Magazines, records, record stores, airlines, mobile phones, space—this is Sir Richard Branson’s professional progression. He flies balloons around the world. He supports F1 racing. He was Tony Stark before Elon Musk was Tony Stark. You don’t get to $4.9 billion dollars by being conventional.
Here’s some words of wisdom from the virgin himself.
1. “You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”
2. “The balloons only have one life and the only way of finding out whether they work is to attempt to fly around the world.”
3. “One thing is certain in business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes.”
4. “I was dyslexic, I had no understanding of schoolwork whatsoever. I certainly would have failed IQ tests. And it was one of the reasons I left school when I was 15 years old. And if I'm not interested in something, I don't grasp it.”
5. “I believe in benevolent dictatorship provided I am the dictator.”
6. “If you want to be a millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline.”
7. “The funny thing is people won't let me pay for things. I'll be in a restaurant and the manager will say, 'Oh no, it's on the house.’”
8. “The jet stream is a very strong force and pushing a balloon into it is like pushing up against a brick wall, but once we got into it, we found that, remarkably, the balloon went whatever speed the wind went.”
9. “I wanted to be an editor or a journalist, I wasn't really interested in being an entrepreneur, but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going.”
10. “My mother was determined to make us independent. When I was four years old, she stopped the car a few miles from our house and made me find my own way home across the fields. I got hopelessly lost.”
11. “I love the freedom of movement that my phone gives me. That has definitely transformed my life.”
12. “My philosophy is that if I have any money I invest it in new ventures and not have it sitting around.”
13. "The best way to learn about anything is by doing."
14. “Nobody's ever called me Sir Richard. Occasionally in America, I hear people saying Sir Richard and think there's some Shakespearean play taking place. But nowhere else anyway.”
15. “With the casino and the beds, our passengers will have at least two ways to get lucky on one of our flights.”
Ethan Wolff-Mann is the Deputy Editor at Supercompressor. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.