Monthly Archives: October 2014


4-bransonGood day Friends, I got this piece from a friend and I thought it would make for good reading, it is an interview with Richard Branson, although I prefer to call him “Virgin”. I have always been a big fan of Virgin and I would rush to buy off the shelf any book authored by him, he has some amazing breathtaking inventions/ success stories from almost all business industries. In one of his books, he actually talked about his trip to Nigeria during the Reggae boom in Jamaica, later he made an entrant into Nigeria and invested in the aviation sector, well that didn’t go very well. I learnt and still learning some core business principles from him and the lesson learnt today just sank all the way down. I’d like you to read through and share your comments.

Richard Branson, one of the most exuberant and successful entrepreneurs of the last 50 years, stopped by our offices recently. As the conversation below suggests, one of his greatest strengths may be his ability to grasp all that’s thrilling and inspiring to people, be they his customers, his employees or anyone he happens to meet. The following has been edited for clarity and length.

Henry Blodget: Most management gurus preach the virtue of focus. They’ll say you have to focus on one thing, learn how to do it great, crush everybody else. How does Virgin succeed doing dozens of things in dozens of industries?

Richard Branson: It’s interesting. When we started diversifying from student magazines to records, from records to airlines, there were big headlines saying, “Will Branson’s balloon burst? He’s stretching the brand too far.” Fortunately, we ignored them. We built up what I would call a “Way of Life” brand, a brand that has overcome my frustrations in lots of different areas. I hated flying on other people’s airlines, so I thought we could create an airline that we enjoyed flying on. I was frustrated by the way the banking system works, so let’s create the friendly bank that I’d like to go to, and so on. And if we hadn’t done that, 50 years later, we would not be in business today. Because our original business was the record business. The record business has imploded, record shops have disappeared. So by diversifying, we’ve I think had the last laugh.

HB: But each of these businesses is very hard, very competitive. Even if you have a macro idea for a great airline, how do you actually execute it while then also building a space tourism company, a cola company and the many other companies that you’re doing?

Skye Gould, Business Insider

RB: Let’s take Virgin Atlantic as an example. I was trying to fly from Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands, and I got bumped off an American Airlines flight. I was desperate to get there. I had a beautiful lady waiting. So I went out, I hired a plane, I was 28 years old. Came back with a blackboard, wrote on it: Virgin Airlines, 29 dollars, one way. And I filled it with all the people who’d been bumped. When I got there, somebody said, “Sharpen up the service a bit and you might be in the airline business.”

I thought there was no point in going into the airline business unless we could be by far and away the best airline. We got one secondhand 747. We were competing with British Airways and about 18 other American carriers. And by creating something really special, we survived. In fact, every single one of the American carriers we were competing against disappeared, went bankrupt. And the reason for our survival was we just had magical stuff, we had magical service, and people enjoyed the experience with Virgin Atlantic. Continue reading

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There are certain times in life when the heavens seems to be closing in on you and you have no where to run to, times when you would wish the world would just pause and give you a moment to breathe and get back to your feet. I have been at crossroads myself when nothing seems to go the way I want them, I had sat down and called on God for a one on one chat to resolve some pending issues, well he came but not the way I wanted. I have tried to get some tips to help people in times of difficulty.

Here are four suggestions to help you survive and grow through upheavals such as an unexpected job loss, the death of a loved one, a failed marriage or a serious health issue:

1) Admit how you feel. That doesn’t mean sitting around wallowing in negativity; it means trusting God enough to acknowledge how you really feel. Pretending things are fine when they’re not, makes it harder to get back up. We all have down times. The Psalmist asked God to help him cope with despondency. And at one point Paul was under so much pressure he ‘despaired even of life’.

2) Identify the source. Discouragement often comes on the heels of a setback or disappointment. Did something you set your heart on fall apart? Were your hopes unrealistic to start with? Did somebody let you down? Or is your dejection coming from a generalised feeling of burnout?

3) Talk with a trusted counsellor. Solomon said, ‘The more wise counsel…the better your chances’. Don’t let pride prevent you from opening up to those who will listen empathetically and respond wisely. Talking to the right people can lessen your sense of isolation, and also pave the way for others who are hurting to do the same.

4) Be open before God. He, not fate or circumstances, gets to write the last chapter. Maybe He’s trying to teach you something or redirect your energies. David said, ‘Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.’ When your hope is in God, He replaces discouragement with confidence so that what you’re going through can become a path to spiritual growth

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So this week was quite interesting for me and I learned a few PLENTY things… the highpoint of this week was the site pull down of Linda Ikeji’s blog on the grounds of plagiarism. I had a very tough time with my colleagues Igoche Egwu and Dare Davids trying to understand why someone would go so far to shut down a bloggers site. Then we went as far as talking about the essence of her blog and how she got to the peak of blogging in Nigeria (this they totally disagree). Well I guess they would not understand as blogging is a gift and you only feel it when you have the experience.

I stand corrected to make bold may statement that Linda Ikeji has developed digital media in Nigeria and blogging has now become lucrative because people like us have gotten sponsorship deals from blogging. It is a pastime that would make you some money if you are judicious with it. Well with the people I mentioned there, I doubt you can ever win any argument as they would come at you with different points, (annoying or sensible) just to make sure you don’t win. Other colleagues saw my points and maintained that the site shouldn’t have come down cos of a mere story. Gossip sells reason why Kim Kadashian, her family and the Jenners have made it big on the biggest Gossip TV ever.

Well I stumbled on a post by one of my funny and hilarious blogger Ofili and below is an excerpt from his blog.

It all started with the Linda Ikeji plagiarism accusation story, which I am sure most of you have heard by now so I am not even going to touch that. But what struck me about the many debates I was involved in on twitter, Facebook pages, Facebook groups, whatsapp and others places is the amount of disguised hate people have for the Linda. People will say “o we are not hating we are just stating that plagiarism is wrong” and “she should apologize and everything will be fine” but then when she apologizes … people will say that “o that apology was not good enough” or “the comma was off a little bit.” No matter what she said or did a small select people will find fault in it. And that made me think and realize something…

And that is that whether you like it or not there are people that will hate you, it is an inevitability of life. And the more successful you are, the more hate you will get … this is nothing new. But the clincher is that the hate escalates even more depending on the job you do. Let me explain…

About a month ago, I was driving down the roads of FM 1960 in Houston when a truck sped past me at about 80 miles per hour converted to Nigerian units it was moving very fast! It was 11:00 pm and obviously dark except for the street lights. I was startled. When something like that happens it is normally an indication of a live street race so I know not to switch lanes so I don’t get clipped … and before I knew it another truck zoomed past me. I was right … this was definitely a street race …

But then another truck sped by and yet another one … that was like 5 trucks in a row and at top speed. Which is odd because trucks don’t do speed races typically. And then I started looking at the trucks much more closely and realized that this was not a street race! These were tow trucks … and they were racing not for leisure but for business…

There had been an accident and they were on a race to get to the site as fast as they could. Their top priority was not who lived or who died or who was critically injured in that accident but rather who got there first … even if it meant causing another accident! “What type of people would do a job such as this?” I thought to myself.

A job that depends on accidents to be successful. No matter how you spun it, tow truck drivers to me were dirt. You couldn’t spin it any other way. And the way I think about tow truck drivers is the way a percentage of people think about “gossip” bloggers such as Linda Ikeji. No matter how you spin it, they are and will be hated by some people for seemingly exploiting people’s social accidents. They could walk on water, build a hospital in Kano and even bring back our girls but they will be hated. That is what Linda is facing and will face continually because of the job she does …

The way I think about tow truck drivers is the way a percentage of people think about “gossip” bloggers such as Linda Ikeji. No matter how you spin it, they are and will be hated by some people for seemingly exploiting people’s social accidents.

That made me realize that I need to be even more objective in criticizing (and supporting) public figures, I need to be slower in jumping to conclusions about people who on the basis of their job description are more prone to be hated … from LASTMA to Nigerian Police to Flashy African Pastors. Because not everyone is 100% evil …

The same Tow Trucks that zoomed past me in the middle of the night are the same ones that helped tow my car when it broke down and the same ones that jump started my Camry when the battery was out. I learned all that this week when I saw someone that has given and helped so many people get her character practically torn down in the space of seconds!

Picture Credit: Mania Magazine



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