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Finding My Virginity
The New Autobiography
- Read in 21 minutes
- Audio & text available
- Contains 13 key ideas
Finding My Virginity (2017) is the long-awaited sequel to Richard Branson’s first autobiography, Losing My Virginity. It picks up right where the earlier book left off, at the start of a new century with the digital marketplace opening up and an array of new business possibilities presenting themselves, including the opportunity to launch a company to take people into space.
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Key idea 1 of 13
Virgin Atlantic’s battle with British Airways presents a classic example of Richard Branson’s resourcefulness.
In 1999, Richard Branson wasn’t sure what lay ahead. The trendsetting, billionaire entrepreneur had just wrapped up his latest hot air balloon adventure, attempting to travel all the way around the world only to end up in need of rescue near the Hawaiian Islands.
At this time, Branson’s Virgin Group was on the verge of being the global brand he’d always dreamed of. And while there had been missteps along the way, such as the failed attempts during the 1990s to get into the cola, vodka and cosmetics markets, he was constantly learning and becoming more focused on what exactly made a perfect fit for the Virgin Group.
One of the companies that Branson fought hardest for is Virgin Atlantic, the international airline whose history shows how determined Branson can be to compete.
Virgin Atlantic was founded in the early 1980s, and as with most of Branson’s projects, it was born in an attempt to offer people a better experience. In this case, an alternative to British Airways (BA), which wielded an extremely powerful influence at London’s Heathrow Airport but offered bad food, bad entertainment and bad service.
But BA would not go down without a fight. Ever since Virgin Atlantic started doing business, BA has tried to squeeze it out of the competition, even using “dirty tricks” that involved printing libelous remarks about the company.
Though the libel suit against BA was settled with Branson being awarded damages, he prefers to win simply by being the best airline in the business, not by being in the courtroom.
Branson is also always keen to improve and take a shot at his competition. At one point Virgin Atlantic began offering in-flight massages. Branson advertised this by putting up a sign at Heathrow that read, “BA Don’t Give a Shiatsu.”
And when BA was spending huge amounts sponsoring the London Eye in the 1990s, and running into all kinds of technical problems that left the giant ferris wheel stranded on its side, Branson jumped at the chance to hire a blimp displaying the message, “BA CAN’T GET IT UP.”
Cheekiness and great service; that’s the Virgin way.