Johnnie Walker has posted an in-depth audio interview with Sir Richard Branson on his greatest achievements in life so far. During the clip, Branson strolls around the grounds of his family home, recapping his career so far and revealing his motivations for initially entering the aviation industry; telling us he travelled all over the world and his experiences ‘simply weren’t pleasant.’
When I was 20, I won an award for something or other and Richard Branson was the host for the ceremony. He told some very funny and honest stories about his experiences in the early days of Virgin Atlantic, including the day that he took delivery of his first 747 and had an engine disaster before his insurance came into force. It was a major loss and nearly grounded the airline before it even flew a paying passenger. Although he is a tremendous self-publicist and exhibitionist, I always remember that speech as being much more human and vulnerable than the usual Branson persona and I have always respected him for it.
In true Branson style, he drops in some great anecdotes from working in the music, aviation and space tourism and explains what it was like to be a challenger brand in an otherwise conservative industry. The best moment comes half-way through where he describes Boeing’s reaction to the Virgin brand name; “surprisingly they did take me seriously, but they said as long as a company with a name like that created an airline that did ‘go the whole way’, they would be happy to take us seriously.”
Click on the player to listen to the interview.