There’s a remarkable enthusiasm for and equally remarkable lack of progress on actually building seastead projects.
One wonders if that is a problem of leadership. With so many conflicting visions, various motivations, and widely different knowledge, skills, and resources, how could a seastead construction project ever get off the ground?
Skills vs. behavior
It is heartbreaking when you allow a contributor who is lacking in positive communication, who doesn’t get along with others, and who behaves poorly, but is one of the best contributors or coders you’ve got. Sometimes when you allow that one skilled person to be a part of your team, it can cause many others to work poorly or lose motivation on the project. You could be causing more problems by allowing this type of contributor to be a part of your team. One way to avoid the problem from the beginning is to screen for communication skills before allowing them to have a big or important role on the team.
The first goal is always to create something useful. […]. Make sure that what you’re offering is useful by looking for others who are doing similar projects and figuring out how large of a user base you’re looking at.
The consultant team, CH2M HILL and Associated Engineering, are both qualified engineering and planning consultancies with experience in and knowledge of best practice projects. Should the CRD seek further advice on options?
In the software industry there is a model that works in this way, it’s called open source, and essentially everyone who cares enough to spend some time working on the project can chip away at the structure, fix bugs, make improvements, and work toward the common goal of having a software that does everything that is deemed important enough to include.
For Civil Engineering, this process does not work. The design and construction of major infrastructure requires much higher levels of accountability, and the risk of failure cannot be overcome with an End Users Agreement. Design by committee is the camel that was meant to be a horse.
My comment to the above: unless perhaps the crowd-sourcing is used to define requirements and a project lead or leads delegate sub-tasks to individual designers. It does appear that Mr. Thomas’ is the conclusion that TSI leadership has come to, however.
The Civilization Starter Kit currently contains all the training materials you need to build 4 out of 50 Global Village Construction Set machines. Join the global network of independent replicators creating a sustainable, open source economy.
the open-source idea isn’t easy to explain. According to him, most of the code now going into the Linux kernel is from paid programmers working at businesses that have leveraged off the existing code base. The idea of open-source engineering is to manage the large project and design in an open manner and also work with individual, commercial, and academic ventures that have something real to gain from the system and being part of the project. Cleaner air and sustainable power are motivations, but as the project moves forward there are some very concrete reasons why someone would want to work on it.
An example supplied by Rohatensky is the architectural student using some of the SHPEGS ideas for his thesis on a plan for an urban sustainable community. The SHPEGS project gives him a jump-start on his design and he promises to add his plans and drawings to the project when they are complete. Another example would be a manufacturing company providing resources to the project to open new markets for its products. Yet another example is the chemist working with the SHPEGS project to develop a related but separate idea that is mutually beneficial to both projects.
Rohatensky expects that if the project hits “critical mass” with a strong potential for success and enough exposure, there will be many contributions from small engineering and design firms that will contribute work to use the project to advertise and promote their firm.
What can we do to emulate the success of the open-source software community in engineering seasteads? Or even seastead parts modules or functions or standard-ish equipment for seasteads?