The atmosphere outside Troxy that night was electrifying, the crowd abuzz with excitement and chatter. Queues to collect tickets stretched around the block but not a single complaint was heard, I know I didn’t. I was there that night on behalf of Acorn Aspirations to witness Richard Branson, serial entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Group, launch his new autobiography; Finding My Virginity – a sequel to an earlier book of his. While I’m ashamed to say I haven’t always been the biggest fan of autobiographies and I’ve yet to pick one up, there was no way I could pass up the chance of seeing such an inspiring figure in real life. The crowd present was an eclectic one, to say the least, with an event like this drawing in people from all backgrounds. The Acorn cohort was no exception, a slightly awestruck group of young entrepreneurs, eagerly waiting in line to see someone who embodied our hopes and dreams.
Listening to the business magnate offered plenty of insight, not only into his well-renowned business success stories but into his personal life and the principles which he stood by. Before even saying a word, he exuded an air of confidence and charisma as he made his way on stage. Throughout the interview Branson remained courteous and polite, never too eager to speak of his own amassed fortune or fantastic tales, and mindful of the audience he was speaking to. He spoke about his family often, referencing his mother and the values she instilled in him – to never speak ill of anyone and to always say yes to any opportunity which presented itself – as well as his wife who had always supported him throughout his foolhardy ventures – including the time he found himself in a hot air balloon over the Atlantic.
What struck me most about Richard Branson was how down to earth he seemed, despite constantly being in the company of figures such as Barack Obama, who he invited to his very own Necker Island after leaving office. I would most definitely say that it has been an enlightening and eye-opening experience, further spurring me on and adding fuel to my desire to become a successful entrepreneur not too dissimilar to him.
Also published on Medium.