Just finished reading Business Stripped Bare the last book written by Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin. The book is more than autobiography, it shows how his personality helped him to built one of the biggest fortunes in the world and enabled him to do stuff like this:
The book is pretty good in general but the most interesting chapter is the one that explains how they built the “Virgin” brand, how they have been really careful about reputation, quality and public image when launching new products/services/companies. These are some paragraphs and sentences from the book that I liked:
So one afternoon in the pub, I said to our team: “Let’s do it ourselves. Let’s set up our own record company and release Mike Oldfield as one of our first LPs on our own Virgin Record label.” Everyone thought I’d had one glass too many.
Enterpreneurship is business’s beating heart. Entrepeurneurship isn’t about capital; it’s about ideas.
What you’re bad at actually doesn’t interest people, and it certainly shouldn’t interest you. However accomplished you become in life, the things you are bad at will always outnumber the things your’re good at. So don’t let your limits knock your self-confidence. Put them to one side and push yourself towards your strengths.
In business, as in life, all that matters is that you do something positive.
One of our parties got a little out of hand and the local paper declared on its front page that it had become an orgy, in which drunk young people coupled indiscriminately in the nightclub car park. Good luck to them, I thought: since outside it was minus ten degrees with a foot of snow. Accurate or not, this nonsense was better than a full-page recruitment advert – the following week we were inundated with people wanting to work at Virgin Mobile!
I phoned Freddie Laker and he told me I didn’t need to buy a plane – that wasn’t the way it was done. He explained that the banks bought the planes in a deal with either Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed or McDonnell Douglas, and the airlines leased the planes, guaranteeing to pay monthly fees. I put in a lot of the legwork to find out all I could about starting an airline. We registered the name Virgin Atlantic and submitted our application for the slots. The I found the Boeing telephone number through international directory enquiries. The actual conversation still makes me laugh. I remember calling Seattle and asking to be put through to the senior vice president of sales. “Hello, this is Richard Branson from Virgin here and I’m interested in acquiring a secondhand 747,’ I said in my politest English accent.
The guy at the other end said: “What does your company actually do?”
“Well,” I said, “we put our bands like the Sex Pistols, Boy George and the Rolling Stones.”
“Oh. Really? What did you say your company was called? Virgin?”
He took my details. And jokingly said at the end of our conversation: “With a name like Virgin, as long as your airline goes the whole way, we’ll consider selling you a plane!”
Enjoy your life, you only get one.