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Notes by EMA: Richard Branson’s Finding My Virginity


Your Time Is Precious



Enrique Aboitiz Mendieta

02 2018

Richard Branson is the Virgin Brand and the Virgin Brand is Richard Branson. Of all the successful people in life, he has to stand out among the very top of our time. Dyslexic, intuitive, self-educated, fun-loving, bold and a true challenger of the status quo. He is an example of a person who understands his priorities – health, family, people, service come before making money, and when you focus on those you make a lot of money. He understands what many wealthy people just do not understand: that time is your most precious asset. Having fun makes everything worthwhile. He admired Steve Jobs as the greatest entrepreneur of his time. You see, Steve Jobs understood early what the old dogs did not comprehend — the play of multiple disciplines in a service product — beauty, sexiness and technology. Adrian Zecha saw that in Aman Resorts – service, size, simplicity and luxury all in one. These are the people we need to learn from. People that enhance life by challenging the mental midgets of the world. To emulate the Sage of Omaha who has only one interest and that is making money is ok for making money, but not to enhance life, which RB calls a party, and all parties end. And in everything, enjoy it and have fun; have a great time.

He writes — takes notes always. I will simplify this paper with highlights that are as short and as pungent as possible.

Do your children and grandchildren dream of a better future — the grand-dude! He refused to be called grandfather. How terrible can it be to be called Lolo! My grandson will call me El Gordo.

By 1999 all at Virgin asked — what else was there for us to do? There was plenty. They proved that.

You are never too old to rock and never too young to fly.

         I learned from Adrian Zecha the definition of what is old and what is young. Old is when your memories are larger than your dreams. Young is when your dreams are larger than your memories

Do you smell progressiveness? Openness? The unstuffy feel? What do you smell?

Life is a party and parties are not meant to last.

RB was one of the first to own a mobile phone in Britain. He gets a call from British Telecom telling him he had won a prize for the highest phone bill in Britain.

Who says accountants cannot have imagination.

Keep the passion and the emotion. Everything RB does is driven by emotion. Keep the pride out but keep the dream in.

You want a team that feels personally responsible for the business.

Send personal notes handwritten — it matters!

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening, when you would have preferred to talk.

His foundation searched for a unique name – Virgin Unite.

Good manners cost nothing. Kindness will take you a long way.

Some meetings ban PowerPoint. Speak openly and candidly.

Take notes. Make it part of your daily routine. Virgin has a note taking culture. You cannot succeed without taking notes.

Delegation – to ask help is a strength and not a weakness. You cannot succeed without delegating.

Humans connect through stories.

Learning realtime always. Nobody every learned by listening to himself.

Sports do not build character — they reveal it!

What in your corporate and personal DNA keeps you young and fresh?

Viewing from a distance is clearer than from the front line.

The Virgin Galactic Accident – my job was to lift morale. Whether you are religious or not religious — everyone appreciates a hug. The future rests in the hard days. Question your motives. Are you doing it for ego’s sake or for the right reasons? Creating the future carries risks. All must know them.

PER ADUA AD ASTRA – through adversity to the stars.

Too often in life, time is everything.

A main trait of the Virgin brand is its ability to constantly adapt — invention and re-invention, and continuing to do so. Brand freshness.

RB fear when he is gone — will Virgin be too professional.

Policy of unlimited leave for employees. You ask your people to work at night, do emails all day, work the weekends and you will limit their leaves. Trust and fairness. But never leave anyone on the lurch. This is my example of order over structure and diligence over discipline.

Those that think Rhino horns are of medical nature must realize that it’s like chewing your toenail.

RB had the highest regard for Nelson Mandela. Madiba – showed us how to lead with integrity and empathy with a serious desire to help others. He forgave his captors. He made others smile, laugh and dance again and again. He transformed the room. His humor, humility and wisdom were unique. He made time for everyone and magically brought the best out of people.

Joyce Banda – a leader is someone who falls in love with the people they serve and allows the people to fall in love with them.

It has been proven time and time again that people who do business with one another are less likely to do harm to each other.

Brexit – whenever you take a chance, protect your downside. Britain has not. Political campaigning should be subject to the same rules as advertising commercials. Both need to be held accountable for the veracity of their claims. Great Britain has always stood for democracy, compassion, justice and inclusion. Brexit diminishes Great Britain. Small- and medium-sized companies will suffer. Jobs will be lost and wages will drop. Those who voted for Brexit will be hit the most.

There are three stages in life:

  1. Youth
  2. Middle Age
  3. You look well stage

Obama asked RB: How do you keep a balance between work and play so well? RB answered “I make sure I treat them as equal priorities — it’s all just living”.

RB of Obama – he does not use his intellectual prowess to talk down to people: quite the reverse.

Always look forward and not back.

Grand dude is what he calls himself to his Grandchildren.

They are a family that loves surprises, so they agreed to leave the sex of their grandchildren unknown until birth.

Leaders look for the best in people — they seldom criticize and always praise.

Notes by EMA: Seven Principles of Richard Branson