Jim Davidson is Eldar Capital’s Principal for Education, Mining, & Business Development. He is the founder and chancellor of Individual Sovereign University since 2009. He has worked since 1983 in banking, aerospace, real estate, software development, finance, health practice management, management consulting, free port development, toll road development, fishing fleet development, digital gold currency exchange operations, private venture capital stock exchange operations, mining stock news analysis, gold and silver coin sales, and university development. He is a published author of three books and hundreds of essays and articles. He has been involved in digital currencies since 1998.
As a college student at Columbia University he took a job with First Chicago National Processing Corporation, a check processing service of the First Chicago bank. The company relocated from mid-town Manhattan to Secaucus, New Jersey, and Jim was promoted from clerk to team leader and weekend shift supervisor. During his time with First Chicago, Jim rode a moped through the Lincoln Tunnel and over the George Washington Bridge to commute to work, supervised a team of 13 clerks, and was responsible for $45 million a weekend in accounts for major businesses, preparing deposits with the New York area clearinghouse banks.
Jim’s undergraduate career included studies in astrophysics, humanities, history, and economics. He spent extensive time on unsupervised visits to the roof observatory on Pupin Hall. He lived on campus, participated in Students Against Militarism, Young Americans for Freedom, a joint chapter of the Planetary Society and L5 Society he co-founded with Carmi Weinzweig, and worked several work-study jobs before landing the position with First Chicago. He may be remembered for launching model rockets from the sun dial, and for avoiding Barack Obama’s hit piece on the anti-war groups on campus published in Sundial magazine. Jim visited the bookstores, museums, and a few restaurants, as a scholarship student on a very limited budget; learned the subway system thoroughly; clandestinely explored tunnels on campus and under the city; made occasional trips to Montauk and the Berkshires; and travelled with his friend William Baxter from New York to Berkeley by way of Banff National Park in Canada on an epic road trip.
In 1985, degree in hand, he headed to Houston where he attended Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones graduate school of business administration. While there, in October 1985, he attended a meeting of the Houston L5 Society over which he subsequently presided for a number of years. Jim completed his MBA in marketing and entrepreneurship in 1987 and helped organise a chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space at Rice, later that year. He became active in L5 Society politics, especially with the chapters’ assembly over which he served briefly as chair. He also was elected to a regional position on the board of directors of the successor organisation, the National Space Society. In 1991 he resigned his membership in the National Space Society owing to severe political and ethical differences with the group, and in 1993 he helped Houston Space Society part company from the national group, as well.
During his graduate school career, Jim tried for various intern positions in space companies, many of which internships were terminated due to the January 1986 explosion of the Challenger space shuttle due to the extreme negligence of management at NASA. Happily, Jim was able to work for David Hannah, Jr., and Deke Slayton at Space Services Incorporated of America from April 1986 through graduation, and on to November 1989.
During his time with Space Services, Jim was involved in developing contract proposals, including writing the winning technical proposals for an initial Starfire 1 launch that took place in March 1989, and a series of six follow-on missions that began immediately thereafter. As logistics manager for Starfire, he made a number of trips to White Sands Missile Range, served as the voice of launch control for the spectators at the first launch, and coordinated with vendors in Canada, Sweden, and around the United States to bring equipment together for the University of Alabama at Huntsville’s centre for the commercial development of space experiments in materials processing in weightlessness. As an intern in the Summer of 1986, Jim had proposed a market survey of university science departments, identifying over 80 small payloads and making initial contact with dozens of university professors eager for space access.
During the year from December 1989 to November 1990, Jim worked with intelligent and dedicated professionals such as Bob Noteboom, Gus Gardellini, Bob Richards, Todd Hawley, and Walt Anderson at Microsatellite Launch Systems. He left the company due to ethical and financial differences with its co-founder, Peter Diamandis. Walt Anderson and Bob Richards parted with the company at the same time due to concerns that it was to be acquired by a military contractor company and become a missile launch systems provider to the military.
In May 1990, at a meeting of the Houston Space Society at Jim’s home in Friendswood, Texas, then-president Howard Stringer asked, “What would be the one thing our group could do to change the way people think about space more than anything else in the next ten years.” Jim immediately responded, “We could put one of our members in orbit.” This brief conversation led Jim, Howard, and David Mayer to organise Space Travel Services in their spare time. The team then entered into negotiations with Space Commerce Corporation’s Art Dula and, through Art’s travels to Moscow, the Soviet Space Agency Glavkosmos. Space Travel announced a sweepstakes giving away a trip to the Soviet space station Mir at a press conference in Houston, 17 December 1990. Due to extreme political pressure brought on behalf of the NASA manned space flight centre, Space Travel was maliciously prosecuted with false charges of operating an illegal lottery. The company was dissolved in May 1991 at the same time the Harris County district attorney and Texas attorney general entered an agreed injunction admitting that the company had been operating a lawful sweepstakes the entire time.
From 1991 to 1998, Jim worked in real estate development, new country advocacy, space advocacy, software development, software documentation, private college classes as a professor, community college classes as a professor, and travelled extensively in Europe and North America. In 1995, he met Michael van Notten of the Eastern Hararghe Development Agency. He and Michael planned and implemented a number of trips to Somalia beginning in 1998, and culminating in 2001. With numerous private financial supporters and extensive contacts in various industries, they organised Somali Free Port Services and the Awdal Roads Company. Their various Somali ventures were terminated in large measure by the speech General Tommy Franks of NATO gave in October 2001 advocating for the bombing of all port facilities in Somalia.
From 1998 to 2002, Jim worked with a group of Texans on the Texas Constitution 2000 ratification committee. The group disbanded due to political differences with the leaders of the ratification funding committee. On a trip to The Hague in December 2000, Jim was responsible for delivering diplomatic documents to the Unrecognised Nations and Peoples Organisation on behalf of a provisional government of the Republic of Texas, as a favour to a friend.
During 2001, Jim became active in the digital gold economy. He formed Cambist.net and Gold Barter Holdings with Tristan Petersen. The two introduced gold-denominated bonds for financing business operations to a network of private associates. Later, he was responsible for the acquisition of the Private Venture Capital Stock Exchange, an online gold-denominated stock exchange operated from Vanuatu and other locations using location-agnostic servers. Along with the rest of the e-gold economy, these business operations were killed by the FBI raid on e-gold in April 2007.
From 1986 to present, Jim has engaged in various consulting services and business planning activities. He has, as a result, evaluated thousands of business opportunities, written hundreds of business plans, and helped to raise on the close order of $450 million. Since 2009, Jim has been an advocate for the Individual Sovereign University, for various local mutual aid response teams, and for a number of abolitionist groups seeking to reduce or eliminate constraints on human freedom.
In 1994, Jim published The Atlantis Papers with After Dark Publications. The book was written under contract with Eric Klien and the Atlantis Project to describe the constitution and laws of the to-be-established country Oceania. In November 1995, Jim met Courtney Smith, Marc Joffe, and Mike Oliver, among others, at a New Country Foundation conference to discuss the financial collapse of the Atlantis Project, and subsequently to discuss Michael van Notten’s work in Somalia with Wes McCain.
In 2010, Jim published the first edition of “Being Sovereign” through Individual Sovereign University Press. The book has subsequently been revised in print, and also released in both Amazon compatible e-Book and free .pdf formats. It was briefly among the top million titles on Amazon during late 2011, and remains available there. In 2011, Jim published “Being Libertarian” through Individual Sovereign University Press. The book is available through Lulu.com while the same essays, except one that was banned from publication by the US Marshalls Service, are visible on L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise web site at ncc-1776.org.
Jim is currently considering publishing books on digital security and communications privacy; on the prospect of 5,000 countries which so irritated secretary of state Warren Christopher in 1993; and on man’s journey to settle the Solar System and bring the resources of space to bear on the problems here on Earth. He’s also been asked to edit John Wayne Smith’s excellent “Mars My Way.”
Jim has travelled in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. He speaks, reads, and writes English fluently; Spanish, French, and Portuguese with effort; German, Dutch, and Russian in small measure; Somali with a very bad accent; and knows a smattering of words in Mandarin, Japanese, Gaelic, and Latin. He enjoys dog training, scuba diving, mountain climbing, motorcycling, fast cars, and good food. He studied with a cordon bleu chef for two years. His main work is analysis and his main hobby is freedom. His purpose in life is to make humanity a multi-planetary species for fun and profit.
Jim is an experienced public speaker on topics ranging from science and technology to world travel to business management and high tech investing. He is available to speak for a US$ 10 000 (US ten thousand dollars) speaking fee plus either travel and accommodations or video conferencing service costs. Contact us for further details.