back to article Welcome indeed to the billionaire toyshop

So you've finally done it. You had an idea, or successfully nicked one; you wrote some code, or had it written. The customers flocked to buy licences, or perhaps the unpaid Web-2.0 peon hordes spewed content in an endless stream while you booked ads on the eyeballs and waxed fat. Maybe that last bit never actually happened, but …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Smallbrainfield

    I wouldn't fancy trying to dock an airship

    with a skyscraper. They tried it with the Empire State Building back in the 1930s without succeeding. Too many crosswinds and updraughts in a city. See 'Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow' for an idealised CGI version of events. Also, who would fancy walking across a gangplank hundreds of feet above street level?

    Still, it would be cool.

  2. Mike

    Billionaire software makers

    I wonder if the likes of Paul Allen, Larry Ellison and Mr Billy Gates himself still wonder why sites like PirateBay exist as they're sipping Pan Galactic Gargle-blasters from the comfort of their $multi-million yacht/home/orbiting apartment?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple solution

    I've got a really simple solution... if the worlds boring billionaires simply give their money to me, I'll find lots of interesting ways to spend it for them!

    Cheques accepted.

  4. John Latham

    Nice read...

    ...but I don't recall mention of robot-brained monkey butlers or flying cars as worthy "investment opportunities" for billionaire geeks. Am I in the right place?

  5. julian

    rE: Billionaire software makers

    A little unfair linking Gates with Ellison and Allen.

    Apart from a large house, which as a fraction of his wealth is like my living in a cardboard box, he does not appear to have all the other luxury toys and dedicates most of his time AND MONEY to charity. It appears to me that Ballmer lives even more modestly and they put the Google guys -with their fights over company planes, Ellison et al to shame.

    Not that I am against spending anyone spending their hard and rightfully earned money in any way they like. It's just considering the bashing he often gets here, I'd just like to see Gates noted for his (undeniably) good side.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "... he simply phoned a TV channel which he controlled and told them to interrupt what they were showing and re-run the relevant match"

    A similar legend grew up around Howard Hughes, and "Ice Station Zebra". Quoth the IMDB:

    "In the era before VCRs, Howard Hughes would call the Las Vegas TV station he owned and order them to run a particular movie. Hughes so loved (Ice Station Zebra) that it aired on his Las Vegas station over 100 times."

  7. Francis Fish

    You missed out our own Sky Cat

    I've wanted one of these for ages, and they're made in dear old Blighty too.

  8. Anton Ivanov

    Missed one

    Strangely missing are the new generation of sailboats as well as the ultimate sea-going yacht - the ekranoplan.

    The situation with the sailboats is the same as with the subs and airships. We have known for very long how to build them, but we seem to be reluctant to apply new technology to the old concepts. At the same time there is an abundance of new technology which never gets out into the normal sailboat due to all the artificial restrictions. Just a few examples: rigid sails, rotary sails, airplane-like mechanisation in a wing-like sail, etc.

    As far as the ekranoplan, it has all the advantages of a sea-going yacht along with many of the advantages of a private airliner.

  9. Gilbert Wham

    The world most definitely needs...

    ... More Zeppelins! There is nothing *nothing* Ii would like more than a huge, flying, Art Deco Gin Palace.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If I was a billionaire, I would buy a macpro and let Apple install the memory...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Richard Branson once said..

    The easiest way to become a millionaire is to start as a billionaire then buy an airline.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting but...

    it really is a slow news day isn't it. Oh wait, it's Friday... My mistake.

  13. laird cummings

    Castle Wulfenbach!

    I'm buying the zeppelin! And getting some security and tender zeppelins, too -The servants and little people can take their days off on one of the lesser vessels in my mighty armada of conspicuous consumption, whilst I while away my days in idle luxury... Or maybe I'll be planning world domination from my lofty view!

    Day-to-day supplies can be brought up on these:

    Personnel needing to make a visit to the ground can use one of these:

    The security zeppelins will be armed with working versions of the ray-gun featured here:

    And I'll hire an army of madboys and madgirls to keep everything running and invent more cool toys for my armada, which will be the coolest flying fleet of ostentatious menace and luxury ever seen!


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If I were a billionaire....

    ..I would buy PC World, sack everyone and have a mad satanic store burning ritual.

  15. Damian Gabriel Moran

    seems like these folk...

    just want to play out some Bond villian fantasy. I look forward to hearing about custom built extinct volcanoes

  16. b166er


    You might like to check out the Mirabella V and her world's biggest single mast.

    She was built by Vosper Thorneycroft in Southampton and cost a mere £40 million for the hull. Built for the former Avis owner, Joe Vittoria, her first business outing was apparently skippered by Tom Hanks, who reportedly paid £500,000 for the trip.

    The mast uses an explosive charge to detach in the event of an emergency and the entire vessel is watertight.

    I recall also, that BMW were investigating ekranoplan technology. It seems they were mulling over the possibility of a long range/fast personal water vehicle with the refinements of the BMW brand.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Gareth


    Dream Chaser™ - $100m

    Building a massively overcompensating phallus you can climb inside - Priceless.

  19. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Mature Mutuals and IT Future Derivative Market Players

    "Hmm, I also need to practice pronouncing ransom demands: "


    Danegeld is the route/root preferred by the System for it allows them their Semblance of Hands-On Control...... and they can justify IT as a Circular Internal Investment requiring no Regulatory Investigation....... for Beta Weekends too. :-)

  20. LehiNephi

    Underwater mobile base

    So if $40million will get you a smallish submarine, why not spend, say, $400 million and get ten? Link them together, and you'll have plenty of room!

    I've always wanted to buy an abandoned missile silo complex and renovate it into a luxury home/lair/complex. The typical 60-foot-wide silo would give you roughly 2800 sq ft per floor, and they're around 150ft deep!

    Another option that was omitted was a private island. There are lots for sale for varying amounts. It might be a bit cliche, but keep in mind that privacy tends to be important when you have that much money, and if you own all the land, it's a bit easier to keep the paparazzi out. Not to mention you can build a nice submarine pen with a secret underwater entrance!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bill G isn't quite a puritan

    Bil Gates is certainly not immune to the toys -- he had a *huge* yacht called Big Blue until a few years ago. It was more of a ship than a yacht. When Roman Abramovich was looking for a stop-gap boat to do him just until the new one arrived from the yard, he bought Big Blue. I was in the south of France at the time, and remember that Big Blue was brought over so Roman could have a look round. It was too big to dock at Antibes, the port of choice for billionaires, and had to moor up at the ferry port in Nice instead.

    And the bigger ones have two helipads because, if you arrive on your own heli and then invite Paul Allen over for a quick game of deck quoits, you need to have somewhere to park his ride too.

  22. corestore

    You're missing the most obvious...

    'Spaceship' is getting close... but what I would have, as a billionaire, is a suborbital. Hypersonic. Semiballistic. Orient Express. New York to Tokyo in two hours. *That's* the selling point, not a gin palace in space - too James Bond.

    The outfit that manages to make an exec-jet sized, hypersonic, Concorde replacement - *they* will coin it!


  23. Jon Tocker

    LehiNephi and corestore have got it right

    LehiNephi: Ever since watching the animated kids show "Sea Lab 2020" years ago I've wanted an underwater base/home with moon pool, mini sub, personal underwater sleds etc. Wouldn't have to be mobile, just hard to reach, anchored to the sea-bottom in International Waters. Why there? So I could just shoot any paparazzi that invade my SOVEREIGN territory.

    Have a private island within submarine distance...

    Corestore's suggestion of the personal hypersonic jet is great as well. Have an airstrip suitable for one of those on the private island and be only a few hour's flight from anywhere in the world. You could visit a number of large, Earth-bound gin palaces in one day, no matter where in the World they are.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You missed the really, really Big one

    The ultimate in toys?

    Your own civilization.

    A sovereign island or space station. Eugenics as a hobby anyone? The first pure implementation of Plato's Republic?

    Breeding humans and designing societies. Now that would be God Like!

  25. julian

    Re: Bill G isn't quite a puritan

    I think you'll find "le grand blue" (english translation Big Blue) was built for and owned by Paul Allen not Bill Gates. So he wouldn't need 2 helicopter spaces. It is now owned as you say by Abromavich.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Billionaire toys

    One thing, insufficiently funded, that all billionaires (and many others) need is an extended lifespan to enjoy themselves. Howard Hughes had the right idea, funding the Hughes Institute for medical research, but was too early. I would be funding people like Aubrey DeGrey, and building research institutes by the dozens to solve the biological problems of human aging. We should all have multi-hundred year lifespans, in full health and it will probably take multiple billions to get there. And this is one thing that the billionaires can buy, that helps not only them and their families, but the rest of us also.


    Also - worry about the coming AI singularity when we construct an amoral intelligence greater than our own probably within a generation or so.


    Most other toys will literally be just passing fancies.

  27. Andrew Tyler


    I've always wanted Lawyer-Thugs. Find a bunch of ex-navy seal/green-beret types and send them to the best law-schools or possibly, nay likely, the other way around.

    They would accompany me everywhere! Nothing they can't handle.

    Yeah that, and zeppelins too- lead zeppelins -just for the shear hell and challenge of it.

  28. Adrian Esdaile

    We all love Kezza downunda!

    Well, your Kerry Packer story is a minor one, there was a much more famous TV incident. He once saw a show he didn't like; us plebians have to reach for the remote, god forbid, and change the channel! Or even turn the TV off; can you imagine?! Kerry just phoned the TV station (his) and told them to turn it off. Which they did.

    Kezza also had an airliner - a converted DC9 for memory, and his mega-yacht was an ex-russian icebreaker. Obvious for breaking through all the... ice... that regularly surrounds Australia.

    He liked to gamble a lot - once while in Vegas he became annoyed at another punter boasting about the mere millions he owned (Kezza being a multi-billionaire), so he walked over to the guy, asked him how much he was worth, then pulled out a coin and said "Toss you for it?" The fellow declined.

    He liked to eat (a big lad) and was once turned away from a top restuarant as it was too late in the evening (Sydney has a 9pm curfew for decent food; beware of that if you come here!) so he went to a cafe down the road and left a $20,000 tip, on the proviso that they staff "showed it to the bastards up the road".

    He wasn't exactly a jolly Santa-type, though. I'd say why, but I'm scared he'd come sue me, event hough he's dead.

  29. Alan Gregson

    @Billionaires spend money? Why?

    Buying the toy makers is not terribly wise.

    His Royal Highness Pengiran Digadong Sahibul Mal Pengiran Muda Haji Jefri Bolkiah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Sa'adul Khairi Waddien, brother of the Sultan of Brunei, saw that Aspreys of London was making a handy profit, so he decided to buy them. What he failed to realise was that he accounted for about 75% of their business.

    This is the man who had a yacht called Tits, with two lifeboats called Nipple 1 and Nipple 2. He's also got a gold plated toaster in one of his cars, now that's class

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why not a flying car?

    If you were to wave 5 or 10 million dollars at Paul Moller, you should have a Skycar flying car within 18 months or so. It may not have all the fancy bits like triple redundant computers in the stability control system, but that's why there is a ballistic parachute!

    Since it's VTOL, you could land it on the top of your lighter than air floating yacht. Sign me up!


  31. Cameron Colley

    Taking a cue from William Gibson's work...

    ... I would upload myself onto a server and live forever on the internet.

    Or, failing that, I'd go for the Lucy Liu bot.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ideal aspiring bond villain lair

  33. Lindsay Bruce

    Mega Bandwidth

    Hang on....

    Looking at that pic of Paul Allen's boat, and this picture here:

    ... is it me, or is that a giant Ethernet port on the left of the stern??

  34. boris svirsky

    Thr reachest - are Pyramid makers

    Some new project in Germany is about to renew this kind of heavy idealism...

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Artist's impression of a luxury submarine interior."

    So cheap & tacky - all of the fittings are wood! Why not solid rhodium?!

    "Dream Chaser™ – yours for £50m, perhaps"

    P. Diddly! I want that atop seven Ares V stages I & II, strapped together, & at 10,000 times the price - & I want a fleet of them - with decent fittings! Put four boosters, on each one, for good measure. There's plenty of spare change available. I'd also like a moonbase, Mars base & a station in the Venusian upper atmosphere - & an Earth-orbital station for weekends back home.

    I suppose I'll have to make do with throwing away small & cheap (though you might think the opposite) disposable buildings, in the meantime. 'Til all of you little people get your act together & make something really worth the purchase... ;-D

  36. Bloody_Yank

    If you have to ask how much

    then you're not really rich. In fact if you even know how much one of your toys cost your not really rich.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Richard Branson quote

    The Branson quote is wrong. It is not "buy an airline", it is "launch an airline".

    At least get it right when you quote the man. Jeez.

This topic is closed for new posts.