Richard Branson

Richard Branson99 posts

Richard Branson is an English businessman. He founded Virgin Records, which grew into the Virgin Group. He is currently working on Virgin Galactic, a space tourism business.

10 Jan, 2018
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McGregor vs Branson face off

Other Awards

McGregor receives a lifetime achievement award at the Pendulum Summit in Dublin, from the annual business summit group that attracts rich corporate leaders from across Europe. When McGregor goes to the stage to be given the award by Branson, they both take off their shirts and face off. McGregor:

He is not a knighted Sir on this soil.

Conor McGregor vs. Richard Branson Face Off in Dublin

1 Feb, 2017
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Obamas lunch with Branson

The former President and First Lady have lunch with Branson and his family on the island of Anegada. Barack wears a black Nike polo shirt and shorts and a baseball cap. Michelle wears her hair in braids underneath a sun hat which she pairs with a white beach dress.

2 Nov, 2015
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Announces SS2 testing

Announcement

Virgin 2Branson says the second SpaceShipTwo will be ready to start testing by February 2016. SpaceShipTwo is designed to bring six passengers up to suborbital space before bringing them back down to Earth. All the building and testing of the suborbital craft is all being done in-house at Virgin Galactic, a handover that was in the works before the 2014 accident. CEO Whitesides:

I think we are in a much better place than we might have expected in the period immediately after (last year’s) accident, and that’s because our team came together, our customers stuck with us, and honestly, we believe that the vehicle itself is sound.

While Branson is not giving a firm date for the inaugural flight of SpaceShipTwo — with himself and his family among the passengers — he believes the company is on the right track.

We’ll be unveiling the new spaceship and then we go into flight tests. That’s one thing I’m never going to be in a hurry on. We just have to see how it goes.

10 Dec, 2014
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Women’s Wear Daily interview

Interview

Branson discusses the first Virgin Hotel, set to open in Chicago on January 15, in an interview with Women’s Wear Daily.

We had been looking at a number of properties for our first location but what truly excited us about Chicago were the friendly people and also the building. The Old Dearborn Bank really captured our attention with its 1920s architecture, and gave us the challenge to restore many of its existing features and give it a second life. Not too long ago, I got to see the interior, and the juxtaposition between old and new is fantastic.

4 Dec, 2014
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Starts Virgin Cruises

Virgin Group announces it is starting Virgin Cruises as a ‘hip and cool’ alternative to Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line. Richard Branson statement:

We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love. They’ll be sailing on the latest ships offering great quality, a real sense of fun, and many exciting activities all delivered with the famed Virgin service.

12 Nov, 2014
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Dispels Led Zeppelin rumor

Branson disputes the story first reported by The Daily Mirror that he offered an 800 million contract to the members of Led Zeppelin to do a reunion tour.

As much as I love the band, there is absolutely no truth to the story

3 Nov, 2014
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Will take Virgin Galactic’s first flight

Branson tells CNN Money that he will still be on Virgin Galactic’s first flight to take tourists into space, even after the crash of SpaceShip Two during a test flight.

There is no way I would ask others to go on a Virgin Galactic flight if I didn’t feel it was safe enough for myself.

1 Nov, 2014
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Statement

Branson says he is “determined to find out what went wrong” and learn from the tragedy.

This is obviously a very tough time for everybody who works at Virgin Galactic, who works at The Spaceship Company, and who works for Scaled Composites. And most importantly our thoughts remain with the families of the brave Scaled pilots and all those who have been affected by this tragedy. We are determined to find out what went wrong and are working with the authorities to get that information. It is too early for me to add any details of the investigation at this stage. We’ve always known that commercial space travel in an incredibly hard project. We’ve be undertaking a comprehensive testing program for many years and safety has always been our number one priority. This is the biggest test program ever carried out in commercial aviation history, precisely to ensure that this never happens to the public.

Branson: Determined to find out what went wrong

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SpaceShipTwo crashes, one dead, one injured

Virgin Galactic reports a test flight of SpaceShipTwo, launched a 9:19am by its partner Scaled Composites, led to the “loss of the vehicle” after a “serious anomaly”.

Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft explode in flight. Doug Messier, a blogger who runs the website Parabolic Arc, which reports on space news,  witnesses the crash from Jawbone Station, which is on a ridge overlooking the desert where the craft crashed.

We saw the twin contrails of WhiteKnightTwo overhead. They do that prior to a drop. SpaceShipTwo dropped. From what I could tell, motor fired and then stopped then fired again. I think that’s what happened. [It appeared that SpaceShipTwo] broke apart and started coming down in pieces over the desert. We started seeing clouds of dirt where pieces of the ship came down. One after another. At least three. Debris from the ship was scattered all over the road.

The WhiteKnightTwo aircraft, which carries the SpaceShipTwo, lands safely.

A California Highway Patrol spokesperson said two people were found near the crash in the desert north of California City and east of Mojave. One of the individuals had parachuted out of the aircraft, and another was located near the scene as well. The FAA:

Just after 10 a.m. PDT today, ground controllers at the Mojave Spaceport lost contact with SpaceShipTwo, an experimental space flight vehicle. The incident occurred over the Mojave Desert shortly after the space flight vehicle separated from WhiteKnightTwo, the vehicle that carried it aloft. Two crew members were on board SpaceShipTwo at the time of the incident. WhiteKnightTwo remained airborne after the incident. The FAA is investigating.

First video of Virgin Galactic space shuttle crash

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Flight to test new rocket fuel

richard-branson-spaceship-2SpaceShipTwo is scheduled to test a new plastic-based rocket fuel for the first time, in its first powered flight in nine months. Engineers were switching out the previous engine, which burned rubber-based fuel. Scaled Composites is reported to have previously experienced problems with the rocket on the ground. The new motor is intended to push SpaceShip Two five times higher than it had ever flown before—to the edge of space 62 miles above the Earth. Maximum speed iss expected to reach about 2,500 miles an hour during its ascent.

29 Sep, 2014
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Plans $3.25 billion Virgin Money listing

Branson is expected to announce plans this week to list Virgin Money in London. The deal is expected to be worth £2 billion pounds ($3.25 billion) overall and will add several hundred million pounds to Branson’s net worth. The Virgin Group owns 47% of the company and U.S. investor Wilbur Ross owns the remainder.

26 Sep, 2014
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Fly anywhere in the world in 30 minutes

Branson tells CNN that Galactic’s spaceship technology can be used for rapid air travel:

We’re building spaceships and we’ll initially be sending them into space. And then in time we’ll be manufacturing spaceships that go tremendous speeds and we’ll be transporting people around the world in spaceships at speeds that make Concorde look quite slow … ‘Fast’, if we can pull it off, is 18-and-a-half thousand miles an hour, which means that anywhere in the world you want to go, you get there in half an hour.

25 Sep, 2014
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Unlimited vacation time

Branson gives his personal staff unlimited vacation time. The policy applies to around 170 staff in the Virgin head offices in the UK and U.S., and may be introduced for the 50,000 employees of Virgin Group if it is successful. The idea starts when his daughter Holly sends him an article about a similar policy at Netflix. Branson:

It is left to the employee alone to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off, the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a hundred per cent comfortable that they and their team are up to date on every project and that their absence will not in any way damage the business – or, for that matter, their careers!

19 Sep, 2014
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Expecting grandchildren

Branson expects to become a grandparent twice in 2015:

Being a grandparent is going to be a lot of fun. Both Holly and Sam’s wife are having children in 2015, so I’m looking forward to spoiling them and seeing my family’s happiness increase.

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WSJ interview

Interview

Branson is interviewed for the Wall Street Journal and says that most of his disruptive efforts are in philanthropy:

On the pure business side, we’re going to try to get people who would never dream of going on a cruise ship to go on Virgin Cruises. That’s something we’re just starting to build.

The technology he is most excited about:

The small satellites we’re developing, which will be quite transformative in the world. Through a big array of these satellites, billions of people who don’t have mobile-phone access will be able to get it very cheaply. It’ll give them Wi-Fi access, which means they’ll be able to get an education and health information. If a plane disappears, we’ll be able to know exactly where it is. If there’s an illegal fishing boat, we’ll be able to pinpoint it.

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‘Change starts today’

Branson says that despite the No vote for independence, the referendum will create significant change for Scotland:

This referendum has not only been a driver of change for Scotland, but also for the entire political landscape of the UK.

As well as the promise of increased powers for Holyrood, it has strengthened the debate over devolution throughout the UK, including the so-called West Lothian question over whether Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish members of parliament can vote on matters that only affect England:

Radical devolution of powers is the way forward for the UK.

Westminster must deliver:

The Scottish people should be proud of the turnout of this referendum. It was a great example of democracy. Now Parliament must deliver on devolving more powers to Scotland and the rest of the UK.

18 Sep, 2014
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Branson: Devolve more powers

Branson says Scotland can have the best of both worlds by staying in the UK:

By voting to stay together, Scotland can gain more devolution, combined with the security, strength and prosperity of being a valued part of the UK.

The UK can learn from Virgin‘s structure:

We have more than 100 companies that work independently, with a lot of power to make their own decisions, but remain under the Virgin umbrella. This gives them lots of freedom, while also providing the security and strength of the Virgin brand.

If Scotland chooses to stay together, the powers the Scottish parliament gain could be an example for devolution elsewhere in the UK:

In the coming decades I believe more power should be devolved regionally, and to big cities like Manchester, London, Liverpool, Cardiff and Birmingham. Smaller teams focusing upon local issues can achieve more, provided they have the support being a part of the UK provides.

17 Sep, 2014
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Would love to say Yes, but can’t

Branson tells 5 News that he would love to endorse Scottish independence, but the uncertainty for Scotland and the UK is too great:

The rogue in me would love to say yes but the pragmatic entrepreneur has looked at [it] and I firmly believe Scottish people should remain part of the UK but have a lot more powers devolved to them

A big risk is higher taxes choking any benefit from independent economic policies to create jobs:

There is enormous wealth pouring into Britain from overseas, a lot of great businesses setting up… and a lot of those tax benefits will not be forthcoming to Scotland. My wife is from Glasgow, my mother is from Edinburgh, they both said if we had done it 30 years ago they would have voted yes. But it’s doing it near the end of the oil flows and there’s just not enough assets for Scotland to fall back on.

5 News interview: Richard Branson warns of Scottish tax hike if country votes ‘yes’

14 Sep, 2014
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Guardian interview

Interview

Branson talks to The Guardian about the failure of Virgin Cola:

When we took on Coca-Cola, we had a year in which we were really giving Coke and Pepsi a run for their money and we were very much the underdogs taking on the biggest giant in the world, and when they sent in their big tanks and to an extent crushed us, the public didn’t think any the poorer of the Virgin brand for it. In fact, I would say the Virgin brand was enhanced by the battle.

He doesn’t regret the venture:

The key thing is never to do anything which discredits the brand, like ripping off the public or doing something which you’d feel uncomfortable reading about. If you’re going to go down, go down fighting.

12 Sep, 2014
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Branson: Stronger together

Branson says the UK provides strength against global uncertainty:

Do I think it would be the end of the world if Scotland was to leave the UK? No – people certainly won’t be losing their lives over it. But I do believe Scotland can have the best of both worlds by staying in the UK.

The referendum is in contrast with the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine:

We are very lucky that in the UK we are able to openly debate and that Scotland is able to democratically decide its future.

Branson’s wife is from Glasgow, his mother and grandparents are from Edinburgh, and he visits family in Scotland as well as Virgin’s Scottish companies:

On a personal basis I would love to see Scotland stay as part of the UK. As a businessman, considering Scotland’s economy, prosperity and security, I think it is imperative it stays in the Union.

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Launch delayed again

Branson hopes that Virgin Galactic will be ready for launch by early next year. Despite of the fact that the deadline has been delayed for close to seven years, the company’s developers are giving safety priority over deadlines. CEO George Whitesides:

Customers are eager to fly, but they know we’ll fly them when we feel ready. Obviously we want to do it as quickly as possible, but we don’t want to rush it.

Branson says on NBC’s “Today” show:

We’re now going through the final testing stages. We’ll be doing at least one flight into space before the end of the year. I’ll be going up with my son Sam ‘early-ish’ in the new year.

10 Sep, 2014
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War on drugs is a failure

Branson is interviewed for CNN on drug policy:

It’s simple, rather than treating drugs as a criminal problem, it should be treated as a health problem. And it sounds so obvious. As a businessman, if I’d had a failed business for 50 years, I would have closed it down 49 years ago. But governments have gone on punishing and executing in some places in the world, people over the last 50 years. It hasn’t worked, and we’re urging governments to change tack.

There’s a difference between legal and regulated. And what we’re saying is that drugs very much should be regulated in the same way that cigarettes are regulated or alcohol is regulated. And on that basis, the interesting thing in Portugal is that they’ve taken heroin, for instance, and they’ve said, we’re not going to send people to prison for taking heroin, but what we are going to do is we’re going to have centers where people can go when they have a heroin problem. The state will supply the heroin. The state will supply the clean needles. And the people who come to get their fix must see a psychiatrist, and when they’re ready to come off, the state will supply help to get them off.

9 Sep, 2014
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Commission meets Ban about drug war policy

The Global Commission on Drug Policy supported by Branson meets Ban ahead of the UN’s 2016 session on drugs to lobby the group to adopt recommendations making drugs a health issue instead of a criminal one. The group including Annan, Zedillo, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Cesar Gaviria, Ruth Dreifuss, Michel Kazatchkine, Jorge Sampaio, and Thorvald Stoltenberg hopes the UN will alter ‘dated rhetoric and unrealistic goals’ set in the previous drugs session in 1998. GCDP report:

Punitive drug law enforcement fuels crime and maximizes the health risks associated with drug use, especially among the most vulnerable. Criminal drug producers and traffickers thrive in fragile, conflict-affected and underdeveloped regions, where vulnerable populations are easily exploited. The corruption, violence and instability generated by unregulated drug markets are widely recognized as a threat to both security and development.

Among other findings, it cites statistics showing that almost one in four Russian heroin users is HIV positive. Annan:

The facts speak for themselves. It is time to change course. We need drug policies informed by evidence of what actually works.

It also looks at death rates in the Mexican cartel wars. Former president Zedillo:

Decriminalization of drug consumption is certainly crucial but not sufficient. Significant legal and institutional reforms, both at the national and international levels, are needed to allow governments and societies to put in place policies to regulate the supply of drugs with rigorous medical criteria, if the engines of organized crime profiting from drug traffic are to be truly dismantled.

The recommendations are similar to drug laws that allow regulated cannabis sale points in the Netherlands, some states in the U.S., and recently introduced in Uruguay. They advocate banning crack cocaine and Krokodil, a class of Russian-invented synthetic heroin substitutes that users manufacture from red phosphorous from matchbooks, gasoline, and cough medicine containing codeine or even anaesthetic eye drops, and which cause skin necrosis and brain damage when injected.

3 Sep, 2014
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Delegation allows for personal pursuits

Branson is interviewed for People Development Magazine, and says delegation is key to achieving personal goals outside of business:

I have been fortunate that over the years we have developed an incredibly strong management team to run the Virgin companies. This has allowed me to dedicate the majority of my time to Virgin Unite – the not-for-profit arm of the Virgin Group. Virgin Unite have incubated a number of organisations dedicated to tackling specific issues such as conflict resolution (The Elders), climate change (The Carbon War Room), ocean protection (Ocean Elders) and sustainability (The B Team). I would encourage anyone to try to engage with these organisations and be inspired by what they are trying to achieve. Go out and start something yourself that reflects what they stand for.

It also allows Virgin Unite and Virgin to have a strong digital presence as he is able to update his blog daily.

29 Aug, 2014
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New York Times interview

Interview

Branson is interviewed for the New York Times magazine. On a Virgin employee who stole from him but later went on to discover Boy George:

We hire a lot of ex-convicts, and not one of them has reoffended. They’re just human. I messed up with the tax man when I was a teenager, and I was given a second chance then. If I hadn’t had that second chance, there wouldn’t be 60,000 people working for Virgin today. We wouldn’t be going to space in a few months’ time. Second chances should be allowed. But, I mean, not always.

He is not worried that the $250,000 ticket price for Galactic flights turns space travel into a luxury purchase:

Not at all. If you go back to the 1920s, when aviation started, it cost the equivalent of about $200,000 to cross the Atlantic. Over the years, the price has come down. You’ve got to start somewhere.

23 Aug, 2014
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Wants meeting with Putin

Branson tells CNN Money that he has written an open letter to Putin and wants to meet with the president personally:

We all speak with one voice, and I must have spoken over 100 Russian businessmen, over 100 Ukrainian businessmen, and western businessmen, and every one of us are incredibly sad that the e dreams of what had happened when the Berlin Wall came down of the Russian people being able to trade merrily and go on the holiday with western peoples, with working together to sort out the bigger problems of the world, seems to be diminishing rapidly.

Intervention should be limited to sanctions:

President Putin, I think he needs to realize that Russian business people, and the people who have signed this document, you know, the biggest car manufacturer in Russia, the biggest dairy producers in Russia, the biggest supermarket chain, they are all self- made people who are very saddened and worried a about the way things are going. But the last thing that is needed is military intervention. And, you know, that should be a thing of the past. Further military intervention will result in decades, I think, of Russia being ostracized. It means that Europe won’t buy its fuel from Russia. The people of Russia will suffer, and that is not the answer.

Putin needs to regain the trust of the business community:

We need to get President Putin to feel not that Ukraine should be a part of Europe or Ukraine should be part of Russia, but that we should all be part of one world. I would be delighted to sit down with him and delighted to meet him and be delighted to see whether, you know, issues can be bridged, because they have to be bridged one day. And you know, today is better than waiting for tomorrow.

20 Aug, 2014
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Wants diplomatic solution

Branson tells CNN that he and the leaders of 15 major companies including Unilever, PayPal, and eBay, want a diplomatic solution and to avoid a new Cold War scenario:

I just think it’s extremely sad to see in my lifetime the Berlin Wall coming down, and then a number of years later, all that hope seemingly disappearing. And I have a lot of Russian friends, a lot of Ukrainian friends, a lot of business leaders from both countries. And I’ve spoken with them, and they’re equally sad. And we felt it was important to speak out to beg our politicians to — through diplomacy to resolve this particular issue. And then, as quickly as possible, to try to get back to the normality that existed between Russia and Europe and the rest of the world after the Berlin Wall came down.

On whether the entrepreneurs will seek a meeting with Putin:

The first important thing that’s happening is that the president of Ukraine is meeting with President Putin next week, and let’s hope that something positive comes out of that. If that fails, then the group of people that we’ve put together, the group of Russian business leaders would be delighted to meet up with President Putin and see whether a compromise can be reached. The group of Ukrainian business leaders that we have onboard would be delighted to sit with the Ukrainian president. And I think we could use our negotiating skills, our entrepreneurial skills to reach a compromise.

On whether Putin is open to diplomacy:

I don’t know. I think that we would be irresponsible if we didn’t give it a try. And I think that he feels that when he got reelected, the West didn’t welcome him into office, that he was somewhat ostracized by the West. And therefore, he’s going it alone somewhat. And I think that whatever caused him to feel that, it’s up to the West, I think, to make it clear that we want Russia to be — ultimately, that we want Russia to be part of Europe, we want to be able to trust each other completely. And that’s what we’ve all got to try to work towards and try to put the last year firmly behind us and try to find a positive way forward.

16 Jun, 2014
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Virgin Atlantic onesie

Branson’s Virgin Atlantic airline is giving away one thousand “onesies” to upper class travelers on overnight flights. The all-in-one unisex slumber suit is designed for style as well as comfort. Model Amber LeBon posed in a onesie for the publicity campaign and has this to say:

As someone who travels a lot I know how important it is to feel comfortable when heading to the skies. As well as wearing my OnePiece onesie on the plane, I’m looking forward to keeping comfy at home in it too.

27 May, 2014
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Tried to persuade Saddam Hussein to resign

Announcement

During a 45-minute question-and-answer Branson says that he, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan were close to persuading Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to resign when the American bombing of Iraq began.

There had to be a better way to get rid of Saddam Hussein than having to kill and maim a lot of people. The after-effects of the Iraqi war and the fallout has been pretty horrendous for a lot of people.

Branson says his non-profit, Virgin Unite, wants to use The Elders, his group that includes Annan, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter, to bring an end to conflicts world-wide.

Obviously, everybody in the world must believe that conflict is no longer necessary in the world today. It’s up to organizations like The Elders to stop conflict from happening in the first place.

22 May, 2014
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Winklevoss Radio starts

In their debut episode, the twins talk with Branson about the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur. Branson:

I think the most successful entrepreneurs are not the people who sit down and think, ‘how can I make lots of money’ … it’s the people like Larry Page who think, ‘I ought to be able to search for something. There’s no place I can do it.’ And they sit in their garage and they make a search machine.

6 May, 2014
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New York to Tokyo in ‘less than a hour’

Branson says he’s hoping to bring back supersonic commercial air travel after getting his Virgin Galactic space venture off the ground.

If we get it right, New York to Tokyo could be less than an hour. You could be traveling at 19,000 miles per hour orbitally. After we’ve done the space program, we will be producing supersonic planes, which will go far, far, faster than [the] Concorde.

Concorde, which could fly from London to New York in three hours, was retired in 2003 by British Airways after 27 years in service.

14 Mar, 2014
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Virgin Money lounges

richard-branson-virgin-money-lounge--manchesterVirgin Money plans to spend about 3 million pounds a year installing and maintaining lounges near its branches. The lounges don’t offer banking services but have Wifi, couches and grand pianos for Money and Northern Rock customers. The company says they increase sales at nearby Money branches by as much as 200%.

11 Feb, 2014
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Statement on pilots

richard-branson-statement-pilotsBranson publishes a statement about the two pilots of SpaceShipTwo. About Alsbury, the co-pilot who was killed:

Someone asked if I knew him. Sadly, I did not know him – because he worked for Scaled Composites – but I had had the privilege of shaking his hand briefly after he’d co-piloted SpaceShipTwo’s first powered flight and on that exciting morning in Mojave I had congratulated him on the achievement.

On Siebold:

I do have the privilege of knowing Pete Siebold, Scaled’s injured test pilot. Pete is Scaled’s director of flight operations and among the incredibly dedicated and talented team helping to realize so many people’s dreams of reaching space. We all wish him a speedy recovery.

24 Jan, 2014
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Bitcoin sales

Branson confirms that Virgin Galactic has made several sales to customers paying with Bitcoin:

There are a lot of people who’ve made lots of money out of Bitcoin, we’ll accept their money and send them to space. We’ve had six or seven space tickets sold already.

He has invested in Bitcoin and supports the idea of a global currency:

I suspect if it’s not Bitcoin somebody like Square will be the people who come up with that currency.

23 Jan, 2014
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Business can lead on gay rights

Branson tells USA Today that business can lead on gay rights:

For those of us in business who are not gay, it is sometimes easier for us than it is for politicians to speak up about this issue

The West is relatively gay-friendly:

What’s going on outside America in terms of the gay rights debate is far more serious than recent news about marriage legislation there. It is absolutely right to support that, but what we really need is the money that was going into the battles from the gay rights activists in the USA to now go into supporting gay rights around the rest of the world. In Uganda, for example, you risk life imprisonment for being gay or for even not reporting someone who is gay. In Russia, the treatment of gay people is abysmal.

20 Jan, 2014
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How to start a business with $7

Branson answers a question for Entrepreneur from a Ugandan person looking to start a business with 18,000 Ugandan shillings, around $7:

If you’re looking to set up a stall to sell goods, the market research may be as straightforward as asking people in your community what they’d like to buy but are having trouble finding in local shops and stalls. As you prepare for launch day, you must ensure that you’re going to be nimble enough to cope with unforeseen problems and to take advantage of any valuable opportunities that arise. A stall or cart offers some advantages in terms of flexibility, because if you notice that a particular type of product is doing especially well, you can more easily transfer your energy and funds to developing that area of the business than a large company ever could. This may mean modifying your original idea.

6 Dec, 2013
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Interview on Mandela

Branson tells CNN that Mandela’s family and friends can now move on:

I think everybody who knew him well is actually relieved for him and for his family, because he was having a very tough last two years. And now — now he can rest in peace and we can move forward.

Mandela wanted to make a difference and was angry when others didn’t:

So even when he stepped down from being president, and he realized that the new government weren’t addressing the problem of HIV and AIDS properly, he decided to speak out. I remember a wonderful concept, the 46664 concert where he got up on stage and told people in Africa, ‘Look, you’ve got to protect yourself. You’ve got to look after yourself.’ And he told governments, you know, you’ve got to help get anti-viral drugs, you have to save millions of people instead of letting millions of people die.

That led to The Elders:

And almost everything he touched he made the right decisions, and as far as his legacy is concerned, he did set up The Elders. He wanted — he didn’t want his life to be wasted. So he chose the 12 men and women that he felt had the greatest moral authority in the world, who could carry on his good works for many, many years to come (inaudible) that they felt strongly about and could also go in and try to address conflicts in the world. And so people like Archbishop Tutu, Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson, President Carter from America. You know, Lakhdar Brahimi is working on this Syrian crisis and so on. So an extraordinary group of people.

22 Nov, 2013
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Accepts Bitcoin payments

Branson announces that Virgin Galactic is accepting Bitcoin:

The first ticket we sold was actually today was to a stewardess in Hawaii who made quite a a lot of money by getting into Bitcoin early on.

The company transferred the ticket price into dollars:

So there’s a fixed price … [and] we can actually pay her money back, if she changes her mind about going to space in a few months.

If Virgin Galactic didn’t have a refund policy, it might be willing to conduct a pure Bitcoin transaction.

Richard Branson on Bitcoin – Virgin Galactic Accepts Bitcoin

17 Nov, 2013
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Necker reopens

richard-branson-necker-reopensGreat-House-MasterBedroomTerrace-78-300x200Branson reopens Necker to the public, at $60,000 a day for a maximum of 30 guests. The Great House is rebuilt with eight double rooms with balconies and a Master suite with three terraces. Bali Hai, Bali Cliff and Bali Beach are located on a promontory away from the main house and share a plunge pool. Bali Lo, Bali Buah, and Bali Kukila, in the middle of the island, have a private pool. In September and October, individual rooms are rented, with a seven-night minimum. Great House double rooms are $27,475, the Bali Houses cost $29,750, and the Master Suite is $45,000. The island features lemurs and tortoises. Rates include boat transfers meals, drinks, tennis and water sports, and a calypso band for an evening.

4 Oct, 2013
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Huffington Post interview

Interview

Branson is interviewed for Huffington Post. On who is currently the most important person in philanthropy:

The first person that comes to mind is Jochen Zeitz, the former CEO of Puma, who is the co-founder of The B Team (which, like Carbon War Room, was started with Virgin Unite).

Carbon War Room’s contributions to tech innovation:

Well, for example, we are using tech to help get 20 gigatons of carbon out of the atmosphere to balance the Earth’s books. And tech is always innovating — now, the same guy who designed your iPad is now trying to save a lot of energy in homes, making it more affordable.

30 Sep, 2013
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Hiring op-ed

Branson writes in Entrepreneur that hiring is the most important role for a CEO:

During the job interview, you need to find ways to decide whether a candidate fits with your company culture. One great way to test this may be to ask two or three of the employees who would work with this person to join you at some point in the interview, and to come prepared with a few of their own questions.

A resume doesn’t give a complete picture:

Above all, don’t get hung up on qualifications. A person who has multiple degrees in your field isn’t always better than someone who has broad experience and a great personality.

Hiring managers should take chances:

A maverick who sees opportunities where others see problems can energize your entire group.

Bring in new people when the business is stale:

Two of the Virgin Group’s higher-profile hires were John Borghetti, now the CEO of Virgin Australia, and Craig Kreeger, Virgin Atlantic’s CEO. John had worked at Quantas Airlines and Craig had worked at American Airlines, so they knew our competition well, and were able to give us a fresh take on our business

28 Sep, 2013
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New space race

Branson is interviewed on CNN about private competition in space:

I think it’s the start of a new space race. It’s not been easy. It’s taken us five years more than we thought it would take. But finally they pulled it off.

His children will be on the flight:

People risked a lot to get space off the ground in the first place, but unless you risk something, the world stays still.

The first customers will be the wealthiest 1%:

Initially it’s very much the wealthiest who will use it, but through these wealthy people being willing to be pioneers I think millions of people will one day have the chance to go to space.

7 Aug, 2013
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Jetset Magazine interview

Interview

Jetset Magazine publishes an interview with Branson. He discusses treating drugs as a health problem rather than a criminal problem:

I’m part of a global commission on drugs, which is basically 15 ex-presidents and myself who have looked at the war on drugs and seen that it’s been a failure. What we want to see happen is for governments to experiment with different approaches. The current approach has definitely not worked. We don’t want people harmed, we want people helped. We want laws changed.

1 Aug, 2013
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‘Workspace’

richard-branson-workspaceBranson comments on his workspace:

I work surrounded by people.

3 Jun, 2013
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London Business School interview

Interview

Branson is interviewed for the London School of Business and Finance by David Blunkett. On the role of universities:

Universities should be encouraging people to run their businesses within the university, where entrepreneurs, teachers and students can share ideas and help each other. We need to encourage entrepreneurs to stay within the confines of universities and get the support they need.

Interaction with education providers:

Through technology, businesses could be tapping into a lot of students in universities worldwide, making the time we spend exchanging values and ideas far more useful. Entrepreneurs have a different way of doing things and they can look into situations, with the benefit of experience, and help governments and social sectors to tackle things in a better way.

His plans to study as a mature student:

When I was 40 I said to my wife ‘I’m taking two years off to go to university’, and she said ‘It’s a midlife crisis – you’re just after those young ladies at the university.

LSBF Great Minds Series: Richard Branson on Education & Entrepreneurship

13 May, 2013
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In drag on Air Asia flight

Branson shaves his legs and wears red lipstick, eyeliner, false eyelashes and a pigtail along with his high heels, stockings, and red Air Asia stewardess uniform after losing a bet with Tony Fernandes. He performs a safety demonstration on an Air Asia flight from Perth to Kuala Lumpur, pours drinks, serves meals, and makes inflight announcements. Tickets for the flight are $400 with $100 going to the Starlight Children’s Foundation in Australia. Charity bidders raise another $200,000 for the foundation in return for the chance to shave Branson’s legs before the flight.

This has been a real first for me but I have enjoyed the experience and I have nothing but respect for what our fabulous flight attendants do every day to keep us safe.

Richard Branson's Safety Demon onboard AirAsia X Flight PER-KUL 12 May

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