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Video transcript

Richard: It was the Vietnamese War was waging and I was against the Vietnamese War, I was 15 years old. I decided to start a magazine to campaign against it, it was called "Student" and it became this sort of national magazine for young people. The magazine didn't make much money but it got a big circulation, about 100,000 young people bought the magazine and one day I took an advert in the magazine, Virgin Records 10 to 60 percent off any album on any label and listed the kinds of records we liked. Things like Frank Zappa rather than Andy Williams and so it became very much the rock and roll mail order company and then we started signing our own bands. Bands that we couldn't get other record companies to release, we released ourselves. There are bands everywhere that want to be found, it's finding the right ones and I had a 15 year old boy called Mike Oldfield come to me with a tape called Tubular Bells which he had recorded all the tracks himself. I literally went to another record company, borrowed an artist called Sandy Denny's contract and we typed out the contract, you know we managed to get "The Exorcist" to take the music and that took it number one in America. It became a phenomenal success. Moved on and signed bands like the Sex Pistols and the Rolling Stones and a lot of other iconic, great bands. In those days there was quite a lot of money to go around in the record business. A big hit album could sell 10 to 15 million albums. We went into the airline business because I had record companies all over the world and I was traveling a lot on other people's airlines and there was one time I took a flight from Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands and I got bumped by American Airlines and chartered a plane and I came out with a blackboard and for fun I wrote "Virgin Airlines $29" to the Virgin Islands, walked around all the people who had been bumped and I filled up my plane. And then as I was landing somebody said to me, "sharpen up the service a bit "and you could go into the airline business." And I've started three or four airlines, so Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Australia and they've all gone really well and the reason they've gone well is because they're the best airlines in their field and if you're the best hotel or the best shop or the best club or the best airline you survive. It's people who try to be second-best who normally stumble. The key to our success is to offer people much more than they'd expect. So we offer a much better than first class product for our upper class passengers but we charge a business class fare. We offer a class above what people would expect. We do lots of nice little things which surprise people. You know, just little things like we give people an ice cream when they're watching a movie or popcorn or we have a limousine to and from the plane for our business class passengers. We put seat back videos in our planes six years before anybody else did. We're smaller, we're more nimble. We're from the entertainment business so we know that people like to be entertained. Virgin is always evolving. I start businesses not because I think I'm going to make money at a business, I'm not particularly interested in that. I start businesses because I think I can make a real difference. The main thing to remember though is if you do go out to start a business most people fail but most people also pick themselves up and try again and again until they finally succeed.