of the 'the best rise in power when not being kept down by other people in power, except each other since that is dog eat dog, but because people who already have power are bad we need to stop them, but not new power which should be unchecked'. So beyond just taxes and visas they can suspend things like workers rights, wages, etc... so all those pesky things like stopping child labor, taking sexual advantage of your subordinates, firing injured people, making them work 140 hour weeks but still in debt to the company store, all those things are perfectly legal again... and part of the mythology is whitewashing how badly those went the first time around.

        Oh, and of course the ship will probably have its own company store.. so everyone there will have to pay whatever prices the Blueseed charges for things like food, power, internet access, etc.

        Which is why sane companies will probably stay away, but gullible startups who have read more fiction then done research might find the place appealing.
        • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @11:25AM (#39928463)

          That's one of the problems with libertarian dreamers. They crave a dog-eat-dog world, but they all think THEY'RE going to be one of the top dogs. They watch Firefly and think they're going to be Malcolm Reynolds. It never occurs to them that the vast, vast, vast majority of citizens in a truly libertarian system would basically be dirt-poor slaves to a handful of top dogs, and the odds of you being one of those top dogs (unless you're *already* very wealthy and powerful) is slim to none.

          • by jythie ( 914043 )
            *nods* it dovetails into the idea that somehow the people who do have power do not deserve it or got it illegitimately. Though it also depends heavily on the idea that states and companies are fundamentally different and that unless one has a police force then they can not exert control of other people's lives... thus they do not see the power of non-government entities as 'real'... thus anyone who is a 'dirty poor slave' is simply lazy or immoral since nothing is stopping them from being rich.
          • Wrong. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @12:14PM (#39929149)

            That's one of the problems with libertarian dreamers. They crave a dog-eat-dog world, but they all think THEY'RE going to be one of the top dogs.

            Wrong. In a truly dog-eat-dog world, any dog that gets too far ahead gets eaten by the pack...

            Libertarians have no desire for power. They just want to see limited power OVER THEM. You seeing it as a quest for power over others is more revelatory to your own subconscious desires and/or fears than that of Libertarians.

            Basically, you apparently can't handle a world where you are not on a leash...

            • Re:Wrong. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @12:26PM (#39929347)

              Wrong. In a truly dog-eat-dog world, any dog that gets too far ahead gets eaten by the pack.

              Yeah, except it has never once worked out that way in reality. In lawless regions or other areas where the government is weak, what inevitably happens is that you end up with a handful of powerful warlords who basically terrorize and dominate the populace. They build up their own private armies to not only protect themselves from the "pack" but to do whatever the fuck else they want too, including showing up at your home periodically to take anything they want and rape your wife. Life is great if you happen to be one of those warlords (or one of their family or close friends). Life is complete shit if you're anyone else.

              And you're not escaping the leash. You're just trading in the democratic government leash for the much tighter and shorter leash that the rich and powerful will have you on in your libertarian paradise.

    • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @09:54AM (#39926997)

      In order to be in international waters, the ship would be what, 200 miles out from shore?

      I've looked into cruising and the myriad of laws. First of all you just described the EEZ limit which controls "traditional money making activities and environmental laws" but expressly does not include loitering. So its a fuzzy zone. The coast guard can order you to not discharge your blackwater tanks, cannot tell you not to just sit/anchor there, can tell you not to fish there, and running an office is somewhat vague.

      The contiguous zone is 24 miles and you must follow customs laws presumably including visas. This is a recent "American Empire" turn of the century thing and the whole world used to (still does?) respect only 12 miles. In the REALLY olden days before the previous turn of the century it was defined as a cannon shots length, or so I'm told, like a mile or two.

      This is very important to cruisers... more than 200 miles away you can technically tell all authorities other than your flag nation to F-off, but you need to stay at least 24 miles away or else have to go thru customs, and in that range from 24 to 200 miles you sorta have to listen to them. Customs is not necessarily the end of the world, but its nice to not even have to think about it. For example, say you were sailing from California to Alaska, it would be extremely advisable to stay at least 24 miles away from the Canadian shore.

      Disclaimer, I've done hundreds of hours of sailing on little craft, mostly inland, but never across an ocean.

      30 miles in a 150 knot helicopter for the VCs to visit you is what, 12 minutes of flight? I'm not seeing this as a serious issue. Also I can see a pleasure cruise on a well appointed yacht when making visits rather than flying, if they're in the mood for some fun.

      • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @11:42AM (#39928705) Homepage

        This is very important to cruisers... more than 200 miles away you can technically tell all authorities other than your flag nation to F-off

        This is mostly true, and can bite them in the butt.
        If they intend to operate out of US ports, and provide anything that even looks remotely like passenger service (I.E. hosting staff for their clients) then they can't exit and re-enter the United States without visiting a "distant foreign port". Back in the day when there was tons of coastwise passenger transport, this protected US firms from foreign competition. Today it mostly means that Alaska cruises have to port at Victoria and Maratimes/East Coast cruises usually in Halifax. For Blueseed this is going to mean visiting Mexico between port visits to the US. (And they *will* either have to visit the US or sail across the Pacific Ocean for servicing - a ship can't stay at sea forever.)
        Also, pretty much every nation subscribes to SOLAS and even the flag-of-convenience nations have safety requirements. Not to mention, that if they ever port, they'll be subject to safety inspections by the Coast Guard of the nation they're porting in. These are non-trivial to comply with and are deadly serious - the can be at a minimum refused entry, or at worst impounded for failing to comply. On top of these inspections, if they hope to carry insurance, the ship will have to regularly be inspected and certified on a regular basis by a legitimate classification society...
        These "tech Love Boat" companies all sound to me to have based their plans on urban legends about how the law of the sea and related conventions work, and not on any real world legal and business research.

    • In order to be in international waters, the ship would be what, 200 miles out from shore?

      They said 30 minutes, so they are probably talking about the 12 nautical mile territorial boundary. A cruise ship can probably do 24 knots if it really is going all-out, so while this is a bit of a stretch it is technically correct.

    • []
      Territorial waters, or a territorial sea, as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,[1] is a belt of coastal waters extending at most 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) from the baseline (usually the mean low-water mark) of a coastal state. The territorial sea is regarded as the sovereign territory of the state, although foreign ships (both military and civilian) are allowed innocent passage through it; this sovereignty also extends t

    • by jythie ( 914043 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:50AM (#39927885)
      Well, their plan is they will not be in international waters so the commute is pretty short. Instead they will fly the flag of some minor country and anchor within US waters, which is a legal grey area that in theory should leave them outside US/CA regulation/taxation yet still be able to commute in for meetings.

      But as others have pointed out it has many of the same problems as Sealand did. It is a nice concept in theory and in fiction, but in reality such plans have significant issues and, for their customers, end up with the same basic issues that basing out of a major country has with the added problem of not having a robust legal system. If nothing else, one of their big claims is that they avoid the 'immigration' problem.. by implementing their own immigration system. So you still have to go through an immigration process, just an easier to bribe one.

      I am skeptical that many of these startups are expressing real 'I would pay' interest or have really thought about the full legal ramifications of such a setup. Blueseed really seems to be more of a scam to get investor money then anything else.
      • Check out the laws section of their FAQ... Laws []. So, there will be American Common Law in place. They aren't claiming to be their own country. Actually, it looks like they are primarily saying "We're Googleplex on water. It's cool!". Whether or not that's enough incentive to actually move your living and working quarters there is another matter. It also appears to me that International laws will apply so folks hoping to run illicit activities from there may still find themselves in hot water. I don't think
    • by s73v3r ( 963317 )

      You can remotely access and program pretty much any system you'd ever work on in an offshoring relationshing. Your physical location has little or nothing to do with the ability to provide the contracted services.

      Yes, but physical location does have a good amount to do with your ability to meet with investors. And there are still some customers who don't like the idea of someone all the way around the world providing their services.

    • The exclusive economic zone is 200 miles, but International Waters is only 12 miles out.

      The residents can get a business visa to come onshore for business meetings, they just can't perform any actual work in the United States.

      It's true that the residents must abide by the whims of the owners, but the owners in this case are businessmen who want to create a good space for business in order to stay in business. That's a lot different from relying on the goodwill of a single eccentric individual.

  • ... and I'm here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?

    'No!' says the man in Washington, 'It belongs to the poor.'

    'No!' says the man in the Vatican, 'It belongs to God.'

    'No!' says the man in Moscow, 'It belongs to everyone.'

    I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose...


    • Incidentally, while a good setting for a shooter, an underwater city seems like the least libertarian-friendly habitat one could imagine, at least within earth's gravity well:

      Centralized access control, collective dependence on immediately life-critical infrastructure...
      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        Name one place without "collective dependence on immediately life-critical infrastructure". Unless you are your own doctor, road builder, mechanic, own your own fields to grow food, have a well for water, and a lab to produce medicines that is the reality of modern life.

      • Designing an underwater city collectively dependant on a centralized, life-critical infrastructure is completely stupid. You would need to have multiple independent systems in case of failure.
    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:00AM (#39927079)

      Nice reference, great game, but here in reality the man did not toil alone. He was not able to produce without the poor being kept away from his warehouse at night, he was not able to risk only his investment by nature but by laws governing incorporation, nor was he able to get it to market without roads. I love how those who have never done a day of physical labor like to talk about sweat, blood and tears though.

  • satellite broadband will suck for some thing like this. Maybe fixed wifi / RF but even then that is still not as fast.

    • It might not be as intensive as you'd expect. This isn't a datacenter, like the failed sealand. It's basically just an office that floats. They'll just have their own servers. All their internet connection is for would be communicating with customers to get specifications and deliver finished data.
    • satellite broadband will suck for some thing like this. Maybe fixed wifi / RF but even then that is still not as fast.

      It'll be the ultimate echo chamber.

  • by bstarrfield ( 761726 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @09:37AM (#39926795)

    None. The "Tech Love Boat" exists solely as a tax and immigration dodge, and its founders are proud of it. May real pirates raid this libertarian haven; may real storms smash its bow. Let me hazard a guess that they'll incorporate in Antigua, and pay no taxes, and that they'll import slave labor from India to work in the bowels of the ship.

    Blueseed wants the benefits of proximity with Silicon Valley, and none of the costs. Why should we give a damn about them?

    I'd also like to know who these "entrepreneurs" are. Let them live in their cabins and bar them from the shore. They don't want to pay for civilization, due to their brilliant and stunning gifts. They choose to leave civilization to live in their Brave New Race to the Bottom, _stay there_.

    When a crime occurs on the "Love Boat", who will settle that crime? Blueseed? So they'll be a government, too. Hmm, maybe an invasion sounds good..

    • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @09:41AM (#39926845)
      All these Randians will expect the US Government to rescue them when their ship goes tits up. Perhaps the best answer is for the US Coastguard to quote them to provide emergency services - 35% of turnover?
    • It will be interesting to see what the ship will do when it has to dock for maintenance. Or are we going to end up with "The Raft" from Snow Crash?
      • Or are we going to end up with "The Raft" from Snow Crash?

        Oh boy, I hope so. I think Stephenson's is my favorite future-dystopian society.

    • Will they be able to get away with doing software piracy with NO BSA to get in there way?

      company store store like times where you in debt paying for high priced fees at the work site.

      24/7 working hours with a big trip home fee if you can't keep up?

      very low min wage.


    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:03AM (#39927123)

      That sounds like a really good response.

      If you're a nationalist.

      Seriously, it's not a tax dodge, though it is an immigration dodge. It's about startups being able to engage with the tech centre of the world without arbitrary red tape blocking them from doing it on the US mainland.

      I don't even understand how you can complain about both immigration and tax avoidance in the same post. If they were allowed to immigrate they would be able to pay tax, if they were allowed to pay tax they'd be able to immigrate. You can't bitch and moan about the two in one sentence, the fact they can't immigrate means they can't pay tax. Whining that people for not paying tax in your country whilst simultaneously implying you don't want them in your country is one of the most laughably irrational arguments I've heard on Slashdot in a while, and in recent months the standard hasn't exactly been particularly high.

      The fact that your country is horrendously paranoid, and massively afraid of immigration despite having a relatively tiny population density is why these sorts of far fetched schemes arise in the first place. Of course, none of that would be so bad if it weren't for the fact that your entire nation is built off the back of relatively recent mass immigration.

    • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      That was actually my first question : what defensive weapons did they take on-board ? Alternatively, they may negotiate with USA to get protection in exchange of concessions.

      There was a thing similar to this that existed once near Italian coasts. It survived for a few years before it was recognized as a mafia operation (I don't know if it started as one, if the mafia took control over it or if it was just an excuse) but the Italian's police (not army) took control of the platform.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You're probably thinking of the Republic of Rose Island [].

        There was also this illegal gambling operation off the coast of California []. That didn't end well. In fact, practically all these libertarian paradise offshore independent micronations [] haven't ended well. Either they never really became self-sufficient, the people who ran them turned out to be more dictator-like than anyone wanted to deal with, or they were only intended as a joke in the first place. Evidently starting your own micronation ("with bl

    • by chrb ( 1083577 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:38AM (#39927659)

      None. The "Tech Love Boat" exists solely as a tax and immigration dodge, and its founders are proud of it. May real pirates raid this libertarian haven

      Under international maritime law, all nations have a duty to combat piracy. "Piracy is of note in international law as it is commonly held to represent the earliest invocation of the concept of universal jurisdiction. The crime of piracy is considered a breach of jus cogens, a conventional peremptory international norm that states must uphold. Those committing thefts on the high seas, inhibiting trade, and endangering maritime communication are considered by sovereign states to be hostis humani generis (enemies of humanity)" Wikipedia []

      The bottom line is that it isn't in the interests of the United States to have pirates operating off the U.S. coast, even if they only target vessels of other nations.

      When a crime occurs on the "Love Boat", who will settle that crime?

      It is exactly the same legal situation as a crime on a cruise ship. The passengers are subject to the legal sysem of their flag nation, and of others that exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction. The U.S. Constitution gives the federal courts jurisdiction over maritime matters, so it is up to the courts to rule on which particular crimes are worthy of extraterritorial jurisdiction. See In international waters, are you beyond the reach of the law? []

  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @09:42AM (#39926855)

    Why is it that every Libertarian seems to think that they can skirt laws just by taking some boat out to international waters? As if the nearby country is going to be like "Damn, we know you committed the murder, but you were JUST over the line into international waters, so we're going to have to let you go!"

  • Living on a boat. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Plammox ( 717738 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @09:43AM (#39926863)
    According to sources near Blueseed, they plan to charter a regular ship, before raising capital for the barge they have concept drawings of. Question 1: Have they ever lived for a prolonged period on board a ship? Not all cabins are presidential suite standards. I suspect cramped compartments with no port holes and the persisting smell of fuel oil will get the better of the inhabitants' productivity. Question 2: Who will enforce (what?) law and order, when a couple of Aussies start to binge drink, plank on the railing and pick a fight with some English, after which they insult a bunch of more conservative-minded Indian IT-workers, causing all hell to break loose. And who says the US of A will tolerate a floating tax haven right off the coast of silicon valley?

    Nah. Most of all, this just looks like a anarcho-libertarian's wet dream.
    • There will inevitably be that One Guy who wants to bring his gun collection and may [deity] help the people in the cabins next to him because they will never know a peaceful sleep again.

  • by lkcl ( 517947 )

    i had an idea similar to this, a few years ago - not a single boat but a massive platform, housing and providing the resources for people to carry out public-domain scientific research. if the platform were large enough it would be stable even during large storms. it's therefore very very interesting to hear that someone's actually really going ahead with a small-scale software-based version of that idea.

    the only problem that i can forsee however is piracy! not of the software, but *real* piracy. in thi

    • by MrMickS ( 568778 )

      It will be afforded the normal protection due to the ships of the flag carrying nation. It doesn't suddenly become the wild uncontrolled seas once you head out into international waters. I wouldn't be surprised if there are reciprocal aggrements in place that would give say Marshall Islands registered ships some protection from the US Coastguard even though they are in international waters.

  • It's a great idea, totally worth it if it works out, very good.

    It just shows to what extent the governments of the world have pushed the people that they are willing to spend time and money into this, leaving their borders, living uncomfortably on a boat (don't tell me it's very comfortable on a boat, you can't escape the walls, it's going to be tight, it's not a nice living, and obviously it's going to be a sausage-fest).

    The entrepreneurial spirit lives on beyond and outside of the thieving governments and

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      > living uncomfortably on a boat

      There are already ship rats that live on cruise liners because it's cheaper than other alternatives like a nursing home. There are also long term cruises that the lines don't seem to have any trouble selling either.

      Compared to living in some overpopulated urban center (NYC,SFO,London,Mumbai,Tokyo) it might not be so bad really.

      • People have already done this many times. Every migration has its difficulties and down-sides.

        USA was populated with white and other people hundreds of years ago because those people wanted to leave their oppressive governments.

        At the time those other governments also wanted to dominate the people who moved onto these new territories, so it's nothing new that the more entrepreneurial folks want to move away and something outside of the boundaries of their respective decadent nations, it's just that there i

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Without the government to ensure contract law, nor protect from pirates this will fail. Your fevered dreams are just that. This is only for the wealthiest few. Without those regulations you hate we would have the age of hundreds of years ago. Rocketing forward economy while those who provide the actual labor are barely above starving to death. Sure the economy will do great, do bad that does not reflect the life of the average man in anyway.

      Just remember you will more likely be one who toils for not much mo

      • Oh yeah? Like the America failed when it fought against the King? Sure, USA is a continent, not a ship, but we don't have more free continents to occupy around. This will have to do for now, until the technology invented on that ship and other ships like it will allow building bigger ships, islands, underwater cities, who knows.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          What does that have to do with anything? The USA had a war for independence. We call it a revolution when it really wasn't. Not much changed for the common man. Check out who could vote in those first elections. Things did improve over time, but the English also have those same conditions now, and they still have a Queen.

          • The USA had a war for independence.

            - the point exactly.

            Not much changed for the common man

            - bullshit. The freest country was formed, under the Constitution. It's not free anymore, but it built the wealthiest creditor nation, producing cheap, high quality goods. 1870-1913 was the time when the actual middle class was created on this planet - small, medium sized businessmen and professionals.

            The rising tide lifted all boats. You are so eager to denounce people who are looking for more freedoms today, you have completely forgotten why people were escaping from their perspectiv

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      So in this magical place there are not going to be any disputes between parties? There will be no crime? There will be no external threats?

      There will be no restrictions on who or how many can come on board?

      There will be no heath or safety rules?

      Seems to me if you have any of those (and many more) problems (and you certainly will) you are going to need a way to resolve them. All you will be doing is creating your own government (something you apparently abhor).

      Face it, this is not some escape from some

      • not going to be any disputes between parties?

        - straw man.

        There will be no crime?

        - straw man.

        There will be no external threats?

        - straw man.

        There will be no restrictions on who or how many can come on board?

        - obviously you didn't understand what was written - you pay to get onboard.

        There will be no heath or safety rules?

        - who gives a rats ass?

        Do you know what would have happened if any of this nonsense was present during the days Amercan settlers took off to go West?

        Taxes, health inspections, licenses, regulations?

        USA would never have become anything if gov't in its current form was present then. It would have been catastrophically impossible to do.

        Seems to me if you have any of those (and many more) problems

        - it's nonsense, those are not problem, they are only probl

  • VC Vipers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tungstencoil ( 1016227 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @09:54AM (#39926999)
    Am I the only one who read this as "VCs will found a way to get cheap offshore talent under their collective wings by purchasing a cruise ship on which to enslave, err, house their startup 'incubators'"?
  • I would only get on a boat like this with people I trust. With a start up there is too much risk that the managers are terrible people. The motivations of a start up are not good either. For a startup it is all about cutting costs. Now if an Google rented the whole boat out to work on a specific project that would be different. Then the motivations would be focus and ease of access to people. I would also prefer the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific ocean. Seems like there would be more to do in the Gulf on weekends.
  • Sweatship (Score:5, Funny)

    by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @09:56AM (#39927035)


  • Late 80's: there were a lot of skilled trades and professional labor in the US. Cars, Steel, Mass production, Agriculture, skilled trades, software development, science, NASA, everything was going pretty well compared to today.

    mid 90's: NAFTA [] took root. Companies began leaving in droves to offshore labor to the far east and Mexico. Many companies who wanted to keep the labor at home, had no choice but to follow the leader because they couldn't compete with such cheap labor.

    Late 90's Early 00's: software d

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      No manufacturing output? We do about 18% of the worlds total. That is some odd definition you have of none to speak of. We make expensive stuff, we let the chinese make cheap shit.

      The industry always wants more labor, too much supply lowers prices. Why would they not want that?

      • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:46AM (#39927795)

        Exactly. The grandparent is complete bullshit and should be modded down.

        The US is the world's largest manufacturing nation in terms of economic output. People seem to forget giant companies like Intel, Caterpillar, Boeing, Cisco, ADM etc. not to mention the pharmaceuticals and the farming industry which are world leading. Not only that but the US does it with a mere 8% of its workforce. The economic output of the average US worker is more than 10 times that of his Chinese equivalent because he's more technically skilled and produces far more valuable products in a highly automated setting.

        The Boeing main aircraft assembly building in the Seattle area is the largest manufacturing facility in the world. []

        It was Boeing who discovered the Y2K problem because they are such a large consumer of aluminum they have to project consumption of aluminum a decade in advance so the aluminum industry can scale their capacity to match their consumption.

        I don't know where people get the idea the US isn't competitive in manufacturing. It is a huge force on a global scale in manufacturing, and factors like low energy costs because of the vast natural gas reserves being developed are likely to keep it that way. Anyone writing that the US has no manufacturing capability is full of bullshit. [] []

    • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:24AM (#39927411)

      Actually we still have the largest manufacturing sector in the entire world by quite a bit.
      We have completely and almost totally destroyed our consumer products manufacturing, true. The only thing I've bought in 20 years made in the USA is/was some plastic trash cans and oddly enough a gasket-less aluminum pressure cooker made in Wisconsin.

      The whole world depends on the USA either exclusively or as a majority provider for aerospace, mining equipment, heavy stuff like that. To a much lesser extent we still make cranes too. And chemical process equipment although like cranes we're trying to give that away to China as fast as we can. You can almost draw a graph of "unit weight" on the x-axis and percent imported on the y-axis and you'll see damn near a straight line where we import 99% of our kitchenware but we manufacture 99% of the world's production of 100 kiloton and up mining dragline equipment (you know, the things that strip entire mountaintops off?) and practically all mining trucks larger than 100 tons.

    • You speak of the 80s as if you had not lived in them. In the 80s, people were worried that Japan was taking all our manufacturing. Now people who need a reason to worry speak of China the same way.

      btw NAFTA had nothing to do with the far east. By the late 90s, most low-wage assembly lines in the US were filled with Mexicans anyway, so we had the choice to keep importing immigrants or sending the factories to where they were. Whether you hate immigration or labor more of course will affect your opinion of
  • As long as the companies have shared resources: the boat, food, security, IT, etc. - they will be paying some form of taxes even if the boat owners call them fees.
  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @10:17AM (#39927307)

    Let me summarize an entire articles worth of weird and ignorant /.er opinions:

    1) this is the first boat that is not US flagged to ever sail either in or nearby the USA, and if it docks for repairs it'll be the first time a foreign vessel has ever entered a US port, so no one will have any idea what to do.

    2) there exists a single line in the sandy sea bottom, on one side its complete and total utter US control and the other side is all pirates.

    3) magically, because this platform has servers instead of oil drilling equipment, decades of regulation and case law from the oil biz could not possibly apply to this biz, just because it makes for a nice sounding argument.

    4) no one has ever lived on a boat for an extended length of time, nor is it even theoretically possible, much less comfortable.

    5) the relationship must be binary, either a ship and its flag nation must be US lapdogs and hard core statists, or it must be a libertarian paradise, and only one of those possibilities is unrealistic therefore it Must be the other far extreme possibility (laughably goes for both sides arguments)

    6) Foreigners and foreign sailors have never been present on a ship entering a us port, so no one will have any idea what to do.

    7) Closely tied to #5, There are only binary governments, the hard core statist fascist western govts like the us and our european lapdogs, and pure capitalist anarchy, therefore since its probably going to be flagged out of panama or something, and panama isn't quite the usa, therefore slavery and polygamy will rule the ship. Uh, no. I don't think very many flag nations allow that on their ships. As a wild guess, I've been on cruise ships that are panama registered, if this tub's panama registered it'll be about as wild as a cruise ship... probably a nude tanning deck, a casino to gamble in, no secret police checking to see if couples in bed together are married (to each other) and are of the correct gender, and generally anyone looking "old enough" gets to drink alcohol and smoke tobacco although technically you have to be 18 in Panama (I think). That's probably about as wild as Panama is going to let it get.

    8) A crime has never before happened on board a ship, therefore no one will have any idea how to handle a criminal activity if one happens.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      1. Not at all, nice stawman. The issue are if it is armed, or expects US navy protection without paying for it.

      2. No there any many lines, and not that many pirates in that area. This might attract some.

      3. Oil rigs are not generally trying to avoid the US government immigration laws like this.

      4. It sucks, but people do it.

      5. It will surely not be the latter.

      6. your own stupid stawman

      7. The Western governments are not fascist. You should learn a little more before speaking on that topic. The USA has nude bea

      • I don't think vlm was espousing the list as his opinion, he was just summarizing.
        Reality is going to work like this (assuming the boat ever leaves port):
        At some point the ship needs to come into port for maintenance, repairs, you name it. DHS and Customs decides on a "Health and Welfare" inspection of a ship entering a US controlled port. At that point the cramped conditions, poor maintenance, foul sanitation, etc etc etc will be found out and the ship will not be allowed to leave port until it cleans u
    • Welcome aboard!

  • If governments don't get their cut I could see laws being passed with a 1000% tariff on these organizations.
  • The same companies can set up in Anguilla, be outside the US, have no corporate tax, have real tax treaties and IP treaties, and go to the beach after lunch. Fiber to the US, low latency connections, stable economic situation and no need to rely on the boat owner to keep the thing afloat.
    Handled properly, they would have much less hassle.

    • by jjo ( 62046 )
      The problem with Anguilla, BWI is that it is situated in the Caribbean Sea, and stubbornly refuses to budge from that location. Blueseed is for people who place a high value on physical proximity to and face-to-face interaction with people in Silicon Valley, but for whom a location in the US doesn't work. These people may be wrong, but it's at least a plausible idea.
  • Crime will happen. Even just low level stuff, like stealing someones wallet. Sorry for all you pie in the sky people, but it will happen. How would rules be enforced? Who? Some onboard constabulary? By what authority? Company rules?
    What happens when there are more serious crimes? Rape, assault, etc. Walk the plank? Or just send them home, unpunished?

    What do you do when the security forces go bad?
  • What Blueseed is proposing to do is create a new sliver of foreign territory (probably Bahamian or Marshallese) 12 miles outside Silicon Valley. Locating a new business there is no more a tax or immigration dodge than setting up across the Canadian or Mexican border would be. Even though some people might like it otherwise, US tax and immigration law applies only to US territory and US citizens and residents.

    The US VC's funding the startups will pay US taxes. US citizens working onboard will pay US tax

Syntactic sugar causes cancer of the semicolon. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982