Christian Long

Richard Branson: Life at 30,000 Feet

In TED Talks on April 11, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Reflection by ADAM K.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Richard Branson:  Life at 30,000 Feet

Sir Richard Branson, is the owner of one of the most well known brands in the world, the Virgin brand. The Virgin brand is well known with companies such as Virgin records, Virgin mobile, and Virgin Atlantic Airways. The Virgin brand is not as well known in America as it is in Great Britain and many other European countries, due to it being a British company. The net worth of Virgin Group Ltd as of September 2008 is £5.01 billion, which figures to about 7.7 billion U.S. dollars.

How did it start?

Richard Branson was a dyslexic kid, who did poorly in school in terms of grades, but excelled in sports, he was the captain of his school’s football (soccer) and cricket team. At around the age of 16, he dropped out of school. Society tells us that if we are successful in school, then we will be successful at life, and dropping out of school will result in you being unsuccessful. Richard Branson along with a couple other great minds defy that concept, he created a huge brand from a small record shop. He did this with the help of his parents and friends, He did not do this through simple investments and smart decision, he took risks, in business and his life. Richard Branson grew a small record shop to a huge record company,Virgin Records, and after he grew this record company by signing on contreversial groups, such as the Sex Pistols. He created Virgin Atlantic Airways, and sold his record company for a billion dollards to fund it. One of his business associates said “you [Richard Branson] were trading, the world’s fourth biggest record company for the 25th biggest airline, you are out of your mind.” The last part of that quote sums up what Richard Branson quite nicely, he was taking a humongous risk, he was “out of his mind”, selling a very profitable record company to fund a whole new airline.


”I [Richard Branson] love taking on the status quo and trying to turn it upside down.”, That’s what he did, he changed the status quo, he took a huge risk and it paid off, In the year to February 2009, Virgin Atlantic carried 5.77 million passengers and made an annual profit of £68.4 million on turnover of £2,580 million. As a famous business entrepreneur, Ray Kroc said “If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.”

Business is all about risk, sometimes it pays off sometimes it doesn’t.

Recently he was created Virgin Galactic, a company that provides space tours for a couple hundred thousand, this is a whole new industry. Originally only astronauts went to space and that was for scientific purposes, but now civilians are allowed to go to The Final Frontier for money. To boldly go where only a few have gone before, this project itself is also bold, to go to space costs a lot of money, but to make the ships that go to space costs even more money. If no one wants to go to space then Richard Branson goes broke, but if they do he becomes even more rich, that’s risk. Richard Branson didn’t just take risk’s in business, but took risks in life. He is constantly making attempts at creating world records and has crashed many a time because of it. In one instance he was in a hot air balloon, attempting at being the first person to cross the Atlantic in a hot air balloon and he crashed into the sea and survived, he could have died, he took a risk and failed, but fortunately survived to tell the tale. He’s dropped out of school, created a giant record company, sold it to start an airline, gone to space, and has tried to break a couple world records, that’s risk.

Sometimes you will succeed and sometimes you will fail, that’s life, and that is what Sir Richard Branson has done.


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