We All Leave a Legacy

Robert Friedman

June 20, 2019
seedling in hand

“Legacy. What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”

– Lin Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

People often wonder why the word legacy features so prominently in our name and in our mission. 

Some find it anachronistic, some find it elitist, and some aren’t quite sure what it means. In a recent survey, when asked what people considered their legacy, 14% of respondents simply stated “my children”.

At Permanent, we believe the idea of a legacy is fundamental to human dignity. We believe that all people leave a legacy that deserves to be preserved. While not all of us will have award winning musicals produced about our lives, we all have an important and meaningful impact on the world around us.

Your legacy is the wisdom you gained over a lifetime of experiences, the family you’ve nurtured through the good times and the bad, the community you’ve cultivated around you, the home you built to withstand the storm, the business you grew from the ground up, or the beautiful music and art you created or collected.

Your legacy is composed of your most cherished memories, stories, and knowledge; your most important records, documents and materials.

“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

― Michelle Obama, Becoming 

What is a digital legacy?

In a digital world, our legacy will be digital too. But the promise and the peril of our digital world is exactly that: what will be our digital legacy?

Certainly, if the slow, simmering frustration, cynicism, resignation and sometimes outrage towards big tech emergent over the last few years is any indication, our digital legacy is not looking so good.

It has become too easy to create too much stuff. There are so many duplicate photos and videos in our camera rolls, endless loose files on our hard drives and countless trivial moments shared to our feeds. It can be hard to cut through the noise to reach what matters most. 

Your digital legacy should be more than the unimaginable volumes of digital junk mail that you’ve accumulated over a lifetime. We want you to take control of your digital legacy, to preserve what defines you and make your digital legacy a gift for future generations.

What is a permanent legacy?

In a constantly shifting digital world of subscriptions services, preserving the digital legacy of all people requires a fundamentally new kind of organization.

The Permanent Legacy Foundation applies the tried-and-true institutional models of preservation – used by museums, libraries, universities, and faith based organizations throughout modern history – and leverages the accessibility and scale of commercial cloud storage to provide perpetually accessible data storage.

Through this combination of a traditional organizational model and modern technology, we can permanently preserve the digital legacies of all people, for the historical and educational benefit of future generations.

What will be your legacy?

What does your digital legacy look like now? Where does it live? How will your loved ones gain access to it?

The question of what you should leave for others is a complex one, so start where you are. There’s no one right way to tell your story. No matter what it is, we are building a safe place for it, for all time. 

What seed will you plant?