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When Richard Branson speaks, it’s a good idea to listen

October 12th, 2011 2 Comments


“I think the most successful people are not who are interested in making money, but in making things.” — Richard Branson

That has pretty much been the message of all of the speakers I’ve watched at Zeitgeist thus far.  They’re so passionate about what they do, they naturally devote time and positive energy to making it work.

Zeitgeist is Google’s annual conference where some of the most successful people in the world discuss the future of their industry.  This year’s collection included: Arianna Huffington, Mark Cuban, Dr. Dean Ornish (one of the only people Steve Jobs asked to see in his final days apparently), Deepak Chopra, and many more.

Last night I dove into Richard Branson’s interview. Wow.  There is no sky that is the limit for this guy!

“Life is much richer, and more fun, when you say yes instead of no,”  when asked about his sense of adventure. He admits not all of his bright ideas have been successful….Like the hot air balloon that sank in the Atlantic.

Branson started Virgin record company because he wanted to support a band he liked in high school.  The name Virgin came from a night of drinking with 16 year old girls in his basement; they laughed that they were all virgins and the brand name was born.  Virgin wasn’t his first venture.  That was Student magazine that he published in high school.

Virgin is now made up of over 500 companies that all do different things.  He emphasized the importance of keeping the businesses small so people within each are dedicated to their own cause.  Right now Oceanic is on a mission to save sharks due to the mass killings for shark fin soup in China.  In the next five years, Virgin will have put twenty times more people into space than NASA in orbital flights.  He believes by that time they’ll be launching their own satellites at a fraction of the price “so universities can have their own satellite schools.”  In 20 years, he wants to transport us to Shanghi in 2 hours by “[popping] you out of the earth’s atmosphere and then [popping] you back in again.”

I think it’s inspiring to see a man who is already wildly successful aspire to keep climbing higher with such grace and generosity.  As you would imagine his philanthropic efforts are huge as well!

You can watch highlights and the entire interview here.  I would encourage you to jump around to other speakers as well – Deepak Chopra is mind-blowing!

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  • Thank you for a wonderful dose of inspiration, Mary!

    • Nah, thank Richard, and Larry Page of course.