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Walk Together for a freer, fairer world

Every year, for ten wonderful years, I would receive the enormous honour of a call from Nelson Mandela on my birthday. That this legendary leader made the time to send me his regards was incredible enough. That he found the time on his own birthday was amazing. It was just one small way Madiba showed his warmth and his humanity. 

On his 100th birthday, yesterday, The Elders were joined by thousands of people on an unforgettable walk to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy. The symbolic walk to Constitution Hill marked a year of the #WalkTogether campaign, which celebrates the courageous leadership of 100 grassroots Sparks of Hope. These organisations from around the world are continuing Mandela’s long walk to freedom through their work and the values of compassion, empathy and solidarity.

Image from Thapelo Motsumi

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Revolution, HEAT and racing Sam at Virgin Active South Africa

There comes a time in every parent’s life when they have to accept that their child is finally faster than them. Well, that time hasn’t quite come for me quite yet…

A post shared by Richard Branson (@richardbranson) on Jul 16, 2018 at 8:23am PDT

I’m delighted to be in Johannesburg with my son Sam, wife Joan and lots of the Virgin family. We got chance to visit Virgin Active South Africa’s Rosebank health club today, and I challenged Sam to a race on the innovative outdoor sprint track. Hey, what do you mean I cut him up?!

Image from Virgin Active SA

While I wasn’t sneaking victories over my son, we joined in with the new Revolution class. I love to keep fit on a bicycle, but this was less cycling and more a party on…

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Third for Bird and DS Virgin Racing in New York

DS Virgin Racing capped off their best ever season in New York this weekend, securing third place in both the teams’ and drivers’ championships. Sam Bird picked up points finishes in both races at the double header weekend but was just one point behind rival Lucas di Grassi to miss out on the championship runners-up spot. Saturday’s race saw Bird cross the line in ninth, holding on to second place in the standings before the season finale on Sunday. It was a tough race, with temperatures rising as high as 45 degrees on the track.

Bird’s teammate Alex Lynn saw an unfortunate ending to his race on Saturday, hitting the barrier in the closing stages and having to retire early. Sunday was a new day though and following wet conditions in the morning sessions Bird lined up on the grid in P8. At…

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Funny Dogs vs Slimer Prank: Funny Dogs Maymo & Potpie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA292V3wNJE
Funny Dogs vs Slimer 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 Watch funny dogs Maymo & Potpie get pranked by Slimer from Ghostbusters! The two cute beagles are resting when they hear all kinds of noise from the kitchen. When Maymo goes to investigate the racket, the cute dog's reaction is priceless to what he finds! Music: "Temptation March" by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Artist: http://audionautix.com/
and
"Batty McFaddin – Silent Film Light" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1200003
Artist: http://incompetech.com/ …

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Losing my tie at Wimbledon

Many of you will know how much I dislike ties. So much, in fact, that I often have a pair of scissors handy to cut ties off unsuspecting wearers. But there’s one exception for me: Wimbledon’s Royal Box.

Image from Greg Rose

It’s a rule at what otherwise is the most wonderful of events. This week I was fortunate enough to visit my daughter Holly in London and attend Wimbledon. We had a glorious father-daughter day out, and got to see the brilliant Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori, Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro in action.

Image from Greg Rose

The standard of tennis was breathtaking, with unbelievable power, precision and finesse on display. They’re all great players, but Novak and Rafa are Necker Cup veterans who we’ve come to know and love, so I was…

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Give yourself a chance to reboot

Generally everything works if you turn it off and back on again – and resetting and rebooting ourselves with some rest, relaxation, interacting with other people and exercising is always a good idea. 

Image from Virgin.com

It’s healthy to have some downtime away from scrolling screens. How do you reset yourself every day?

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Funny Dogs vs. Grapefruit: Funny Dogs Potpie & Maymo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abzOIXShH-8
Funny Dogs vs. Grapefruit: Funny Dogs Potpie & Maymo
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 cute puppy Potpie and funny dog Maymo battle a grapefruit! Cute puppy Potpie is introduced to a grapefruit for the first time – and he can't decide whether he loves or hates the bitter-sour citrus fruit. When his beagle brother Maymo joins in the fun, things get crazy! Music: "Hidden Agenda" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1200102
Artist: http://incompetech.com/
and
"Someone Your Own Size" by RW Smith …

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Getting feedback on giving feedback

Feedback is one of the most important tools we all have to improve ourselves. Learning how your performance has impacted upon others can be crucial in deciding how to adapt what you do, how you do it, and why.

Image from Virgin Pulse

I’m often asked to give advice to people on how to start businesses and grow companies. But for our Virgin teams, I regularly give lots of feedback too. I’m a strong believer in praising more than discouraging, but I always give very honest feedback as it’s the best way to help people to improve.

Image ©Chris Rank/ Rank Studios

I also give lots of tips to our teams, and when I visited the Virgin Atlantic and Delta teams in Atlanta recently, I enjoyed a cuppa and a chat with many of them….

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If you’re frustrated by something, is there a way to fix it?

Most of Virgin’s companies have been started out of a personal frustration and a desire to change the status quo to benefit consumers.

Image from Virgin.com

The next time you’re frustrated by something, try channelling that feeling into finding a solution. Make the change you want to see happen. What solutions have you found that benefit others?

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What would you ask me?

Pre-order your copy of Finding My Virginity here It’s really important to value your customers feedback and as I learned from my dad, nobody every learned anything by listening to themselves speak.

Image from Owen Buggy Photography

In my new autobiography, Finding my Virginity, I write about how social media has changed the way companies interact with people and how I try and reply to as many people as possible. I asked people to put down the book and tweet me a question using #askrichard and said I’ll try to answer it. Since then, I’ve answered dozens and dozens of your questions.

Image from Virgin.com

Ahead of the updated paperback launch of Finding My Virginity on July 5th, here are some more responses to your questions. Here goes… 

They are great socks…

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Time flies when you’re having fun

Time flies when you’re having fun – so much has happened in the last 12 months that I had to update my autobiography Finding My Virginity. 

A post shared by Richard Branson (@richardbranson) on Jul 2, 2018 at 1:44am PDT

The launch day is sneaking up ever closer – the updated paperback version is available to pre-order now and will be released this Thursday July 5th. It’s so exciting to see something you have written on the bookshelves and I can’t wait to hear what you think of the updated chapters. They contain details about the devastating hurricanes that destroyed our home and much of the Caribbean, our exciting new businesses, including Virgin Hyperloop, and of course getting very, very close to space with Virgin Galactic’s latest progress.

Image from Virgin.com

I’ve been asked a few times…

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Platypus Thief Niffler vs Funny Dogs Maymo, Penny, & Potpie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RQtQWRqnsQ
Platypus Niffler Steals from Funny Dogs Maymo, Penny, & 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 Niffler the Platypus from Fantastic Beasts decides to visit funny dogs Maymo, Penny, and Potpie! Watch this little platypus thief steal Maymo's toothbrush, Penny's journal, and Potpie's bone, and then pay the consequences when the three beagles fight back! Music: "Call to Adventure" and "Fun in a Bottle" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1300047
and "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 by Liszt
Artist: http://incompetech.com/ …

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Becoming 100% Human

At Virgin we pride ourselves on trusting our people. Our people are our best asset and we have implemented world-class people policies to ensure they know how much we value them. But as a business there is always more to learn, more to try and more that can be done. No matter the size of your business, it is always worth asking the simple question: can your people be 100% themselves at work? You will never be a truly purposeful business if you are not INCLUSIVE. Yesterday, I spent a wonderful day exploring ‘inclusive initiatives’ from the teams at Virgin Media, Virgin Unite, the B Team, Unilever and EY, at a 100% Human at Work gathering. It was a fascinating learning experience.

Image from Virgin.com

A little background: in 2013, the team at Virgin Unite called together some of the most forward-thinking businesses in…

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Why you should try trying

I have been digging through Virgin’s archives while writing my new autobiography Finding My Virginity. I found lots of fun stories and photos from the history of Virgin. I came across this poster, which really stood out to me: “Who said ‘can’t’? Someone is always doing something someone else said was impossible. TRY TRYING.” 

Image from Virgin.com

While I love focusing on the future, every now and then I love looking back over these things and reminiscing. Turns out the poster was right – I’ve tended to ignore those that tell me something is impossible. It’s great to look at this poster and remind myself of how far we’ve come and all we’ve achieved. Back in the days of Student Magazine and Virgin Records I could never have imagined that Virgin would expand into planes, trains, holidays, wine, gaming, experiences, hotels, cruises, space, hyperloop and…

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Welcoming Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki to the Necker Cup

I like to play tennis…. well, that might be an understatement! I love the sport and once dreamed of playing at Wimbledon. Although my life took a different path, I do take my tennis quite seriously. When on Necker, I start most of my days picking up a racquet, playing twice a day in the morning and evening. It certainly helps me get focused for the day ahead, being present to the sound of the lemurs and the sight of flamingos flying overhead. 

Image by Take Aim Photography

This November 24-29th, the 2018 Manuka Doctor Necker Cup & Necker Open presented by Metal will return to Necker Island. Along with me, the organisers Premier Live and Mehow are very excited to bring these wonderful events back to their home and look forward to sharing the progress of the British Virgin Island’s rebuilding efforts and…

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Make your move

Virgin only grew and developed because we took bold risks – from selling Virgin Records to starting Virgin Atlantic, from launching Virgin Blue to founding Virgin Galactic. 

Image from Virgin.com

There is a big difference between a calculated risk and a foolish gamble. Business is like a giant game of chess: you have to make strategic moves, and learn quickly from your mistakes. What does risk taking mean to you?

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Virgin Orbit rocket tests

It’s incredible to think that while Virgin Orbit’s NewtonThree engine was being tested at full thrust, for those 220 seconds it was probably the most powerful thing on planet earth. 

Image from Virgin Orbit

It’s really exciting to see Virgin Orbit making some very impressive strides towards their mission of taking satellites into space and improving everyone’s access to data around the globe. I visited our factory recently and learned more about the latest progress – it’s amazing to be given a tour of a rocket factory and to see some the smartest people in the world all striving to make progress. 

Image from Virgin Orbit

Up at our test site in Mojave, Virgin Orbit recently successfully completed another test on the NewtonThree engine. We ran a full-duration simulated mission on the engine—and then kept…

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5 tips on how to innovate in business

Now more than ever before we are living in an age of innovation. Everything around us changing so quickly, it’s a constant challenge to keep up.

richard_holly_computer_1.jpg Image from Virgin.com

Across the Virgin Group, I’m really proud that technological innovation is happening all the time, improving customer experience and enabling businesses to serve customers more quickly and effectively.   Our latest Spotlight Series on Virgin.com is Harnessing Hyperconnectivity, which is delving into how new technology and rapid innovation are constantly changing the way individuals work and businesses operate.

Richard Branson Virgin Mobile Colombia computer staff team Image from Virgin Mobile Colombia

On this theme, I’ve put together some tips on how to innovate in business and stay ahead of the game. 1. Hone in on the problem Innovation flourishes best when you look to solve…

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Funny Chef Dog Makes Smoothies! Funny Dog Maymo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7j4Df1p5YI
Funny Chef Dog Makes Smoothies: Funny Dog Maymo
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 chef dog Maymo make a smoothie for his friends! This cute beagle dog makes an epic mess in the kitchen while making smoothies with his favorite ingredients! Stick around til the end to watch him serve it to his friends Penny and Potpie! Music: "Cumbia No Frills Faster" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1100275
Artist: http://incompetech.com/ …

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Cut ties, stolen shoes and exciting change at Virgin Atlantic

From cutting ties to stealing shoes to a new CEO, I’ve enjoyed a fascinating time with the team at Virgin Atlantic and our partners from Delta Air Lines this week.

dal_bastian_branson_ja-594.jpg Image from Chris Rank

I travelled to Atlanta to catch up with the team, enjoying a celebration in the Delta museum, complete with a traditional English tea. First, I joined Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian for a Q&A hosted by the Junior Achievement organisation of Atlanta (JA), which inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy. Before we went onstage, I thought Ed looked far too formal, so as Jack Harris, CEO of the JA, asked us the first question I couldn’t resist cutting off ED’s tie. 

dal_bastian_branson_ja-1907.jpg Image from Chris Rank

Jack quizzed us on how we started in business, and what…

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Goodbye to our beloved dog Sumo

20 years ago I got chatting to a Labrador owner on a beach and ended up agreeing to look after his dog for the day. Our friends the Wilson-Wrights were with us, and they had an Irish Water Spaniel called Coco. The two met, and before you knew it, a litter of delightful Labrador/Irish Water Spaniel crosses were born. 

sumopup.png Image from Lisa-Anne Redfern

We’ve had wonderful dogs in the family ever since. Two generations later, Sumo followed in the paw-prints of Sushi and became the top dog on Necker Island, a role he has filled for many years. 

sumo.jpg Image from Marco Bava

Sadly, Sumo has now passed away. However, he led an absolutely brilliant life and brought joy to everyone he met. Sumo was given a special send-off to celebrate his long life….

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Dog Surprised by Giant Broccoli Prank: Funny Dogs Maymo & Potpie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI5TMczpfLk
Dog Surprised by Giant Broccoli 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 Watch funny dogs Maymo & Potpie take on a giant broccoli man! Cute beagle Maymo's favorite food is broccoli, but this dog isn't sure what to think when a giant human-sized broccoli strolls through the door. Watch his cute beagle puppy brother, Potpie get in on the action! …

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Welcoming the first baby lemurs since Hurricane Irma

It’s an absolute delight to see the first baby lemurs on Necker born since Hurricane Irma. We have had two babies this year – a Red-Collared Brown and a Mongoose lemur. As you can see in this video, they cling to their mothers in their infancy, firstly on their fronts and then on their backs as they get more adventurous.

Absolute delight to see the first baby #lemurs on Necker born since Hurricane Irma #conservation A post shared by Richard Branson (@richardbranson) on Jun 14, 2018 at 2:31am PDT

Necker is a haven for wildlife – there are more than 140 species on our 72 acre island. Protecting endangered species is one of the most important things any of us can do – how we treat our world is a reflection of our humanity. One of the things I am most proud of…

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Being interviewed by Holly

Lovely to spend some time with Holly chatting about my updated autobiography Finding My Virginity. She is doing a series called Meet the Author where she interviews the writers behind the books. She should really be interviewing herself as she’s just written her own book called WEconomy, which is all about how you can bring purpose and passion to all that you do. 

A post shared by Holly Branson (@holly_branson) on Jun 11, 2018 at 6:14am PDT

But this time she was focusing on my new updated autobiography, Finding My Virginity. We spoke about all the interesting things that have happened this year, from Virgin Hyperloop to Virgin Galactic, and my motivations for writing a book. I’m always carrying a notebook around and it’s nice to get all of your memories onto paper and in a form that will last forever. I really believe everyone has…

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Dogs Arrested by Shark Cop Prank: Funny Dogs Maymo, Penny & Potpie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_hLCNN1tJA
Dogs Arrested by Shark Cop 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 by a Shark Cop. These beagles are caught while rummaging through the fridge, stealing food, and making a mess with toilet paper. Once they're arrested though, these three funny dogs don't hesitate to fight back! Music: "Sneaky Snooper" by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Artist: http://audionautix.com/
and "Fun in a Bottle" by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/index.html?isrc=USUAN1300047
Artist: http://incompetech.com/ …

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