Sergey Brin is not given to half measures. The company he cofounded set out a 300-year plan and aimed for nothing less than organizing all the world’s information. So now that details about the airship he’s building are coming out, it should surprise no one that it will not just be big, but the biggest.
Brin hasn’t commented on his airship, but the Guardian quoted an unnamed source today as saying that Brin’s airship is “going to be massive on a grand scale,” a goal so audacious it demands redundant language to describe. The ship will be nearly 200 meters long and cost as much as $150 million. It will travel the world bringing supplies on humanitarian missions. It will also be a “sky yacht” where Brin can throw parties.
Brin’s airship, which he is personally financing, begs a couple of questions, such as whether $150 million would be better spent directly on humanitarian causes or whether a series of smaller, cheaper airships might not be just as effective. Never mind — this is about scale. Brin is building the biggest airship in the world. Because he can. Plus, those air-yacht parties.
The airship seems to have been a passion project of Brin’s for some time. In 2014, Google subsidiary Planetary Labs signed a $1.2 billion, 60-year lease to manage Moffett Federal Airfield. The lease included three hangars, one of which once housed the massive navy airship USS Macon. The airship is being built inside one of the refurbished hangars.
For the rest of us, there may be some fringe perks. A tech billionaire secretly building a massive airship is rife with entertainment possibilities. It’s a tailor-made subplot for a future season of Silicon Valley. Or the setting of a climactic action sequence in a James Bond film. Brin and other tech billionaires love their larger-than-life toys. The trouble is, so do the supervillains of popular culture.