About the author
Richard Branson is the chairman of Virgin, he is ranked 5th in the richest businessmen Group in the UK and ranked 254th in the Forbes list of billionaires in 2011. He is the author of the famous autobiography "The Way Out a big sea".
Lessons that the author has experienced through business and life. With an open view, a liberal way of thinking, combining a humorous tone, ideas and philosophies have been shared in a profound and very interesting way.
Part 1 – Let's do it
My motto is "do it up". If you want to fly a plane, go to the airport and ask for a cup of tea; If you want to be a fashion designer, apply for a job as a sweeper at a fashion company, open your eyes wide and learn.
When I was 16 years old, a boarding school at Stowe School, I had a project to create a Student magazine. Many people laughed and said that I was too young and inexperienced, that opposition strengthened my resolve, I became more determined.
My schoolmate Jonny Gems joined me in the planning. We list the types of articles to do, calculate all costs, how to publish them, contact advertising agencies, interview famous personalities or bands like James Baldwin, Jean Paul Sartre, ban music The Beatles; The Rolling Stones etc… by public phone or by mail. I hone my communication and sales skills and never reveal that I'm a 16-year-old student.
After that, I received £2,500 in advertising money enough to pay for the first 30,000 copies, I was very happy and the paper was known to many people. The Daily Telegraph writes: “It is possible that Student, a flashy magazine that attracts many prominent journalists, will become one of the largest circulation magazines in the country.”
When there's a new opportunity, I take it. We contacted a shoe store in a prime location of the city, convinced the owner to lease the remaining space so that we could open a record store, which is also a place for young people to meet, listen to music, select disc. Virgin record store was born. Not long after, shops were growing in all major cities, and I was only 20 years old at the time.
In 1984, I sponsored a ship to compete for the Blue Riband Award for Britain. The first time it failed, the ship sank in a storm, I almost died. But then I was still determined to compete next year, also going through many hardships and dangers at sea, in the end we won, broke the record of the Blue Riband, delighted at everyone's welcome.
After that, I and the famous Swedish explorer joined the transatlantic trip by hot air balloon, we were the first people to cross the Atlantic by this vehicle. From the US we flew to Ireland in just 29 hours. The danger is many times more than passing a ship on the water.
The whole trip was a wonderful experience. If you really want to do something, go for it. You will never succeed if you don't overcome your fear and get to work.
Part 2 – Have fun
I have no secret in business. I work hard, enjoy my job and believe I can do it, and have to balance work and play. Always cheerful, know how to love and respect others.
I entered the business not to get rich, but to challenge in life. Work happily and you will have money, I don't know why. But if a job isn't fun, I don't do it anymore. I also had unsuccessful money making plans, but I learned a lot from them. Christmas tree idea is great, I bought 400 seedlings grown in my garden for £5, only 18 months later I will sell for £2 each, I will make a profit of £795, it's real money and well worth it is awaited. Unfortunately, after the rabbits ate all my pine trees, the expectation was gone.
Since Virgin Records was thriving and I poured all my cash into signing bands in Jamaica, I had a new goal, looking to buy an island in the Caribbean so I could be a free tour guest. fees to visit and survey, reward the poetic beauty of the islands. When they knew I didn't have enough money to buy the island, they let us and some other people wander on the island, the flight was canceled again, no one knew what to do. I was quick-witted, rented a $2,000 plane, divided that price by the number of passengers, I got free and made a little extra profit. The idea of Virgin airline was born from there.
When I return to London, I still aim to buy Necker Island. I have to raise all the money including a bank loan. Necker is a beautiful place now, and my friends and family often gather there. My companies continue to thrive, but I have always been interested in environmental protection and social work. Don't just focus on making money. Success, happiness and lasting satisfaction will never come if profit is your sole aim in business.
Part 3 – Be Bold!
I often hire people who are smart and have something different, they have good ideas and I always listen, I often say to them: “Believe in yourself, be bold but not reckless.” .
In 1984, I decided to invest in the transatlantic airline Virgin Atlantic, which the Virgin Records partners objected to because they were afraid of too much risk. I want to live to the fullest, I want to reach new goals, we want to build from our own ideas, not invest in an established company. Only a plane, a maximum level of financing, and a new company set up its way. In the end, my co-founders reluctantly agreed. “Beware of British Airways' dirty tricks. Those tricks have made me bankrupt", is the advice of the owner of the bankrupt Skytrain airline. I do not choose cheap service, major airlines can devalue, I offer quality service, comfort and attentive care for passengers. I was bold and risky but not stupid.In the end Virgin Atlantic succeeded to the surprise of many of its competitors.
My next venture project was the Virgin rail train in 1991. I took the idea I learned from the “Shinkansen” also known as the Japanese “bullet train”, which runs smooth, fast and clean like a machine. fly back applied to renovate the British railway system. We manufacture the Pendolino, the most advanced tilting ship in the world. Once again we were ahead of everyone and were very proud when the media thought we had delivered on our promise.
Part 4 – Challenge yourself
If you challenge yourself, you will grow, your life will change. It is the challenges that have brought us from hole-eaters to reaching for the stars. From an early age, I was up to challenges. Faced with a challenge, my mother would often encourage me: “You can do it, Ricky!” and she never said "impossible".
When I was 5 years old, during the summer vacation, going back to the seaside to relax, in front of the very high waves, I looked at the waves with lust. "I'll give you 10 Silings when you can swim," said Ms. Joyce. Day by day I'm swimming in the sea, drinking liters of sea water but still can't swim, it's so boring!
The following summer, on the way home, I saw a river, I asked my father to stop the car, the river seemed deep and fast, I looked for a muddy, shallow slope and jumped down, from there when I got to the middle of the river. , I drowned, choked on water, I came up, somehow I took a deep breath and was able to float, I jumped in a circle. I was able to swim. The whole family laughed and Miss Joyce gave me 10 siling.
When I was in school, there was one thing I couldn't do well and that was reading. No matter how hard I try, reading and writing is still difficult for me. When the school held an essay contest, I entered. What surprised everyone was that I won that contest. Since then I am confident, I focus on difficult words and practice pronunciation better, my learning has improved. Winning the essay contest inspired me to start Student magazine.
Later, when I grew up, I ventured to participate in ocean crossings in hot air balloons, these are extremely dangerous challenges, life and death are only a few inches apart. Writer James Ullman said: “Challenge is the core and main driving force in all human action. If there is an ocean, we will cross it. If there is a high mountain, we will conquer it. If there is a disease, we will cure it.”
Part 5 – Standing on your own feet
My parents' generation went through two wars, so the word indulgent isn't in their dictionary. So, they taught us to stand on our own two feet.
The first lesson I practiced when I was 4 years old, we were on our way home a few kilometers from home, my mother stopped the car and told me to find my way home through the fields, it was the first challenge in my life. I never forget my life. The older you get, the harsher these lessons become. When I was 12 years old, one morning, after breakfast, my mother gave me a lunch box and an apple for lunch. “You'll probably find water on the way,” my mother waved goodbye as I set off on a 24km bike ride to the south coast. My mom didn't forget to give me a map in case I got lost. I had to spend the night at a relative's house and come home the next day. Such lessons are more and more because our parents want us to become strong and self-reliant.
At home, my parents don't tell us anything is going on, we usually talk business in the evening, we know what the world really is like, my brother and I have helped my mother a lot. Very interesting earning plan. Through those lessons, I got into the habit of believing in myself and my own goals.
In 1986, Virgin was a big company, revenue increased by 60% per year, I was advised to equitize the company, although I did not want to, but I had to accept because we were very disappointed with the way the companies worked. Bankers, they transfer money very slowly, affecting the business of the company. Virgin has attracted massive publicity, surpassing any stock market launch.
However, I soon began to hate the workings of the London financial district. Every time I sign big contracts I have to consult a board of directors, many of whom are not very knowledgeable about the music business. I often make quick decisions and act on instinct, so I feel suffocated by bureaucracy.
After that, the stock market crashed, causing the stock to drop rapidly, although it was not my fault, but I felt that everyone was disappointed. I decided to buy back all the shares for the price people had paid for them - although it was not necessary to do so - £182 million enough to retain my freedom, my reputation and my individuality. Virgin is back as a private company, I'm relieved.
Part 6 – Living in the present
In 1997, I went with Per and Alex on a hot air balloon trip around the world. The flight encountered many dangers, sometimes the situation was close to death, I wished to escape death and if I escaped, I would never do this again.
However, the challenge was something I couldn't resist. In 1998, I continued to fly around the world by hot air balloon from Marrakech over the Atlas Mountains and then over to Libya, Colonel Qaddfi forbade us to fly over his country, over the phone, I asked him to imitate, we fly over Afghanistan, over Mount Everest, over China, across the Pacific Ocean. I think it is more than enough for one person in life with such wonderful experiences. Before reaching Hawaii, we fell into the sea, and were rescued by a helicopter. I met my family and close friends again. God, this is the perfect party.
My grandmother was someone who always lived her life to the fullest, at 89 she won the advanced Latin American dance competition. At the age of 90, she became the oldest person to hit a hole in golf with just one stroke. When she was 99 years old, she sailed around the world, my father said: "We only have one life, so we must enjoy it to the fullest". My mother's parents are the same, even at the age of 80 they still regularly travel around the world. Their example reminds me to always enjoy life.
To make life more complete we always try to be kind to everyone, as my pastor said: “If everyone made friends with his enemies, the world would be pleasant and peaceful”. It's even more important to understand that always living in the future can hinder us just as much as dwelling on the past all the time. Many people are always looking ahead, and they never seem to be satisfied. Personally, although the plans for the coming months in my memo book are full, I have learned to live in the present.
Part 7 – Cherish your family and friends
Although I have been taught to stand on my own two feet, I would be lost without family and loyal friends.
When Nik came to see us working on Student magazine, he was shocked to see that we were managing money with a box of biscuits, I knew he was very good at money management, I persuaded him to drop out of school with us causing trouble. build a magazine. Nik took the money from the box of biscuits and deposited it in a bank account and helped us distribute newspapers more efficiently. Then because of a disagreement, Nik quit his job to continue his university studies, but we remained friends.
As Virgin Records was born and grown, Nik came back to us without any resentment. The lesson I've learned is to be frank, resolve the disagreement amicably before it becomes serious.
I dream of a house near Oxford for bands to record. Although he has already borrowed £20,000 from the bank, he is still short of money. My parents allowed me to withdraw the savings account they gave me, then my dad introduced Ms. Joyce so I could borrow more, she said: 'You deserved to win 10 siling when you were a kid, Then how can you not lend me a loan!". Without the help of family and friends, my dreams would not have come true. Each of us needs a strong support network that is family and close friends. Cherish them, they are part of our cause.
Part 8 – Respect
Once I had to go to a meeting, I was late, so I grabbed the necessary paperwork and jumped into a taxi, intending to spend time in the taxi to review the documents to prepare for the meeting.
On the way, the driver shouted: “Ah! I know him. You're Dick Branson, owner of a record label," "Yes, that's right," I said. The driver continued to say without pause: “I am pleased to drive Mr. Branson, I am playing drums for a band, would you like to listen to my demo, you look tired, please stop by my mother's house. Recently drank tea…”. I was very annoyed but didn't want to be rude, tried to listen and stammered: "thank you". The main driver is Phil Collins, a famous singer. I was taught a lesson how important it is to always watch, listen, and be polite.
In 1971, Virgin was famous for selling good music at a cheap price. I received an order from Belgium, no tax when exporting music to Belgium. I directly bought tax-free music from major labels like EMI, took the ferry to France and then drove to Belgium. When I arrived in France, French customs checked the papers, stamped and forced to pay taxes, I could not argue and did not want to pay tax, so I had to bring the goods back. I think I could sell them at Virgin music stores and make a profit of £5,000. It's against the law to do so, but I think I'm circumventing the law a bit and taking advantage of a situation that happened through no fault of my own. Because of greed, I made the fourth trip, just delivered the goods to Phat, stamped the customs and returned. Customs monitored me, so I went into my stores to check, I was shocked when I was arrested, brought back to Dover and imprisoned.
The next day, my mother came to visit, and she said, “I know you learned a lesson, Ricky. It's over, there's no point in regretting it. We have to get up and face this.”
Instead of going to court, we were fined a large amount of money. My mother mortgaged the house for me, her faith in me was too great.
Reputation is everything. If you were starting a business and asked me for advice, I would say, “Be fair in everything. Stop cheating. Don't do anything that keeps you up at night and aim to win."
Part 9 – Gaia Capitalism
From 1972, James Lovelock began to formulate a hypothesis about our planet called the "gaia theory". Gaia embodies Mother Earth as the source of all living and inanimate entities. Mother Earth tenderly nurtures us but is also cruel and merciless. Human actions in one part of the planet are not isolated and affect the entire planet. Deforestation, increasing carbon emissions, polluted farming… all have an impact on our planet. The phenomenon of climate change is obvious. Governments have established the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and voluntary "environmental" organizations have been established. Steve Howard, a coal environmental physicist: "Clearly no one wants to lead on climate change, that's someone else's job." He told me: “Since it's so important to discuss global warming,world-famous entrepreneurs like you can make a difference.”
We decided to change the way Virgin operates globally, we call this approach to business Gaia capitalism, it will help Virgin make a real difference and not be ashamed. If we do not act now to prevent environmental catastrophe, humanity will face extinction. There are many ways to reverse pollution, we must change the transportation system, energy system and production aspects on a global scale, decentralize energy, change the type of fuel we use. we use etc... Personally, I pledge to contribute $3 billion to the development of biofuels. We're giving a $25 million prize to the person who finds the best way to remove carbon from the earth's atmosphere.If every individual in the world slightly changed their way of life in the spirit of respecting Mother Earth, it would create a huge wave to make the world a better place.
Part 10 – Sex appeal
If you're starting a company, a useful lesson is to think carefully about its image and how to promote it. The advertising industry defines a strong brand as a brand with sexual appeal. That means customers love it, crave it – and through it, appeal is young, trendy, fun, exciting, whatever your age.
We wore tight skin-colored suits, covered with a Virgin cell phone, swinging from a very high crane in Times Square in New York, it was a publicity show. New product launch announcement.
I believe in using sex appeal to promote Virgin's image. I asked model Pamela Anderson to be the profile picture of Virgin cola. I suggested making a series of bottles that looked like coca-cola but in the shape of a woman, it was inspired by Pamela, we called it “The Pammy” and we won big.
Part 11 – Let's innovate
When I was 8 years old, I had dyslexia, even though I tried my best to practice spelling, I still found it difficult for a long time, so I was often beaten for my poor grades. I think, if I don't shine in the classroom, then I play to my other advantage. I put all my energy into sports, I became the captain of football, rugby and cricket teams, won many awards, brought achievements to the school. The teachers suddenly mysteriously ignored my shortcomings in class. One important life lesson I learned is to find another way to be successful.
Sadly my glory did not last long when my knee cartilage broke during a game.
In business, when I complained to the CEO of BA, "Your engineers are so bad they could destroy an airplane," his reply was curt. It's one of the risks of working in the airline industry. If he was still attached to popular music, he wouldn't have had this problem." It is a monopolistic habit, always catching others. We chose to take the plane to Ireland for Aer Lingus to service, even though it was expensive and very inconvenient to do so. I learned not to be bullied, or accept things as they are, but to find another way.
Part 12 – Good work
I was raised with the idea that we can all change the world through our obligation to help people and do good when we can.
When I was a student and running Student magazine, I opened a student counseling center to help my peers, through which we have helped many people to solve problems in all aspects. The most important aspect is the issue of gender.
It is often assumed that money is the source of evil. But not really. Money can be used for good deeds. The world's largest charities are founded by the wealthy. In 2004 I founded Virgin Unite, the purpose of the organization is that Virgin employees worldwide join hands to contribute to solving difficult problems of society such as helping cancer patients, aid, homeless people.
In August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, 150,000 refugees went to Jordan, I directed Virgin Airlines staff to bring 40,000 blankets, tons of rice and medical supplies to the refugees.
A few days later, I watched TV and learned that Saddam had taken some British hostages and used them as human shields. I thought, how can I help? Could Saddam exchange hostages for medical supplies? I contacted King Hussein of Jordan to ask the King to negotiate, Saddam set the condition that he would release the sick and women, but he wanted to meet someone important. I think of Edward Heath, former Prime Minister of Great Britain, my dear friend. Edward and I are going to see Saddam. King Hussein said: "Saddam will make sure you are safe." But many people assumed that Saddam would arrest Edward and me and hijack the plane. But we bravely risked a trip because so many people were counting on me. When we were done, we left Iraq with our hostages and crew safe, and we were relieved and celebrated all the way back.The “rescue mission” in Iraq made me extremely happy.
Part 13 – Let's soar
My fascination with aviation comes from many directions. First of all, I was influenced by my family. My mother was the first woman in the world to be an excellent flight attendant and pilot. I also love hot air balloons, every time I fly up into the stratosphere, I have a feeling of how fascinated the universe is. I was one of the children of the 1960s who witnessed a man landing on the moon.
In 1996, Dr. Peter Diamandis shocked when he announced the Ansari X_Prize award for the first private manned space flight. In 1999, we registered the name Virgin Galactic and started researching several projects to try to win the X_Prize prize. In the end, Burt's Space Ship One won the X_Prize award. After that, I also bought the license to build Space Ship to build a fleet of spaceships according to Space Ship One's technology. Virgin Galactic was officially launched in September 2006.
My intention is to send ordinary people into space in the near future. Me, my parents and my two children were the first passengers to launch the Space Ship Two. The market we researched for this particular product is space travel.
No goal is unattainable, and even the impossible becomes possible for those who have a vision and believe in themselves.
The makers say they want to bring Superman into the modern age by using Virgin instead of NASA. I think Superman is always in the future. That's where I've always been.
Part 14 – Positive thinking
“Thinking positively” doesn't mean you have to be young. People who no longer think and feel young tend to be quite rigid in their approach to life and it is not about creativity, growth and personal growth.
The person I respect most in the world is Nelson Mandela, who spent most of his years in prison and smashed limestone but he was undaunted. He realized that if he indulged in bitter feelings, he would never be truly free. He forgave his oppressors because if he didn't, they would eventually harm him. It was at that moment that he was truly free – and that is what made him great. I admire all that he has achieved in the new South Africa and globally, with his philosophy of peace and reconciliation.
There have been comments that I dropped out of school very early, however, this is not necessarily the best example to follow. I think that education – and preferably a university degree, helps people prepare for themselves.
When people ask me which business path I should follow, I always answer: "No matter what business you choose, you need to be passionate about what you do, because when you do it just for the money, you won't get it. forward".
Knowledge, passion, opportunity and determination are the power of success.
On a social level, I think everything can be turned around if power is given to the people. Mandela said in his inaugural address: “Our greatest fear is not that we do not fit into society, but that we have too much power. It is the light, not the darkness, that scares us the most. When we are liberated from our own fears, our presence automatically liberates others.”