Richard BransonTED TalksVirgin Airlines

Life At 30,000 Feet

Mar 2007

Branson speaks with Chris Anderson of TED about running businesses:

I think I learned early on that if you can run one company, you can really run any companies. I mean, companies are all about finding the right people, inspiring those people, you know, drawing out the best in people.

Virgin Airlines nearly took down the entire business empire:

I think that there’s a very thin dividing line between success and failure. And I think if you start a business without financial backing, you’re likely to go the wrong side of that dividing line. We had — we were being attacked by British Airways. They were trying to put our airline out of business, and they launched what’s become known as the dirty tricks campaign. And I realized that the whole empire was likely to come crashing down unless I chipped in a chip. And in order to protect the jobs of the people who worked for the airline, and protect the jobs of the people who worked for the record company, I had to sell the family jewelry to protect the airline.

At the time of the interview, Virgin has about $25 billion dollars total revenue and 55,000 employees.

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