I know some very rich people who squirm at the thought of any online attention, some who pay top dollar to consultants who promise to keep their names offline.
But I’m also starting to see a rise in rich people growing more comfortable with the Web. Wealthy people have been asking me more questions lately about publishing tools such as Twitter, Youtube and WordPress.
Like everyone else today, the wealthy are thinking about managing their personal brand online. The difference is that, while most people go online to connect with friends or promote their businesses, the rich want to shape their legacy.
It’s a modern version of the old question: What do you want your tombstone to read?
For example, billionaire takeover titan Sir Jimmy Goldsmith died in 1997, but his estate has done a marvelous job of designing his website (pictured).
I predict that, as today’s aristocrats age, many of them will undertake their own web legacy projects, and a niche production market will grow at the intersection of art, technology, history and public relations.
But, as I learned when I had a web design business, website projects have a habit of never ending. There’s always a tweak or two that needs to be added. Usually, people put a stop to it, but the super-wealthy have the money to indulge their desires for an electronic monument that is living, even if they aren’t.
In this new industry of website design experts for the super rich, the best service providers will surely be on the speed dials of the wealthy.
People like Victoria, BC-based super designer Andrew Wilkinson can command $50,000 just to talk to you about a design (Note you can buy his templates for $50 apiece here). Ace storyteller Tony Wanless has a service for $35,000 to relax you and talk the content out of you, (but you can probably talk him down to $25,000).
In Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, which is a version of a legacy project, (Apple is a pretty good legacy in itself), Jobs let it all hang out.
But, let’s face it, most people want to cast themselves in a shining light, or at least have some control over their message.
In an age when we’ll all have our own mausoleum websites, what will yours say about you?
Would you take the Steve Jobs route, or would you shine up your image?