Losing my virginity

is an excellent book by Richard Branson (isbn 978-0-7535-1955-4). As usual I'm going to quote from a few pages:
During January and February 1966, Jonny and I began to talk about how to change the school rules. We were fifteen years old, but we believed that we could make a difference. My parents had brought me up to think that we could change the world, so when I looked at how Stowe was run I felt sure that I could do it better.
Above all, you want to create something you are proud of.
Life in the basement was the kind of all-embracing glorious chaos in which I thrived and have thrived ever since.
Hearing others' stories made me realise how lucky I was in my relationships with my own parents. They had never judged me, and always supported me, always praised the good things rather than criticised the bad things.
Look, she said, I wouldn't lend you the money if I didn't want to. What's money for anyway? It's to make things happen.
I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics. This might be because, due to my dyslexia, I distrust numbers, which I feel can be twisted to prove anything.
Another man had to hand over his three-year-old daughter to his nanny and say goodbye to her. I just hugged him. There was nothing else I could do. We both had tears in our eyes. I was a father too.
It was clear that Lord King treated me with a contempt that would rub off on how everyone at British Airways felt they could treat Virgin Atlantic.
Fun is at the core of the way I like to do business and it has been key to everything I've done from the outset. More than any other element, fun is the secret of Virgin's success.
Even though I'm often asked to define my 'business philosophy', I generally won't do so, because I don't believe it can be taught as if it were a recipe.
My vision for Virgin has never been rigid and changes constantly, like the company itself.
Our priorities are the opposite of our large competitors'. Convention dictates that a company should look after its shareholders first, its customers next, and last of all worry about its employees. Virgin does the opposite. For us, our employees matter the most. It just seems common sense to me that, if you start off with a happy, well-motivated workforce, you're much more likely to have happy customers. And in due course the resulting profits will make your shareholders happy.
It is my belief that most 'necessary evils' are far more evil than necessary.
It's just a matter of scale, but first you have to believe you can make it happen.

1 comment:

  1. I find the book incredibly positive. Whenever I feel stuck or overwhelmed I take it out again.
    In very many ways it preaches attitude over anything else but in a good natured way. My copy is several years old and I may need to get a new one as more and more stuff is added to it.