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A Floating Home For Tech Start-ups

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the arrr-me-hearties dept.

Businesses 332

JoeMerchant writes "Max Marty, founder of Blueseed, thinks immigration laws in the U.S. make it too difficult for entrepreneurs from other countries to come to the U.S. and develop new technologies. In order to solve this, he's trying to buy a large ship he can anchor off the coast of California, in international waters, which he can then turn into a start-up incubator, fostering a 'year-long hack-a-thon.' From the article: 'With a B-1 visa, visitors can freely travel to the United States for meetings, conferences, and even training seminars. B-1 visas are relatively easy to get, and can be valid for as long as 10 years. Blueseed plans to provide regular ferry service between the ship to the United States. While Blueseed residents would need to do their actual work—such as writing code—on the ship, Marty envisions them making regular trips to Silicon Valley to meet with clients, investors, and business partners. With the ship only 12 miles offshore, it should be practical to make a day trip to the mainland and return in the evening. A B-1 visa also permits overnight stays.'"

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332 comments

Cue floating concentration camp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205614)

or floating gulag.

Re:Cue floating concentration camp (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205656)

Why?

Re:Cue floating concentration camp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205742)

There once was these cowboys all alone out on a trail
and they realized they could have secks with another male
now they're having BUTTSECKS
cowboy BUTTSECKS

SODOMEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

Re:Cue floating concentration camp (5, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206280)

I suspect the OP meant coding gulag, where you won't own anything you develop, essentially a code sweatshop.

Good luck getting off that boat for the promised visits to the US if the US authorities decide they don't like the
activities going on out there, or simply become suspicious of the place being uses a an industrial espionage platform
with all the trips back and forth to "conferences" etc.

Just because its 12 miles off shore doesn't put it outside of the US Economic Exclusion Zone [wikipedia.org] , which covers far more than fisheries and oil production these days.

Then there is the maintenance issue. A boat is a hole in the water into which you throw money. A big boat is a big hole.
It has to be maintained, generators must run, bilges must be pumped. Laundry, kitchens, telecoms. Its expensive.
A captain and crew must be onboard 24/7 in case of the emergency, storms, or whatever.

Since the developers are cooped up on board 24/7 you would be occasionally entertained, exercised as well. I can't see this being
a fun place to work. The possibility of abuse, is high, and who do you appeal to? How do you get paid?

Re:Cue floating concentration camp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205698)

Got a few hundred thousand over here we can send him tomorrow if he wants get them off our books and clogging our health system up
  you want them have'em with pleasure

Re:Cue floating concentration camp (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206030)

or floating gulag.

Sounds like paradise, compared to a cube farm.

More likely they'll come ashore and keep falling over, because the stupid ground stays still.

Known people who have been out on MBARI ships, across the Pacific on data gathering .. they better be fine with salt air, smell of the sea, keeping their ship clean and not minding those days with storms and monster waves (and I don't mean surf.)

Not a new idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205634)

So old in fact, and so unprofitable, that nobody has done it purely because it is not largely profitable.

Doesn't anyone remember Rapture? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206146)

I am Andrew Ryan, 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... Rapture, a city where the artist would not fear the censor, where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, Where the great would not be constrained by the small! And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well.

Re:Not a new idea (4, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206262)

Yes, but we never had a globalised information economy before. I can see the argument that getting the best of the non-U.S. citizens in the same place, having them work intensively on startups, and having access to Silicon Valley investors and resources, would potentially work. Think of it as Y Combinator for people who can't get a visa. Their estimated low price point is $1200/person/month; at that price there are investors who would be willing to finance small startup teams in exchange for equity. Let's say total cost is $2k/person/month, that's $18k for 3 people for 3 months, which is equal to the average amount that Y Combinator invests in their "3 month move to California" development program. And for the top graduates from Africa, India, China etc. this would look like a good opportunity given the huge potential rewards at the end.

The real question here, is whether proximity to Silicon Valley offers any real advantage to startups anymore? This place will be competing against startup accelerators in India and elsewhere, so why would a top Indian graduate choose to use this accelerator rather than one based in India?

Terrorism target. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205636)

It sounds like this would be an irresistible target for someone with a boat or a plane packed with explosives. Sadly, that's the type of world we live in. You would need anti-aircraft turrets and security boat patrols. Actually, that sounds kind of cool.

Re:Terrorism target. (5, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205796)

It sounds like this would be an irresistible target for someone with a boat or a plane packed with explosives. Sadly, that's the type of world we live in. You would need anti-aircraft turrets and security boat patrols. Actually, that sounds kind of cool.

Why would this be a more attractive target than say, Apple or Google headquarters? A truck (or even motorcycle) filled with explosives driving into the corporate cafeteria at lunchtime would do much more economic damage and garner much more news coverage than taking out some unknown up-and-coming startup executives on a ship. It would take more than a cessna filled with explosives to take out a sturdy oceangoing vessel. Likewise, a small boat filled with explosives will only take out a watertight compartment or two on the large ship, presumably on the less desirable lower decks where you won't find the high valued targets doing deals up on the lido deck.

If the terrorists could procure a torpedo, then they might have a chance at sinking the vessel.

Re:Terrorism target. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205842)

Because it is in international waters, which means the US is not obligated to take care of them. Since they are hacking US immigration law, I can see the Coast Guard taking a dim view on rescuing such people.

Re:Terrorism target. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205932)

Since they are hacking US immigration law, I can see the Coast Guard taking a dim view on rescuing such people.

My Coast Guard friends would take that as quite an insult. These people risk their lives to help others on a regular basis--they don't deserve to have such petty motives attributed to them.

Re:Terrorism target. (4, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205976)

12 miles is well within the US's EEZ (which is 200 miles I believe), so the Coast Guard would absolutely take a dim view of anyone using violence within that zone. And the CG I'm sure doesn't give a rat's ass about someone doing an end-run around immigration laws, especially if there's someone in US waters using weapons against any vessels. Again, these are not international waters. Try going fishing out there in violation of US fishing regulations and see what the CG does to you.

Re:Terrorism target. (3, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206232)

Because it is in international waters, which means the US is not obligated to take care of them. Since they are hacking US immigration law, I can see the Coast Guard taking a dim view on rescuing such people.

They aren't hacking US immigration law, they are working within the law. The USA wouldn't care one way or another if 100 rich entrepreneurs want to take up residence in a cruise ship 15 miles off the coast as long as they follow their visa restrictions.

The USCG is going to rescue them no matter what. Do you really think that the USA will turn a blind eye while pirates attack a ship off our shores? The bad publicity alone would make that politically impossible. Can you imagine news helicopters circling around the sinking ship, filming passengers crying out for help, while a coast guard cutter floats nearby, only there to mop up any oil leaks and pick up debris before it hits the US coast?

Re:Terrorism target. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205910)

If the terrorists could procure a torpedo, then they might have a chance at sinking the vessel.

I've heard of software piracy, but wouldn't that be taking things a little too far?

Re:Terrorism target. (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206006)

Try to stage a violent takeover of the Google headquarters and taxpayer funded police will take care of it in short order. Standing behind all that is the taxpayer funded military.

Re:Terrorism target. (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206316)

Try to stage a violent takeover of the Google headquarters and taxpayer funded police will take care of it in short order. Standing behind all that is the taxpayer funded military.

I wasn't picturing a takeover - more of a suicide bomb type terrorist attack -- seeking destruction and notoriety, not a takeover. But I think Google and Apple are safe - there are many more targets that would garner even more publicity and notoriety than a tech company.

Apple has already demonstrated [slashdot.org] that the police are there to serve them.

No wai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205658)

No wai. I'm sure the peoples of California (myself included) would not want a boat of foreigners off their coast... for what, permanently? That would not fly with environmentalists, and we have lots of them.

"International Waters" (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206022)

The people of California have no say over who can hang out in the International Waters off their coast. They might not like it, but without declaring war and attacking the ship, violating the Law of the Sea in the process, it doesn't matter, AT ALL what some eco-numbnuts in California think about this.

Re:"International Waters" (1)

MichaelKristopeit337 (1967528) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206270)

the people of california have the say over who they'll do business with. if it's destructive to do business with anyone doing business with anyone on the ship, then there won't be a ship.

freedom of speech dictates that everyone has a say.

you're an idiot.

Implying... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205664)

..the USA gives a rats ass about its jurisdictional boundaries.

Re:Implying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205872)

>jurisdictional boundaries

Jurisdiction: The official power to make legal decisions and judgments.

Who in the USA is making legal decisions or judgments outside of the US boundaries?

I see why you posted anonymous.

Re:Implying... (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205980)

US Corporations... see Australian/EU IP laws recently.

Or ... (4, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205676)

... set up shop in Tijuana. Or Vancouver BC.

Re:Or ... (5, Interesting)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205740)

... set up shop in Tijuana. .

The irony in this statement being that, as much as Mexico complains about US immigration laws, Mexico's immigration laws [usatoday.com] are much more strict. You do not want to be busted for illegal immigration in Mexico, especially if you're from border countries to the south of Mexico.

Re:Or ... (5, Informative)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206012)

This is the part I don't get: why bother with this dumb ship? Just set up shop in Vancouver and ignore the US altogether. Vancouver is already home to lots of software companies. On top of this, while Canada's immigration laws are pretty strict, if you're a software engineer, that's pretty much a free pass to get into the country. In addition, if you have $300k ready to deposit into a Canadian bank account, that'll get you in too. Canada is very friendly to people who will improve their economy. And if you really need to travel to Silicon Valley, it's not that long a plane flight from Vancouver to San Jose.

Re:Or ... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206214)

Because they want to skip all sorts of legal regulations. Canada is just as bad and worse in some areas in terms of regulation.

Re:Or ... (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206052)

This only approaches making economic sense because of the comparison to cost of living in the San Francisco Bay area. The Visa thing is a nice distraction, but if it cost more to keep the B-1 Visa holders afloat than it would to hire actual Americans, they would never bother to float the idea to investors.

Re:Or ... (1)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206156)

As someone currently working for a high-tech start-up in Vancouver, BC, I can assure you that, as nice as it is here in the Summer, it's no Silicon Valley -- and when you have to make a trip there it's like $800 in plane tickets and a whole day of travel.

But then, Valley is not exactly on the shore, so it's not just 12 miles boat ride, add another hour or so to get across the hills -- still beats air travel!

Paul B.

Can I get a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205684)

USA! USA! USA!

Something doesn't add up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205686)

technologies

12 miles offshore

I suppose the first technology they're going to work on is how to get a constant stream of electricity out there?

Re:Something doesn't add up... (5, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205766)

Well when you were promised a job in IT - they didn't mention exactly what sort of IT position it was. Now pedal faster, we need more CPU cycles dammit!

Re:Something doesn't add up... (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205826)

technologies

12 miles offshore

I suppose the first technology they're going to work on is how to get a constant stream of electricity out there?

Water transfers electricity easily. Just plug in some nuclear plant to Pacific Ocean and let it flow.

Re:Something doesn't add up... (1)

nomel (244635) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205890)

I picture wave, solar, wind, ocean current, and gas/turbine generators.

Re:Something doesn't add up... (2)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206330)

What you will get, however, is almost certainly diesel. They may put some of those other things on deck for show.

Re:Something doesn't add up... (4, Funny)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206136)

I suppose the first technology they're going to work on is how to get a constant stream of electricity out there?

Apparently it will come as a surprise to you, but we have had large ships traveling the oceans for quite a while, which even have electricity.

Re:Something doesn't add up... (1)

CyberSaint (1376273) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206174)

Probably the same way Google was going to power their floating datacenters [slashdot.org] .

The real question is how they plan to get communications uplinks (phone, internet, etc.) that don't cost an arm and a leg.

Re:Something doesn't add up... (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206322)

The real question is how they plan to get communications uplinks (phone, internet, etc.) that don't cost an arm and a leg.

They could probably put together a point to point solution with a tower on-shore.

Make your headquarters Tiajuana B.C., Mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205688)

I bet Mexico would love to get these guys over there, and it is just a couple minute walk over the boarder to the San Diego Trolley.

Re:Make your headquarters Tiajuana B.C., Mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205724)

Nothing like getting your head chopped off, because your "rich" startup company wouldn't pay a ransom.

Off-Shoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205702)

Sure brings a new meaning to the term "off-shoring."

uhh yeah (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205718)

FTA: "Some of the Silicon Valley's most important companies, including Intel, Google, and Yahoo, were cofounded by immigrants."

Intel wasn't.

"Yet America's creaky immigration system makes it difficult for talented young people born outside of the United States to come to the Bay Area"

Riiiight, that's where there aren't any young people born outside of the United States in the Bay Area. Sure.

Re:uhh yeah (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205850)

Intel wasn't.

Andy Grove was born in Budapest

Re:uhh yeah (4, Interesting)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205930)

The US has the most retarded immigration policy. They make it too hard for highly educated/skilled people to legitimately immigrate, but they turn a blind eye to the MILLIONS of uneducated illegal immigrants. The US should be welcoming the highly educated/skilled people into their country, not turning them away, because they will most likely make a positive contribution to society. Instead, by turning them away, they go somewhere else and compete against the Americans.

Re:uhh yeah (5, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206288)

The highly skilled people take jobs Americans want.

The uneducated immigrants, all media hyperbole aside, take jobs Americans don't.

Its as simple as that.

Re:uhh yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205962)

Andy Grove is an immigrant. He helped co-found Intel.

Re:uhh yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205990)

Wrong target. It should be cruising the Caribbean and be used as leasable office space as a perk. How many people would take a two-week working cruise provided you could bring a guest and keep your vacation hours?

Re:uhh yeah (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206128)

Andrew Grove was born in Hungary.

wow! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205732)

This is the stupidiest thing I've heard in a while. Can't beleive that we give attention to such idiocy. I'm outta here.

A ship for immigrants? I have a better idea... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205736)

Make it a giant lashed-together raft circulating around the Pacific rim, and we'll be happy.

Re:A ship for immigrants? I have a better idea... (1)

imgumbydamnit (730663) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205992)

Will you be speaking Sumerian?

Re:A ship for immigrants? I have a better idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206284)

Good idea, now what to call it?

No thank you (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205754)

I have a strong feeling this would be awfull. It would be used for everything except tech start-ups.
A wreck of cheap labor on international waters without respect of human rights or even labor laws, worker rights would most likely be squashed on daily basis.

Re:No thank you (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205844)

... worker rights would most likely be squashed on daily basis.

So it'd be like the US, but with less make-believe?

Or you mean really bad, like all the places the US buys all its cheap manufactured shit from?

Horrors! If it's right offshore, it might be close enough we'd have to stop ignoring it!

Happy riding my JCB tractor into the sunset (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205772)

It looks like I have more job safety then you will ever have, you freshly B-1 visas endangered IT/EE degree white collar soon to be displaced workers.

Re:Happy riding my JCB tractor into the sunset (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206094)

And why does that tractor need a driver, again? I see no reason why we can't use unmanned, automated tractors; if computers can fly our commercial planes and bomb terrorists without any real human intervention it should work just as well for harvesting crops. Then the only people making money would be the agrabusiness megafarm landowners and the company they lease automated mechanized equipment from, just like The Free Market intended!

also (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205774)

Parking 12 nautical miles away from the coast still leaves the ship in the EEZ, so the US can easily regulate it (in fact, there are probably laws already in force that would apply to this).

So instead of H1B visa slavery (2)

mark_reh (2015546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205784)

you can come to America and live on a floating prison. I'm not sure what sort of abject misery you'd have to be coming from to make living/working on a prison ship seem like a good idea.

I've been on boats around the bay and off the coast and I can tell you that about 30% of the time there won't be any work getting done because everyone will be hanging over the rails puking their guts out.

Well good luck with that (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205822)

I love the people who seem to think international waters means "You can do whatever you want." No, not really. You can declare yourself to be your own country or whatever but that doesn't matter. There are only two real ways to be an independent country:

1) Get recognized as such by one or more major international bodies like the UN, NATO, etc. When the big boys say "Yup, you are independent," then you are. This is more or less how it goes for countries like Iceland, that have effectively no military.

2) Have enough guns that nobody can challenge your independence. That's how it works for countries like the US or China. Doesn't really matter what anyone wants to think, they are independent by virtue of nobody has the ability to invade them.

Neither of that would be the case for this little offshore platform. The US could screw them over real simply by just refusing to allow sea or air traffic to or from the platform. If there was any real problem, they could send in the Coast Guard. In the event the people on the platform fired on the USCG, well that is that as per US law that's an act of war and then the Navy can get involved.

Alternatively they could flag themselves under some nation, but then they are subject to that nations laws, and of course that nation will have treaties with the US and so on.

Re:Well good luck with that (1)

Forbman (794277) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205880)

Methinks the real intent of this is just a tax dodge.

Re:Well good luck with that (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205908)

if they are in international waters, the US Navy can get involved even without shots fired at the USCG.

Re:Well good luck with that (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206092)

There's pretty strict laws, including laws of the sea, governing when governments are and aren't allowed to board civilian vessels in both international and territorial waters, as well as EEZs, which this should would be inside of (the US EEZ extends to 200 nautical miles from shore). The Navy can't just go board some civilian vessel in international waters without just cause, and doing so would be an international incident.

They can, of course (assuming the govt really cares that much) harass them and have the CG board them looking for evidence of illegal fishing, or somesuch, just to annoy them. The CG wouldn't be able to really do anything other than run around the ship looking for non-existent evidence, but the harassment itself would be a giant productivity killer. Or they could give them a hard time with air or sea traffic to and from the ship as you said.

Re:Well good luck with that (1)

Aryden (1872756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206242)

Never said anything about boarding them. I said get involved. I'm sure that, as a developer, you would love to have fighters buzzing your boat at all hours of the day and night...

Re:Well good luck with that (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206108)

That's an act international piracy ("Piracy on the High Seas"). The US might not be too worried by it, but neither will the lawyers who will see $ signs sprout before their eyes like weeds.

Re:Well good luck with that (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205950)

They will probably have to go the 'flag of some nation' route.

Legally this whole idea is a mess.. they will need their own police and court systems, not to mention their own immigration laws.... and as you point out, this will only really work till they annoy the US enough that the coast guard goes out and seizes the ship for breaking US laws.

Re:Well good luck with that (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205986)

I love the people who seem to think international waters means "You can do whatever you want." No, not really. You can declare yourself to be your own country or whatever but that doesn't matter.

You're leaving out option 3: Nobody cares enough to do anything about it. For instance, if the Brits really cared about Sealand, they could easily take it over.

Re:Well good luck with that (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206038)

Except that they don't want to declare their own nation, just dodge immigration laws. And immigration laws don't apply in international waters.

And the US will just put up with that? (3)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206102)

I think not. Again they'd have two choices:

1) Flag under a country, as any other ship does. Do that, and you are subject to the laws of that country.

2) Don't flag. In that case any nation can board your ship, just for not being flagged. You can bet the US would do just that.

Basically if they want to set up a little fake island for fun, the US won't care, and would probably even help save them when the seas get rough. If they want to set it up to try and evade US law, that isn't going to fly.

Re:And the US will just put up with that? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206170)

They can sail under US flag, a US ship is permitted to house non-US people.

Re:And the US will just put up with that? (3, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206250)

And then they are subject to all US laws. That is what a flag means. When you flag yourself in a given country (by the way the country has to permit it and register you) you are declaring that ship to be a little floating part of that country, subject to all its laws and regulations. You can also be subject to more laws, for example if you are in the waters of another country you are also subject to that country's laws, but no matter what you are subject to the laws of your flag nation.

In the US, that includes things like immigration law.

Re:Well good luck with that (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206040)

I think you're being a little pessimistic on the US here.

I have no idea on the economics of it all, but it doesn't seem like this should bother the US. The people on the ship would most likely be the high-tech worker... so nothing the US would be against. It most likely be funded by the tech startups and big companies who would have no interest in using the ship as a platform to smuggle in undesirable immigrants. They simply travel to the US when needed, like most business people do.

Re:Well good luck with that (2)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206064)

Found some details. Apparently yes, they plan to take on the flag of some minor country.

Re:Well good luck with that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206222)

Alternatively they could flag themselves under some nation, but then they are subject to that nations laws, and of course that nation will have treaties with the US and so on.

Exactly. They'll just fly a flag of convenience, and the US will stick to the laws and regulations that apply - there are enough to pick from, and threre's bound to be at least one that's, well convenient both for the ship owner and the companies and workers. The one bit that may get them into trouble with the 12 mile distance are the "exclusive economical zone" claims, which may extend way further (up to 200 nm, and I have no Idea how much the US claims).

"A B-1 visa also permits overnight stays" (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205856)

Gosh, Wally, what do you think they'd use those for?

Re:"A B-1 visa also permits overnight stays" (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206070)

Overnight tournaments of Magic?

A B1 visa is not easy to get... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205866)

.. this particular assumption is wrong.
I am based out of Canada at the moment and I work in a big IT company. We had our annual conference in Chicago, I applied for a B1 and was refused. The grounds were that i apparently could not prove "strong ties to my home country" . I am originally from India, and my job requires me to travel a lot. This situation ( having stayed in Canada for 6 months only ) was the criteria for them to reject my entry. And i had a perfectly valid reason to visit the US.
This is not a rant. I hope the backers of the venture understand that there are many more visa issues than what they are aware off.

Free of laws too (2)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205874)

Presumably, this would not be subject to any laws protecting employment, civil rights, etc.. Your employment and life would be subject to the whims of whoever runs the place. Even contracts need courts and laws to make them effective.

Re:Free of laws too (1)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206334)

Well, of course. Absolute freedom is it's own punishment. In international waters, certain laws do apply but enforcing them is extremely difficult and would be almost impossible for a permanent base out to sea. Whilst the crew still couldn't legally provide failing innovators with concrete boots, and could be prosecuted if they ever landed, nothing would require them to ever land.

It'd be like working... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205892)

.... in a prison, with a chance of drowning.

Legalites aside... (3, Insightful)

xs650 (741277) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205900)

Legalities aside, that can be a pretty nasty hunk of ocean. There will be considerable periods of time when that ship will either be maneuvering to ride out a storm, or going someplace else to avoid a storm. A big share of the year it will need to underway just to provide a reasonable amount of stability.

Of course it is legal. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205902)

Yes, it would be legal for such an off shore ship to house coders and do some programing jobs.

But it would also be legal for the U.S Govt to declare that these ships are not going to be eligible for rescue and recovery by US Coast Guard, and US Navy to declare it is not their job to protect such ships from pirates. (Real ones not the software DVD pirates).

It would also be legal for people to find the customers of these ship borne companies and the products made by them and give wide publicity for them. After BofA backed down on the debit card fee, the Occupy Something or the Other people are itching to find something to occupy. It will give them something to go after.

All perfectly legal of course. But again, all this assumes US Government is going to be looking after the interests of its citizens. But in this post citizens-united world, it might decide "even ship borne floating sweat shop owning corporations are people" and protect them instead of us.

Snow Crash??? (4, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205904)

It sounds like someone read the last half of Snow Crash and thought that this was somehow a good idea. Either that, or the Wikipedia article on L. Ron Hubbard, and figured he could get a lot of underage girls that way.

Re:Snow Crash??? (1)

JMonty42 (1961510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206002)

Would that mean that beach-front properties would start arming themselves with machine guns and electric fences to keep the raft-people from coming ashore?

Seen this before and it's still a ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205912)

... terrible idea. With millions of skilled workers out of a job - not to mention millions more unskilled - this kind of thing just seems like yet another blatant slap in the face of the American worker.

For another thing, the cost to build it is huge and I'm not sure who would fund it just to save a few incremental bucks on hourly labor cost. Sure the lifetime of the ship might be 20-30 years, but there's upkeep and a crew needed to run it which would likely be at least hundreds of thousands annually.

Also - how do you effectively bring bandwidth to these? VoIP-over-Satellite sounds like a terrible idea and satellite Internet is also pretty terrible. Unless they're going to pull a 12-mile-ish submarine fiber cable to it - again, adding millions to the build cost - I can't see the idea taking off.

Re:Seen this before and it's still a ... (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206162)

The problem with the American worker is that he doesn't know squat about computers and software. There's literally tons of job openings right now for tech workers, programmers, software engineers, etc. These stupid recruiters call me every single day for jobs because they got my resume 12 months ago. So yes, unemployment is high in general (and probably a lot higher than the official numbers the government publishes; don't forget the official numbers don't count underemployment, so a skilled or professional person working as a cashier to keep his family afloat counts as "employed" even though he's really not), but employment among tech workers is absolutely not. Companies are desperate to hire more tech workers. (Of course, this desperation doesn't seem to have translated into significantly higher salaries....)

As for internet connectivity, 12 miles isn't that far; it might be possible to rig up a pair of powerful directional WiFi antennae to get connectivity to the mainland. However, this might violate FCC regulations and get them in trouble.

See Slashdot article from 2005 (2)

Thagg (9904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205928)

http://developers.slashdot.org/story/05/04/20/2251203/offshoring-to-a-ship-in-international-waters [slashdot.org]

This is a very attractive idea, and people have been attracted to it a few times before!

This article isn't exactly a dup, but as Mark Twain said "History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes"

Really kind of sad... (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205934)

... that we don't enforce the immigration laws in many ways, but for those who would truly bring wealth to the country, this sort of approach is seriously proposed.

Re:Really kind of sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38206028)

... that we don't enforce the immigration laws in many ways, but for those who would truly bring wealth to the country, this sort of approach is seriously proposed.

A) These people are not interested in "bringing wealth to the country." They are interested in bringing wealth to themselves.
B) The immigration laws aren't enforced because the business community repeatedly opposes any attempts at enforcing those laws, since they value cheap, exploitable labor over smart, expensive labor 364 days out of every year.

And you can surf! (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38205954)

The proposed location is 12 miles off Maverick's Beach in Half Moon Bay, one of the world's great surfing spots.

Re:And you can surf! (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206106)

Yeah, those 9 foot swells are lots of fun while below decks on a ship...

Re:And you can surf! (1)

xs650 (741277) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206188)

They much more fun when you are 80+ feet above the water on the upper decks

Re:And you can surf! (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206264)

Yeah, true, but I don't think Blueseed will be affording a tall ship...

incomplete sentence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38205996)

Between the ship to the United States and what?

Thoughts (1, Flamebait)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206024)

I am sorry to say have to say this but it should be tough for foreign entrepreneurs to make inroads into the United States. It should be a policy of US citizens first. Americans do not have a shortfall of talent that we need to import entrepreneurs. I have to beg to differ on this one.

Re:Thoughts (0)

jd (1658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206310)

The US lacks education and lacks a risk-taking culture. Secondly, insularism is never a sane policy. It's almost always smarter to keep a flow of fresh talent coming in.

However, I'm not convinced the US is the best place for this. America is superb at taking pre-existing ideas and turning them into a commercially viable product. No question about it. Only Japan rivals the US in that department. However, the US simply doesn't have a culture or a history of coming up with the original ideas in the first place. That's fine. You don't need it.

I would much rather see nations that ARE famous for discovery and truly original invention getting injections of talent and money in those directions, then countries like the US and Japan getting that fraction of the talent that can make the idea sellable.

Now, I freely admit the idea isn't wholly original. The idea of national specialization was the foundation of the Industrial Revolution and the rather infamous Trade Triangle. It likely dates back before then. However, the point is that the method works. Instead of everyone operating at the lowest common denominator, over-competing and under-performing, you could have nations operating at the highest standards within their local specialties, competing with only those who are in the same specialties, forcing standards higher (to add value) rather than lower (to cut costs).

What an incredibly stupid idea. (1, Informative)

blair1q (305137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206026)

Hey, dumbass. We have this thing called The Internet now. You can videoconference over it, and share text and pictures you create on your computer. Actually being in the same room with someone is less productive, overall, since you end up catching their diseases and have to spend the next week on the ship hanging over the rail. And then the pirates take all your shit and kidnap your IT department and the US Navy bills you 18 times your 5-year-plan to get them back for you.

Fucking seriously. Why are airlines still in business? Oh wait, they're dropping like flies [ft.com] . Clue.

Get a computer. Get a wi-fi router and a broadband modem and an ISP. Get Skype and a bluetooth headset and a $5 webcam. Then go the fuck away, stay the fuck away, and show up on time for your meetings.

welcome law circumventing foreginers (1, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206138)

Wonderful. We have relatively loose and liberal immigration laws, and already have tons of foreigners coming into the country to take jobs. Not just farming or service job labor, but even taking technical jobs and thus keeping wages low for Americans. Not to mention the job shortages of a weak economy. Now we have someone announcing plans to further erode what little imagined protection American workers have.

I'm sure I've offended someone who thinks that the United States just has to open its boarders to everything even though other nations protect themselves from the same problems, and thus will soon be modded down so my voice is silenced. After all, even the governor of Texas wants to charge lower tuition to illegal aliens (meaning criminals, look up illegal) than to honest tax paying Americans from other states, even though the illegals couldn't legally work in his state after getting an education! But consider that there just might be some valid reasons for a sound and balanced immigration and work visa program and don't applaud everyone who wants to circumvent it.

What, no link to their actual site? (3, Informative)

itsme1234 (199680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206168)

http://www.blueseed.co/ [blueseed.co]

Now let's see if we can flood it :-)

This isn't 1999 (2)

danparker276 (1604251) | more than 2 years ago | (#38206238)

You can fill software positions. I guess if you're an insecure boss who only wants to hire people H1B so you can pay them less, treat them like crap, and they're almost forced to stay with the same company; then this will work out for you. Oh and software developers from India don't really want to come over to the US as much as they used to.
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