Posting in Energy
To get around US work visa limits, entrepreneur proposes anchoring large ship off the coast of San Francisco, in international waters. Is this a good idea?
The Silicon Valley tech scene is again one of the brightest stars in the US economy, but its growth is hitting a ceiling: there just aren't enough visionary entrepreneurs, skilled engineers, developers, technicians and other professionals to sustain growth.
Hampering the ability to attract global talent -- which has fueled the growth of the US tech industry in the past -- is a limit on the number of foreign entrepreneurs or workers that can enter and work within the country. Currently, work visas are capped at 140,000 people a year. With recent economic conditions, there has been considerable pressure on Congress to maintain restrictions on the inflow of foreign workers.
One entrepreneur, however, has come up with an interesting workaround to the challenge: anchor a large ship off the coast of San Fransisco, in international waters, and recruit professionals from other nations to work on board.
Blueseed, a startup incubator (and startup itself), proposes to set such a ship afloat as a "high-tech visa-free entrepreneurship and technology incubator on an ocean vessel in international waters." The ship will be positioned as "a short ferry ride away from Silicon Valley so that great ideas and talent from around the world can live, work, and play while having convenient access to the San Francisco Bay Area." International entrepreneurs and professionals would be able to use tourist or short-term business visas -- which are easier to obtain the work visas -- to take regular jaunts to the mainland.
Presumably, the ship will be more like a cruise line, and not an Alaskan fishing trawler. And, it's often said you need a strong stomach for the ups and downs of running a startup -- a few weeks on the Pacific in January may add a whole new dimension to that warning.
As Bluseed explains it: "We will provide a customized environment centered around smart, proven, cost-effective legal best practices, and modern living and work accommodations.... With our incubator, startups and individuals will also get a chance to establish the connections and capital necessary to move their operations onto land if they so choose."
CNET's Declan McCullagh described this "seasteading" venture a few weeks back, noting that Blueseed CEO Max Marty's goal is to attract up to 1,000 global entrepreneurs who want to be a hop, skip and a jump from Silicon Valley and its networks of investors, suppliers, and social opportunities. Blueseed plans to charge $1,855 per person per month in rent, and also take a 5% equity stake in participating startups.
Blueseed also just announced Silicon Valley investor and Paypal founder Peter Thiel bought a stake in Blueseed, bringing the concept closer to reality. The most intensive up-front expense for the Blueseed venture is the purchase of a ship, be it a mothballed cruise ship or a barge to be retrofitted.
There is a solid case to be made for committing such energy and resources into creating more opportunities for domestic workers and entrepreneurs. But global talent also helps fuel greater domestic opportunities as well. Marty came up with the idea after seeing many classmates at the University of Miami be forced to go back to their home countries after failing to secure work visas, according to USA Today. "I thought: 'This is terrible. These people could be here adding a lot of value,' " he is quoted as saying. "There's a lot of job creation and job growth that could be happening if this situation were changed."
Dec 4, 2011
As a hiring manager at Oracle I can attest to the shortage of qualified American GRADUATES. And I'm talking a ratio of foreigner / American of at least 500/1. Of course the big tech firms have all adopted a strategy of only INTERVIEWING graduates from top schools with very high GPA's, and this artificially limits the pool of qualified candidates because Americans are too busy becoming legal and financial crooks (Wall Street anyone?). Tech work-related experience counts for practically nothing in the hiring process, and it shows in the end product; crappy, bloated, hard-to-use, poorly designed and tested software. Almost everything I'm aware of that was innovative has come from outside this uber-academic mindset, created and built in smaller companies that have then been snapped up by MS, Oracle, and now Google. The only exception probably is Oracle's database, everything else they ever delivered was a service orgs wet dream because of it's mind-numbing complexity, poor design, and lack of testing. And if MS hadn't bought NT they never would have been able to keep a PC running long enough to upgrade it before it crashed, LOL. At least they were smart enough to dump Windows9x and build the OS on NT. Google is going down the same road, snapping up innovative companies and screwing them up like clockwork. Read up on how many they have acquired, which products have made it to market, and what the persons in the acquired companies have to say, after they leave of course. How would you like to have the money that MS and Google have just thrown down the drain? These companies are packed with super-smart kids all trained the same way, who actually have very little if any experience delivering quality maintainable applications. Nothing worse for product engineering than a smart person who thinks they know everything, with no adults present to point out the reality. They can and will turn the simplest task into a complexity monster, but they fit the profile and are willing to work 80 hours a week without complaint. IMHO.
Is anything new under he sun? So called entreprenuers used to load up ships off-shore with slave laber and them type in the U.S. telephone book listing so we could have Internet White Pages.How about reviewing the mass import of techs from India who work for Indian so-called entrpreneurs in Silicon Valley making it possible to eliminate those pesky American highly trained techies that want a living wage (and can't be threatened by deportaion via job loss) ?
How about we demand a better product from our public school systems in the US and build the stuff right here? The basis of the story you tell is that US workers are too stupid to meet the employee needs of manufacturers. Sadly I have to agree. Since the early 1980s the quality of education in the US sucks. A negative vote for wanting a better education system in the US. I see someone in another country does not want competition. All the more reason to do it.
I also fear the lack of over site and the limited access will lead to major human rights violations. Slave workers and slave trade, the dumping of evidence, bodies and whistle blower over board just to start.
You couldn't fab anything. You wouldn't have big server farms on board. So you may as well keep those start-ups on (cheap) dry land back in India or China, and communicate via the internet. Am I right that the only value this ship adds is easier access to real face-time? I'm not saying there is NO value in that. But are Silicon Valley investors so backward that they can't use teleconferencing? On the other hand, there are enormous tax advantages. Get the ship sponsored by some two-bit country and give everyone on board citizenship. In exchange for some free cash from these off-shore workers, the sponsor country sets their income tax at 5% or something. If anything goes terribly wrong, there's still the Coast Guard and free hospital emergency rooms. At last the productive class can free itself from the great unwashed masses! The first ship should be the S.S. Ayn Rand.
There are plenty of qualified US personnel available and more then just willing to pay their taxes and such so the only comment I have is screw Blueseed, Silicon Valley investor, and Paypal founder Peter Thiel. I sincerely hope they lose every flaming dime they invest. This is nothing more than a make me more money scheme and has nothing to offer the people of the US that are in need and that are more than qualified to perform the f*^&%% work.
A shortage? Really? I, and thousands's of other quick-study technical professionals are hungry,eager, and able for work! From my perspective, the problem has less to do with a true shortage than it does with the laser-sharp focus of what the industry thinks it needs, and the expectation of hiring a specialist who can hit the ground running. What ever happened to identifying broadly competent individuals and investing in on-the-job training?
The economics of this concept have got to be based on some highly debatable assumptions that conceptual entrepreneurial tasks can't be effectively performed less expensively over the internet. There are a few million companies that might disagree that investing in a leaky tech center would be more efficient. Most of the tech parks - a similar concept that I am familiar with fell on their economic faces years ago. Perhaps there are enough IT illiterate entrepreneurs to make it fly - but highly doubtful.
Having worked in tech and seeing quite a few visa workers, I think the companies prefer them to US workers because they won't rock the boat. I know many high tech workers languishing in jobs below their skill level or out of work altogether while companies demand more visas. I think we should do all we can to get our own tax paying citizens working before bringing in foreign workers.
This is hardly a new idea... it's been floating around (haha!) for at least a decade. I remember some of the initial thoughts around this suggesting a picturesque Mexican beach as the nearest port-of-call, and maintaining daily ferry trips to Mexico, Silicon Valley, and LA.
Education is cool, but these guys are not educators, they're entrepreneurs, so they're building an entrepreneurial solution.
What slave workers? We're talking about people online all day, you can't "hide bodies", WTF. And Blueseed won't hire them. Whoever lives on the ship will pay rent, and when they don't like it any more, they'll leave.
Simply put, please name 5 startups that made it big and were started by people who've never met in person. More at http://www.blueseed.co/faq.html#telepresence I can speak personally about this, because I wanted to a startup from India with a guy in the US (great guy), but it just didn't work out when it came to getting financing.
The ship will be housing entrepreneurs who start businesses. It won't hire tech workers. If an American wants to start a business, they can do so. Nobody needs to hire them, so there's no point in complaining that American aren't being hired or trained.
Why do people get this so backwards? The ship will be housing entrepreneurs who start businesses. It won't hire tech workers. If an American wants to start a business, they can do so. Nobody needs to hire them, so there's no point in complaining that American aren't being hired or trained.
...is for Masters or PhD-level talent that is willing to work for less than $45k/year. There are still too many careers out there that don't require 6 to 8 years of school that pay at least that much or better.
A survey we reported on just a couple of weeks back shows US companies way too stingy with training, even though skills are desperately needed in critical areas. Definitely a lot of short-sightedness going on... http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/business-brains/skills-gap-companies-short-on-talent-but-stingy-with-training/20038
Right, why not hire out-of-work Americans? "I think the companies prefer them to US workers because they won't rock the boat. " I've seen this in action.
Simply put, please name 5 startups that made it big and were started by people who've never met in person.
There's something to be said for the "serendipity" effect of when people meet each other and begin to talk on unexpected topics (which may not happen in more formal tele- or videoconferences), or encounter each other unexpectedly. Many new ideas get exchanged this way, and is one of the things technology can't fully replace.
Americans love to study business, psychology, social stuff, minorities studies and other soft/fru-fru subjects. Engineering is the least interesting. Take a look at this infographic and click on Baclelor's degrees www.good.is/post/interactive-infographic-trends-in-higher-education/