Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Northern Rock, part 2...

You've all probably heard the news by now... Virgin is the preferred buyer of Northern Rock. As I wrote nearly a month ago, "Virgin's coming."

There are plenty of things that could still potentially go wrong, but Virgin's committed to turning Northern Rock around without firing everyone and ruining the business or industry.

We're still debating how to brand the business... I've been a fan of Virgin Rocks, but my advisors say there might be confusion about whether that would refer to Rock-and-Roll, my upcoming line of stores for geologists, or just a statement of the obvious.

I'll keep you all updated on progress. Now back to my conference in paradise...

Warm regards,
Sir Dick

Monday, 26 November 2007


Hello, everyone. For the Americans out there, I hope you had a good Thanksgiving holiday. (Remember you can work those extra calories off at Virgin Active!)

I was trying to keep this quiet, but some jackass posted about it on the internet, so I can't any longer.

I'm hosting a very exclusive conference for CEO's at my Necker Island paradise. It's a time where I can get a group of high-powered visionaries like myself around my big dining room table and talk about important stuff. Unfortunately, so many of these other CEOs came from consulting backgrounds, so they don't actually know how to do anything. They're great on the vision thing, but most have no idea how their products or companies work. Oh, well... that's what I'm there for, to teach them about real people.

Anyway, I'll try to keep you updated on details, but no guarantees.

Warm regards,
Sir Dick

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Still waiting...

As I mentioned to the reporter here, while I've got a few of the big new Airbus planes on order, they're not really big enough. I'm trying to press them to build their 900-seat version of the plane as quickly as they can.

You may start criticising me saying, "Whoa, Sir Dick, isn't that contributing to even MORE global warming??"


People are going to fly where they want to fly. But I can tell you for sure that one 900-person airplane flight from London to San Francisco uses up less fuel (and creates less CO2) than two 450-person airplane flights on the same route. So by using these huge planes on key routes, we are actually reducing environmental damage.

Or at least that's what my advisors are telling me....

Warm regards,
Sir Dick

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

You're welcome, America

I've done a good job promoting Virgin America. We got some good photos with Kyla (the fit bird that Southwest wouldn't let fly), I had a good interview with another beautiful young lass, and I got into a water fight with Stephen Colbert that made for some good publicity.

So you know about Virgin America now, but how can I get you all to really want to fly on my airline? Easy... incredibly cheap ticket prices!

Go to virginamerica.com and click on "Priced to Fly." These are the kind of deals you'll be getting:

$39 one-way between San Francisco and Los Angeles
$39 one-way between San Francisco and Las Vegas
$119 one-way between Washington, D.C. and San Francisco
$39 one-way between San Francisco and San Diego
$109 one-way between Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles
$129 one-way between New York and San Francisco

I'm sorry if you don't live or need to go to one of those cities... we're still working on the rest of your country.

But for those of you that fly those routes... you're welcome.

Warm regards,
Sir Dick

Monday, 12 November 2007

This guy is a twat

This guy's website is using his 5-day stay at my little paradise to help convince you to listen to his "podcast."

What a twat.

Warm regards,
Sir Dick

Friday, 9 November 2007

Another fan

So I guess that TED conference was a great thing to do. Of course, I did get the full 30-minute interview, instead of the 18-minute talk that the normal speakers get. But then again, I'm more of a successful businessman than 99% of the people invited to that conference, anyway.

Here's yet another fan post about my TED interview. The best quote:

Due to his high-flying accomplishments and his success as the chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., he is invariably asked all sorts of questions about business and his life, and he responds humbly and happily, with honesty, integrity, wit and enthusiasm. His agenda appears rooted simply in being genuine, open, friendly and helpful. Bravo!

Cheers, Roger. I appreciate it.

Warm regards,
Sir Dick

Thursday, 8 November 2007

I miss Stevie

That's it... I was just thinking about him again today. I miss my mate. My last post about him is still the way I feel.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Ahhh.... University

I never went to University... I was too busy starting businesses to "learn" how to start businesses from professors who had never done it themselves. It's always better to just jump in and do it instead of wading around thinking about it.

That said, Universities are still valuable for 90% of the population. (If you're really clever, look me up and one of my Virgin companies will sort you out with a job.) I just opened a big new arts, design and technology centre at the University of Derby. As always, using the Virgin style:

From the BBC:

He turned up in a red open-topped racing car to be met by two Virgin Atlantic air hostesses.

We need all of the home-grown British talent we can get in my Virgin Group of companies, and Derby will be an important part of that. Planes and Trains are key pillars to Virgin, and they're big pillars in Derby.

Good luck to all the students, and look me up when you graduate.

Warm regards,
Sir Dick

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Virgin Active

I'm sure you've all heard the reports by now that we're trying to sell Virgin Active for about a billion pounds. Yep, it's true.

I really enjoyed building Virgin Active. We made a huge purchase last year of the chain "Holmes Place." They were a rather poor chain that didn't inspire any vibrancy. We re-branded them as Virgin Active, made some key upgrades here and there, and now the whole businesses is going quite well.

I viewed my investment here as rather strategic. How else do you think we keep our flight attendants fit and looking like this?

I have to spend some time each week at Virgin Active to keep myself as fit as I am. Well, only when I'm in London. When I'm in paradise my fitness just takes care of itself.

Warm regards,
Sir Dick

Monday, 5 November 2007

Spice Girls... all grown up now, but still fit

So the Spice Girls are back together and going on tour.

Virgin Records were very proud to be a part of their career getting started, signing them to the label over 10 years ago. (Though looking back we're frankly a little embarassed... call it "90's excess".)

For a group to go on tour these days, they go by plane, and I was happy to arrange for the girls free flights on Virgin Atlantic.

"Why free?" you may ask. Well, free puts us in the newspapers and celebrity television shows, which makes it worth the cost. Not only that, but it shows some of our usual first-class passengers the kind of style and charisma we expect of people in the first-class cabin. Plus, some of our standard Virgin Atlantic passengers will now be able to say they flew with Posh... needless to say, they'll never leave Virgin for BA after that!

So, good on you, girls. I look forward to seeing you in concert, though I'll probably just watch from backstage. (It's always better than the mosh pit at the front.)

Warm regards,
Sir Dick

Friday, 2 November 2007

Long week for Sir Dick

It's been quite a long week for Sir Dick. My advisors had me running all over the globe; from London to Jamaica, and in and out of meetings.

Now, I don't do traditional meetings. I start to fidget, my mind drifts to the new business I could start that would eliminate all meetings (still in progress), and more. My advisors found out long ago that I was useless in meetings if five or more people were there.

I do meetings one-on-one, or perhaps two-on-one or three-on-one. (To be fair, that's not the only threesomes or foursomes I've had, but that's a post for another day.) I can get my ideas and my concerns out there much more quickly, and move on to the next business I want to start. It's much easier for my people, and it's much easier for me.

Hopefully I'll be able to let you know about what happened during this weeks' meetings next week, when I introduce November's suite of new Virgin companies.

Warm regards,
Sir Dick

Thursday, 1 November 2007

A proper introduction

Virgin Atlantic recently started service to Kingston, Jamaica.

From the wire report:

Sir Richard Branson greeted the inaugural Virgin Atlantic flight from London into the Jamaican capital.
The entrepreneur was joined by two bikini-clad local models to welcome the aircraft's arrival in Kingston.
He chatted with local media as the first passengers disembarked to the sound of a steel drum band.

What they didn't mention was that those particularly lovely ladies weren't just models, they were also looking to work as flight attendants for the airline. I'm always on the lookout for talent, and boy did those girls have it!

My apologies for not having photos, you'll just have to take my Virgin word on it.

Warm regards,
Sir Dick