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How To Do Business In The Middle Of Nowhere: BlueSeed

If there will be one characteristic that survived pretty much all the crisis that I’ve been through, that would be my “entrepreneurial” spirit. Even during the darkest parts of my life, I always had the need to start some new type of venture. I may have lost my “joie de vivre” sometimes, I may have lost some discipline every now and then, but I always acted like an entrepreneur. By the way, if you don’t know what an entrepreneur is, let me share with you this very simple definition: “an entrepreneur is a person willing to jump in an empty pool, from the highest platform, hoping that water will be there by the time he’ll need it”.

Pretty harsh, isn’t it? But also pretty prone to huge bursts of adrenaline.

As an entrepreneur, I’m always in touch with people starting new businesses, people that are struggling with their current business or people who are just thinking to be their own masters some day. Every now and then I stumble upon some business so surprising, yet so appealing and inspiring, that I simply stand still in awe. As you may already have guessed, that’s what I’m gonna talk about today.

The idea is so simple, yet so stunningly unexpected, that it’s almost laughable. Yet, it’s a real business, with real chances not only to succeed, but to thrive. Ok, enough teasing.

BlueSeed (that’s the name of the business) aims to become the first sea based co-working (and co-living) space for tech-entrepreneurs who want to be in the heart of the innovation (Silicon Valley, that is) but they don’t have a working visa. Yeap, exactly. Blue Seed will be based on a ship located 20 km away from the shore of Silicon Valley, in the international waters, acting as a business incorporated in Bahamas. Absolutely madness, right? Hard to believe.

Yet, the project is real and it’s backed up by many lucid and powerful investors (Peter Thiel, co-founder PayPal and early investor in Facebook being one of them). Blue Seed was one of the projects selected to pitch at Venture Connect (spring 2012). As a board member of Venture Connect I had the chance to look over the details of the project and also to meet Dan Dascalescu, one of the founders of this futuristic project. Yes, Dan Dascalescu is Romanian (but he considers himself to be Romanian-American).

After the pitch, which was, as expected, a big success, receiving tons of media coverage, I had a short talk with Dan and asked him to give me a short interview for my blog. Without further ado, here it is:

1. What is BlueSeed?

Blueseed (www.blueseed.co) is the floating visa-free startup incubator that will be situated on a ship anchored half an hour from the coast of Silicon Valley, in international waters outside the jurisdiction of the United States. This location will enable non-US entrepreneurs to start or scale their businesses without US work visa requirements, while the proximity to Silicon Valley will enable them to visit the mainland using easier to obtain business or tourist visas.

We plan to convert a 1000-passenger used cruise ship into a unique live/work/play environment, and launch it in Q3 2013.

2. Who are you and what is your link with this project?

I’m a Romanian-American entrepreneur and I serve as Chief Information Officer for Blueseed. I found out the project while being an ambassador for The Seasteding Institute (www.seasteading.org), a movement for the peaceful colonization of the oceans. At Blueseed, the first commercial seateading venture, my role is to know the answer to any question regarding the project, or where that answer is located in our information systems, or who to contact to get an answer

3. Have you ever lived on an island before?

Actually, I’ve lived for a few days on a man-made floating community called Ephemerisle. It’s a yearly floating festival held in the Sacramento River delta, about 2 hours’ drive from Silicon Valley (Some compare it to a Burning Man on the water). Incidentally, I’ll be heading there today – www.ephemerisle.org

4. Describe the ideal inhabitant of BlueSeed

Entrepreneurial, risk-taker, happy to share ideas and contribute to the community, the ideal Blueseed inhabitant will be willing to leave the status quo of their home town, and head for the frontier.

5. Describe in 5 sentences a typical day for an inhabitant of BlueSeed

Gradually brightening light awakens the entrepreneur (they’re a person who like to hack computers and their body as well; and knows that the best way to wake up is not due to a blaring alarm, but gently, resembling the natural sunrise). They check their email, then head out to the Blueseed main cafeteria to grab breakfast, hang out with team mates and friends, and bump into other Blueseeders on the way, and while waiting in line for the Buffet. Serendipitous interactions like this are a key ingredient of what makes Blueseed an environment conducive to creativity, and the idea is modeled after Pixar’s headquarters, which only have one set of bathrooms, centrally located so that people are bound to meet each other and chat about what’s on their minds. At noon, the entrepreneur drops by a “demo day”, where several startups show their latest progress, then in the evening, he joins the main theater hall for the screening of the first Blueseed movie. After a game of Foosball and a beer at one of the friendly gathering places aboard, the entrepreneur goes back to his cabin, hacks on some more code, talks online with friends afar, and prepares for a new day.

***

In case you’re wondering how the ships are meant to look, here are a few pictures from the official website of the project (click for higher image size).

If you want to get in touch with Dan, you can do it by asking him to be friends on Facebook.

I don’t know about you, but I already have plans for Q3 / 2013. 😉



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

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