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Kitesurfing into 2019

New Year, same favourite sport for yours truly. It’s been great kick-starting 2019 with some exhilarating kitesurfing.

Image from Brahm Van Der Hoeven

You may have noticed Father Christmas kiting off the top of the roof on Necker Island on Christmas Day as he made his rounds delivering presents. Santa’s foray into kitesurfing wasn’t the only kiting going on around the BVI, as I was keen to hit the waves myself.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Richard Branson (@richardbranson) on Jan 11, 2019 at 3:45am PST

You can see me in action (with the blue kite) in the video above. Congratulations to Gumption for beating my time, and thanks to everyone who joined us on…

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Editor’s letter: Dr Kate Stone on sensory experiences

As we explore our senses in our Live Life Better series, Dr Kate Stone will be guiding us as guest editor. Here, she shares some of her sensory experiences and why she thinks it’s important to understand how we interact with the world… Seven years ago I discovered a passion for sauntering off into the wilderness of the Lake District, in the north of England, where I would sleep as high up a mountain as I dared on some of the coldest and windiest nights of the year. I was struck by what incredible balance and perspective these trips bought to my life. The experiences and insight have become a huge part of who I am and helped me start to think differently about the relationship between my environment and wellbeing. To the extent that, three years ago I moved to the US because I was literally in pursuit of a New York State…

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Looking at the stars and understanding our universe should be discussed in all languages, not just English

Amazing talents are buried in the minds of so many young people in the Middle East but many young, gifted students aren’t sure how to progress onto a career in STEM. The language barrier can be a problem for many – if you don’t speak English, you’re essentially excluded from conversations about space exploration. I’m a Propulsion Development Engineer at Virgin Orbit and I’m trying to address this issue with a bilingual Instagram account – The Arabian Stargazer. As science in the Arab world retrogressed, the lack of a scientific mindset in medieval madrassas (and in wider society) reflected an absence in our capacity to build a new generation of scientists, engineers and space explorers. From around 3500 BC scientists in Sumer (now Iraq) were recording observations their of the world with extremely thorough numerical data. Many of the most important discoveries in the science world were discovered by the Mesopotamians – they were leaders…

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Virgin Voyages: sourcing with pride

When Virgin Voyages asked me to lead the charge on the brand’s food and beverage approach, I could not have been more excited. After having to work hard in previous roles to get sustainability prioritised, at Virgin Voyages it was clearly being placed at the forefront. As the Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations, I knew the brand mission of driving ‘An Epic Sea Change’ would not be easy. Still, it was an exciting challenge I was honoured to take on. And here we are today, committed to being one of the cleanest fleets at sea. We are eliminating single use plastics for sailors, maximising energy and water efficiencies with the latest state of the art equipment onboard our ships, reducing waste, and making commitments to sustainable food sourcing. But how can we implement change when it comes to a core element of the sailing experience; eating and drinking in the over 20 eateries…

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Dogs vs Giant Pickle in Disguise Prank: Funny Dogs Maymo & Potpie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOlMH7ol42E
Dogs vs Giant Pickle in Disguise Prank: Funny Dogs Maymo & Potpie
Huge Pickle made by Jumbo Jibbles: https://jumbojibbles.com/
To use this video in a commercial player, advertising or in broadcasts, email Brave Bison: licensing@bravebison.io Subscribe! http://bit.ly/VzYUvE
Maymo's Instagram: http://goo.gl/1MrHRh
Maymo's Facebook: http://on.fb.me/UPC8d7
Maymo's Twitter: http://bit.ly/Wk4dxX Watch Funny Dogs Maymo & Potpie get pranked by a Giant Pickle in Disguise! These two cute beagle dogs are enjoying themselves by playing a game of UNO on the couch when they are interrupted by a giant pickle who gets sick at the sight of beagles! As if that werent enough of an adventure, the two beagles are then ambushed by Pickle Rick from Rick and Morty! Watch their hilariously cute reactions! #pickles #dogs #pranks #rickandmorty #picklerick #perro #perros #cachorro #funnydogs #funnydog Music: "Whipped Butter 2" by Martin Gauffin "Exotic Desserts Served 4" by Magnus Ringblom
"Happy 80's Pop 10" and "Happy 80's Pop 3" by Victor Olsson …

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The importance of personalisation

When I first got my start in the music business, record shops were often stuffy, insider places that conversely didn’t cater for individual tastes and certainly didn’t make people welcome. We created Virgin Records stores where people wanted to hang out; they were filled with knowledgeable employees who loved to talk with customers and make them feel at home.

Image from Virgin.com

Then when we looked to expand, I was inspired by the terrible example of the airline industry, which treated customers like cattle and gave them no choice, no entertainment and certainly no friendliness. The attitude was that flyers should feel privileged to fly with the airline, rather than the airline being privileged to host their guests. With Virgin Atlantic we changed all that, introducing friendly cabin crew who actually liked interacting with people, unique offerings like seatback entertainment, flat beds, bars in…

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Sensory Sparks

As we start 2019, we’re looking at ways that we can all live life better. We’re doing this by thinking about the ways that we interact with the world through our senses – how what we see, hear, smell, taste and how we feel can help us to live a better life. Each week we’ll be sharing things that you can do to have better sensory experiences – from eating certain foods to spending more time with nature. Read on to find out how you can improve your life using your senses… Spark one: Sign up to Action for Happiness’ 10 Keys to Happier Living Different things will lead to feeling happy for different people but Action for Happiness has identified 10 keys that will help everyone to find happiness – giving, relating, exercising, awareness, trying out, direction, resilience, emotions, acceptance, and meaning. They have come up with 51 practical things that you…

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The next industry ripe for change

“Disruption” is a word that gets overused. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that shaking up entrenched, complacent industries can do a world of good. Mobile banking in Africa has bypassed traditional banks and given millions access to financial services. Low-cost, distributed renewables are accelerating the death of coal-fired power-plants. Cloud computing is helping thousands of small and medium-sized business compete with incumbents without having to invest in giant servers. Elon Musk’s gamble with Tesla has made every major car maker plan for an electrified future. 

Image by Owen Buggy

I’ve spent a large part of my career working to unsettle more mainstream industries from airlines and soft drinks to trains and hotels, mobile phones and media. Another industry that has caught my eye recently is particularly ripe for disruption. It represents a 100 billion dollar market today, and is set to…

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How travel became smarter in 2018

This year saw many firsts in the travel sector, making travel faster, more sustainable and better in many ways. During our Smarter Travel Spotlight series we celebrated some of these accomplishments and looked to the future to see what travel could look like in years to come. With Virgin Hyperloop One’s CTO Josh Giegler as our guest editor, we explored many different parts of the future of travel. But what did we learn?

Hyperloop is something engineers dream of Josh explained that the speed at which they are working to build the hyperloop system means that their team could achieve something most engineers can only dream of. “How are we able to deliver this technology in such a short period of time? It reminds me of one of my favourite Einstein quotes, “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” It is no coincidence that our Test and…

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Love struck at the Virgin Stars party

Each year, the Virgin Group celebrates its best and brightest employees at the Virgin Stars Dinner. Hosted by Richard Branson, it’s an opportunity to recognise their achievements and reward each Virgin company’s Star of the Year. For two Virgin employees, however, it holds even more significance. Meet Robin and Kristi…

Image from Kristi and Robin

Who are you, who do you work for and what do you do? I’m Robin! I work for Virgin Care in Devon as a Participation Worker for the child and adolescent mental health service. Hi! I’m Kristi! I work at Virgin Orbit on the Learning & Development team. I run our intern program, host new hire orientation and sprinkle Virgin cheer in the office wherever I can! We hear you met at the Virgin Stars Dinner. For the benefit of our readers, what is that? R: As far as…

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Dogs Surprised by Dancing Eggplant: Funny Dogs Maymo, Potpie & Penny

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bmb0YRrits
Dogs Surprised by Dancing Eggplant: Funny Dogs Maymo, Potpie & Penny
To use this video in a commercial player, advertising or in broadcasts, email Viral Spiral (contact@viralspiralgroup.com) Subscribe! http://bit.ly/VzYUvE
Maymo's Instagram: http://goo.gl/1MrHRh
Maymo's Facebook: http://on.fb.me/UPC8d7
Maymo's Twitter: http://bit.ly/Wk4dxX Watch Funny Dogs Maymo, Potpie, & Penny get pranked by a Giant, Dancing Eggplant! The cute beagle dogs are sniffing around the house when they come upon a pile of eggplants in the dining room. First surprised by a funny eggplant with bad teeth, the dogs are given an even bigger shock when a giant eggplant man dances through the dining room door and into their lives! #dogs #surprise #dancing #eggplant #prank #pranks #cachorro #perro #perros Music: "People Falling Down I" by Gavin Luke
"Twisted Things 04" by Håkan Eriksson
"Italian Outdoor Cafes" by Magnus Ringblom …

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Dogs vs Good/Bad Santa Prank: Funny Dogs Maymo, Penny & Potpie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXRHFbD6g64
Dogs vs Good/Bad Santa: Funny Dogs Maymo, Penny & Potpie
To use this video in a commercial player, advertising or in broadcasts, email Brave Bison: licensing@bravebison.io Subscribe! http://bit.ly/VzYUvE
Maymo's Instagram: http://goo.gl/1MrHRh
Maymo's Facebook: http://on.fb.me/UPC8d7
Maymo's Twitter: http://bit.ly/Wk4dxX #christmas #dogs #santa #badsanta #prank #perro #perros #cachorro #dancingsanta #santaclaus #holiday #surprise #gift #presents Watch Funny Dogs Maymo, Penny & Potpie get surprised by two different dancing Santas! When cute beagle dog Maymo asks Santa for a hamburger, he gets much more than he bargained for! Watch Maymo and his beagle friends get serenaded by a Good Santa and an Evil, Creepy Santa, then wait til the end to see Maymo's epic Christmas Surprise! Music: "Winter Wonderland II" by Magnus Ringblom "Klezmer Slapstick II" by Håkan Eriksson
"Street Life of Ghana III" by Magnus Ringblom …

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Virgin Radio announces details of the Chris Evans Breakfast Show

Virgin Radio has announced that the Chris Evans Breakfast Show will launch on January 21st, 2019 and will not be interrupted by ad breaks. In a ground-breaking partnership agreed between Virgin Radio UK and Sky, Chris Evans will broadcast his Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio without any ad breaks. Sky will sponsor the show, providing investment to create branded content, competitions and events, which will take the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio to a whole new level. “So much has changed in broadcasting since I was last at Virgin Radio that now, thanks to Sky, we can do the show without ad breaks,” Chris Evans said. “I’m even more excited about starting in the New Year!”

Image from Virgin Radio

Stephen van Rooyen, CEO UK & Ireland at Sky, added: “The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio will bring audiences something…

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Christmas Tree Monster Pranks Dogs! Funny Dogs Maymo & Potpie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Up55GVc2id4
Christmas Tree Monster Pranks Dogs! Funny Dogs Maymo & Potpie
To use this video in a commercial player, advertising or in broadcasts, email Brave Bison: licensing@bravebison.io Subscribe! http://bit.ly/VzYUvE
Maymo's Instagram: http://goo.gl/1MrHRh
Maymo's Facebook: http://on.fb.me/UPC8d7
Maymo's Twitter: http://bit.ly/Wk4dxX Watch funny dogs Maymo & Potpie get pranked by a giant Christmas Tree Monster!! These cute dogs are enjoying the holiday season by baking gingerbread cookies, chasing toy trains and opening presents when all of a sudden the Christmas Tree comes alive! Watch these funny beagle dogs' hilariously adorable reactions to the evil Christmas Tree! #christmas #prank #dogs #funnydogs #christmastree #perro #perros #cachorro Music: "Home for Christmas 4" by Magnus Ringblom
"Circus Panic" by Håkan Eriksson …

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Reflecting upon Virgin Galactic’s first space flight

I’ve been reflecting upon Virgin Galactic’s first space flight and the momentous achievement of a crewed spaceship, built to carry private paying passengers, reaching space for the first time ever. We’ve been poring over the footage and marveling at the technology, but most of all I’ve been thinking about the incredible people who made this happen. 

View this post on Instagram Reflections on @VirginGalactic’s first space flight & the momentous achievement of a crewed spaceship, built to carry private paying passengers, reaching space for the first time ever A post shared by Richard Branson (@richardbranson) on Dec 13, 2018 at 11:25pm PST

Life is all about people, and so are businesses – even the world’s first commercial spaceline. From the astonishingly calm and skillful pilots Mark “Forger” Stucky and…

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Dogs vs Evil Gingerbread Man Prank: Funny Dogs Maymo & Potpie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fS7ysxEIRxk
Evil Gingerbread Man made by: http://www.bumpinthenightartanddesign.com/Dogs vs Evil Gingerbread Man Prank: Funny Dogs Maymo & Potpie
To use this video in a commercial player, advertising or in broadcasts, email Brave Bison: licensing@bravebison.io Subscribe! http://bit.ly/VzYUvE
Maymo's Instagram: http://goo.gl/1MrHRh
Maymo's Facebook: http://on.fb.me/UPC8d7
Maymo's Twitter: http://bit.ly/Wk4dxX #christmas #prank #dogs #gingerbread #perro #cachorro #perros #dog #funnydogs Watch Funny Dogs Maymo & Potpie get pranked by an Evil Gingerbread Man! These two beagle dogs are in the middle of making cookies when their fun is disrupted by a killer gingerbread man! Watch the cute dogs' funny reactions to the creepy creature! Music:
"Hey Santa" by Flickering
"Christmas Stress" and "Tightrope Dancer" by Håkan Eriksson …

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The Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 revealed

The annual Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 league table that ranks Britain’s private companies with the fastest-growing sales has been published. Well-known names such as Five Guys, BrewDog and Charlotte Tilbury Beauty all feature in this year’s 100 companies. On average, the 100 companies grew their sales between 233 per cent per annum, and 46 per cent per annum over the last three years to a total of £3.1 billion. In total, they employ 16,900 staff, with 12,200 new jobs having been created over the period. This year, 22 women are among the founders or chief executives of the companies – a joint record with 2017, and up from only 11 in 2016. The 12 per cent of the founders who are womencompares favourably to just four per cent in the wider scale-up community, according to statistics from Beauhurst.

Image credit: Fast Track 100

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China should uphold its bans on tiger bone and rhino horn permanently

I was shocked when China reversed its 25-year-old ban on the medicinal and cultural use of rhino horn and tiger bone last month. This came out of the blue and was especially puzzling given China’s new image as a conservation and environmental leader after banning ivory, reducing shark fin consumption and tackling climate change. Why would the country now go back on these protections for tigers and rhinos?

Image from Getty Images

It seems no one really knows why. Thankfully, common sense prevailed and the new regulations have been “postponed after study”. The strict ban on the sale and use of rhino horn and tiger parts remains in effect. Now, the global community must urge the Chinese government to show this latest reversal is not simply a PR stunt and unequivocally state its support for keeping the original ban in place permanently. They should…

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Dogs vs Norman Reedus Prank: Funny Dogs Maymo & Potpie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u202Wa4_1QA
Catch Norman on season 3 of his show "Ride with Norman Reedus" on Sunday, February 10, on AMC: https://www.amc.com/shows/ride-with-norman-reedus
Dogs vs Norman Reedus Prank: Funny Dogs Maymo & Potpie
To use this video in a commercial player, advertising or in broadcasts, email Viral Spiral (contact@viralspiralgroup.com) Subscribe! http://bit.ly/VzYUvE
Maymo's Instagram: http://goo.gl/1MrHRh
Maymo's Facebook: http://on.fb.me/UPC8d7
Maymo's Twitter: http://bit.ly/Wk4dxX Watch funny Dogs Maymo & Potpie get pranked by Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead! These two beagles are minding their own business, sitting by the window when the zombie-killing star appears seemingly out of nowhere! The dogs' reactions are hilariously adorable. Watch til the end to see the cute dogs battle a three-headed Norman Reedus monster! #normanreedus #prank #dogs #funny #funnydogs #perro #perros #cachorro #walkingdead Music: "Pet Animals 2" and "Whacky Theater 3" by Magnus Ringblom and
"Tijuana Sunrise 6" by Martin Gauffin …

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Diving the Belize Blue Hole

Sea monsters, giant hammerheads, UFO sightings and ancient sacrificial sites – the Belize Blue Hole has attracted all sorts of mysteries. I can’t wait to voyage down into the largest underwater sinkhole in the world, over 300 metres across and 125 metres deep, and discover some of its secrets.

View this post on Instagram Very excited to be joining an historic expedition to the bottom of the Blue Hole in #Belize, raising awareness of the need to protect the #ocean and undertaking some fascinating scientific experiments. More details to come… #protecttheocean @oceanunite A post shared by Richard Branson (@richardbranson) on Oct 29, 2018 at 3:42am PDT

The Blue Hole is a UNESCO World Heritage site, located along the second largest Barrier Reef system in the world. It has never…

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Winning the Necker Cup 2018

What a week we’ve had at the Necker Cup, welcoming some the world’s greatest players and a delightful bunch of amateurs to the most unique tennis tournament on the planet.

Image from Manuela Davis/Necker Cup

I got some pre-tournament practice in, first with Maria Sharapova and then with Bjorn Borg, who was an incredible last-minute addition to our Necker Cup line-up. So I was feeling confident about finally lifting the trophy. But, really, it’s all just a chance to have a lot of laughs, enjoy some quality tennis and most importantly raise some funds for good causes.

Image from Manuela Davis/Necker Cup

For the tennis pros, it’s also a chance to relax after a long, hard season. So while we played plenty of matches, you could just as likely see Caroline Wozniacki, Mike Bryan and…

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The impact of a workforce that is representative of wider society

There is now endless research showing that diversity is good for business, good for innovation and good for creativity. A Harvard Business School study found that teams with colleagues from different backgrounds and experiences come up with more creative ideas and methods of solving problems. Another study by the London Business School found that more gender-balanced teams better promote an environment where innovation can flourish. And the list goes on! In the end, if we’re all the same, how can we think differently? In an environment where competition for talent is fierce, diversity can also be a secret weapon for building and retaining world-class teams. For example, research by Creative Equals found that teams that are diverse are 45 per cent happier and 48 per cent more likely to stay at a company. Diversity is not just about gender. It’s about building teams that reflect society as a whole incorporating different ethnicities, cultures,…

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Painted wolves: my favourite animal

When I’m asked to choose my favourite animal it is hard to choose. I look close to home and am tempted to pick the wonderful lemur, the dazzling flamingo or the majestic giant tortoise. But whenever I am fortunate enough to go on safari at Ulusaba in South Africa, I know my answer: the painted wolf.

Image from Nicholas Dyer

We got the chance to see them up close at Virgin Limited Edition’s Ulusaba recently and they were absolutely spectacular. Seeing them hunting is an awesome experience. Unlike most animals, they work as a family, hunting as a team and looking after their young and wounded in an organised, effective way.

Image from Nicholas Dyer

These magnificent animals are very misunderstood. For a start, they are often known by the unflattering name wild…

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Creating a blueprint for the electric grid of the future

During last year’s hurricane season, Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI’s) Islands Energy Programme issued a call to action – focusing on rebuilding a resilient and renewable future for Caribbean islands. Instead of investing capital into reconstructing the existing electricity grid (based on old technology), RMI worked with island governments and utilities to leapfrog ahead with energy systems that will make the Caribbean region far less vulnerable to future storms – creating a blueprint for the electric grid of the future. Their programme focuses on three key pillars – energy and resilience planning, project development and implementation support, and capacity building. 

Energy and resilience planning RMI has supported five island nations seeking to transition away from imported diesel-fueled electricity, to clean energy with national energy transition strategies and integrated resource plans. These action plans have helped address barriers preventing the energy transition and have unlocked dozens…

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Dogs vs Lil’ Big Chucky Prank: Funny Dogs Maymo, Penny & Potpie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHmmYXcy9cE
Dogs vs Chucky Prank: Funny Dogs Maymo, Penny & Potpie
To use this video in a commercial player, advertising or in broadcasts, email Brave Bison: licensing@bravebison.io Subscribe! http://bit.ly/VzYUvE
Maymo's Instagram: http://goo.gl/1MrHRh
Maymo's Facebook: http://on.fb.me/UPC8d7
Maymo's Twitter: http://bit.ly/Wk4dxX Watch funny dogs Maymo, Penny & Potpie get pranked with a life size, human version of Chucky. The beagle dogs open a gift and are surprised to find an evil Chucky doll (from Child's Play) inside…but when they destroy the evil creature, he comes back with a vengeance! #chucky #prank #funnydogs #funny #dogs #childsplay #perro #perros #cachorro #horror Music: "Tip Toe Burgundy" by Anders Göransson
"Cinematic Latin Flavours 3" by Magnus Ringblom
"Tightrope Dancer" by Håkan Eriksson
"Fly With Me (Indie Pop Version)" by Joel Jungell …

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