Sir Richard Branson is an amazing man. I don’t think I’ve ever said those words about anyone before. He has started over 360 companies that shook up industries that vary from Limo services to Airliners. As far as personal achievement, he has had wondrous adventures to break (or at least attempt to break) world records in travel. He self-denigratingly jokes when he claims to hold the world record for being the person who has been rescued at sea the most number of times (poking some fun at his failed attempts, but still proud of having the adventure he did).
Unlike past keynote speakers at SolidWorks World. Richard Branson opted for an interview style presentation, where the CEO of SolidWorks, Jeff Ray, sat down on stage with him in a friendly and informative exchange. The many topics covered included his first business, childhood business ventures that never quite made it, the start of Virgin Records and of Virgin Atlantic Airways. Branson made it clear that successful companies are constantly innovating, and that they “listen, listen, listen” to their customers wants. Branson’s green heart comes through when he discussed trying to make this world a better place, stating that we “need to ween ourselves off dirty fuels.”
Earlier, Jeff Ray talked about examples of products designed using SolidWorks that are improving our world. One of these struck home for Branson. He seemed to passionately embrace Design that Matters efforts to provide incubators to poor countries. This passion spilled over into off stage discussions. Jeff Ray noted that much of the post interview conversation he had with Branson was about getting those incubators to where they are needed. As Ray put it, “he is the real deal.”
There’s a lot more about this conference, such as in the article SWW09: Monday General Session (Part 2: products to make the world a better place)