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Open Letter to Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard,

Ever since I first read your book "Losing my Virginity" I have been fascinated by your simple approaches to complex processes and your personal productivity. Thank you so much for sharing what are obviously private thoughts. Thank you.

Now to the purposes of this letter. If by a great stroke of luck (and your forbearance) you do see this letter, I would love to know some of the answers to these burning questions I have asked over the years. I'm sorry if you have answered them in other places but I haven't been able to find satisfactory explanations. So here goes:

About the Virgin Group ?
  • Lots of Aussies, what qualities attracted you to have them on your Group team?
  • How does Virgin Group keep cash flow if equity is the main goal of the business?
  • Is there any equity sharing with the team in Virgin Group?
  • Is Virgin Group cashed by bank loans, or was there initially investors that were then bought out?
About building new Venture Teams?
  • There seems to be a practice of scalping talent from other Virgin companies. How do you do this without causing partners in in the scalped companies (the company you scalped the talent from) from getting upset? For example if you take management from Virgin Atlantic how would you pacify Singapore airlines concerns about scalping talent?
  • Is your model to bootstrap with Virgin Group (to get equity) then to find a partner for finance and operational experience?
About Personal System (Note Books and Lists)
  • Where do you keep them if you travel so much? (I presume in your mezzanine library at Necker?)
  • Have you considered digitizing them? (ie: scanning) 
  • Have you had pressure to hand them over to lawyers for discovery in court cases? (I have had to and they were ruined)
  • Do you keep daily “to do” lists in your notebook?
  • How many do you go through in a month?
What is your support system? (ie: how do you delegate?)
  • How involved are your assistants in running your life? For Example: Do you dictate messages for them to send as emails for you?
  • How do you remember who is to do what….and when?
  • How are your assistants organized? By company or by location, or both?
When interacting with Key people?
  • Out of the time you spend with them, how much is face to face? (in terms of % of total hours)
  • How much is social?
  • How much on the phone?
  • How much sending emails?
  • Do you use dictation recorders?
  • s there a difference between how time is spent during Startup? Market entry? Maturation?
  • It has been reported that Rupert Murdoch used to do four yearly cycles, travelling to his his key offices.
  • What is your routine?
  • Or are you the seat of the pants?
Mr Branson, if you do get to read this then I would presume that some of these questions could only be answered confidentially to avoid 3rd parties using the information for unintended purposes. I will gladly contribute $10,000 to a cause of your choice to pick your brain privately.

Thank you so much for visiting. It’s a real honour.
Thank you kind sir :-)

Ric Richardson
ricricho at gmail dot com
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