Richard Bran­son

Forbes - - CONTENTS -

THRILLIONAIRE: CON­SUM­MATE EN­TRE­PRE­NEUR; FOUNDER, VIR­GIN GROUP

Isup­pose that out of all the busi­ness­peo­ple in this is­sue, I’ve done a few more mad, zany things to get my com­pa­nies on the map. Some­times th­ese stunts work, some­times they don’t. When Vir­gin Amer­ica launched its Las Vegas route, my staff took me to the top of the Palms Ho­tel there and told me that I had to jump off the top floor into the party on the bot­tom floor on a bungee. I was very skep­ti­cal—the wind was blow­ing 50 miles an hour. But I jumped and hit the side of the build­ing on the way down, com­pletely rip­ping my trousers off. Blood poured down my legs as I ar­rived to the party. The Vir­gin brand is quite in­tri­cately linked with me per­son­ally, so I have to be care­ful not to go and dam­age the brand my­self.

But that doesn’t mean not tak­ing risks. As the Vir­gin Group has got­ten much big­ger and much stronger, we can af­ford to take big­ger, bolder risks in lots and lots of dif­fer­ent sec­tors. One of our biggest in­vest­ments has been the space com­pa­nies, which we have al­ready in­vested $1 bil­lion to set up. We take tons of risks in life, whether per­sonal risks or busi­ness risks. We some­times fall flat on our face. But peo­ple don’t mind peo­ple who try things and fail.

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