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How The Virgin Group Was Started

Ramya GovindRaj

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How The Virgin Group Was Started,Startup Stories,2018 Latest Business News,Best Motivational Stories,Virgin Group History,Richard Branson Facts,Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson,Richard Branson Success Story,Biggest Conglomerates in World,Virgin Group Founder Biography

A self titled rebel billionaire and the founder of one of the biggest conglomerates in the world, Sir Richard Branson is the owner of 400 companies in 30 countries.

Known for his alternative way of thinking, Richard Branson always challenged himself to go a step further believing that he can not only compete with large enterprises but could also do their job better. All the Virgin businesses operating today are known to work with controversial and subversive artists as well as successful ones. Almost all of the businesses started by Richard Branson challenged the established behemoths in different industries and beat them at their own game. The life story of one of the richest people in the world today is filled with highs and lows and lots of lessons to learn.

Born in Surrey England, Sir Richard Branson started his entrepreneurial journey at the age of 16. In 1968, he launched his first business, a magazine by the name Student which was run only by students. While starting a magazine in itself is a great accomplishment, Sir Richard Branson was also dyslexic, who could not read, write or spell well and was often beaten for poor behavior. The publication sold $8,000 worth of advertising in its first edition and the first run of 50,000 copies was disseminated for free. However, Branson covered the cost of publication through advertising later.

Post the success of the Student, at the age of 17, living in a London commune, Branson along with Nik Powell had the idea to start a mail order record company to help fund his magazine efforts. Considering themselves to be a ‘virgin’ to the business, both the young entrepreneurs decided to name the new company Virgin Records. Starting from a London commune, Virgin Group today has an annual revenue of over £19.5 billion. The success of Virgin Records allowed Branson to build a recording studio in 1972 in Oxfordshire, England.

The first ever record produced by Virgin Records was also an instant smash and Mike Oldfield’s single “Tubular Bells” stayed on the UK charts for 247 weeks. In the following years, Branson signed other aspiring musical groups to the label, including the Sex Pistols, The Culture Club, The Rolling Stones and Genesis. Virgin Records grew to become Virgin Music and one of the top six record companies in the world.

But, this was just the tip of the iceberg. By 1984, he decided to expand further and included the Voyager Group travel company to his cap. He added the Virgin Atlantic airline and a series of Virgin Megastores in 1984. But Branson’s iceberg was also hit by the Titanic. In a span of a decade, by 1992, Virgin was suddenly struggling to stay financially afloat.

Despite that, Richard Branson did not lose hope. He launched Virgin Radio in 1993 followed by a second record company V2 in 1996. In 1997, he launched the Virgin Trains which became the most criticised operator on the railways within a year. 1998 saw the birth of the Virgin Mobile. The Virgin Galactic an airline that will operate in space was then launched in 2004. The Virgin Active UK gym chain took shape in 2005. In 2015, the Virgin Voyages was announced which was supposed to be a new cruise line. Virgin cruise ships are set to debut in 2020 and are designed to hold 2,800 guests and a crew of 1,150 people.

Slowly but surely, the Virgin group was a part of 35 countries around the world, with nearly 70,000 employees. The company handles affairs in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada, Asia, Europe, South Africa and beyond.

Richard Branson has set new goals for himself every step of the way challenging norms, breaking records and inspiring people to go the extra mile. Knighted for his services to entrepreneurship in 1999, he resides on his private island, the Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, contributing to humanitarian services whenever possible and addressing important issues in the world with the same enthusiasm and vigor.

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Entrepreneur Stories

Larry Ellison Life Lessons

Smruthi Kishore

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Larry Ellison Life Lessons,Startup Stories,11 Things Larry Ellison Taught The World,Success lessons from Larry Ellison,Lessons To Learn From Larry Ellison,Top 10 Success Lessons from Larry Ellison,What I Learned From Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison: flamboyant, eccentric, one of the most brilliant entrepreneurs and named as one of the most successful people in the field of tech, has taught people around him a lot. From almost failing at his dream to more than being a force to be reckoned with, Ellison has done it all. At almost 72 years of age, with a company worth close to $ 200 billion, there is a lot this great man has taught the business and tech world. If you find yourself in a rut and with no way to get out, here are some lessons you need to learn from the tech guru of the world!

1. A degree is just an accessory, not a requirement

For some unfathomable reason, college dropouts are the ones who end up becoming successful in whatever they want to do. Ellison is a special case. He dropped out of college not once, but twice! The second time over, Ellison realised college was not his cup of tea and decided to move to California at 22 years of age. Thankfully for him, he had stayed in school long enough to understand the basics of computer design. A couple of years later, he created a database from scratch just by reading a paper on the subject! Not bad for a two time college dropout, right?

2. Retiring is for the weak 

Larry Ellison was perhaps the longest serving CEO in the history of CEOs so far. A 70 year old CEO at the time was completely unheard of and Ellison practically broke the record at the time. Looking at how Ellison broke the age misconception, other CEOs also started following his trend and now, CEOs everywhere are following this surprising trend!

3. Be greedy and needy 

Worth over $ 49 billion, Ellison is now the fifth richest man in the world. Despite being so well to do, the man did not and could not stop. In fact, in the year 2002, Ellison was one of the highest paid CEOs and earned close to 18% of the total revenue made by Oracle! The lesson here? It is okay to be greedy and needy. You have worked hard for what you have, so why not reap the rewards?

4. Cut off the people who do not help you grow 

Silicon Valley, famous for being home to several successful entrepreneurs, is also infamous for being home to the casual dresser. Ellison decided to nip this habit by letting people know that he was in the market only for people who were very serious about their work. Also, Ellison is also known as the original geek of the tech world, making geeks look good world over!

5. If you have got it, then you should also spend it

The atrociously wealthy Ellison has one basic flaw to his character: he is a spendthrift. From being a true philanthropist and helping in improving the medical field, Ellison has also spent a hoard on monetary acquisitions. He owns two airlines (yes, more than one,) part of an island in Hawaii and at least a couple of mansions in strategic locations around the world. If that is not living in luxury, I do not know what else is.

This brilliant man, with his dreams of achieving something truly extraordinary in life, has managed to leave an awestruck and inspired audience in his wake. If you have been truly inspired by Larry Ellison in ways we have not covered here, comment and let us know!

 

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Walt Disney: A Journey Into The World Where Dreams Come True

Smruthi Kishore

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Have you ever had dreams, but not the courage to turn the dreams into magical reality? Have you ever had a desire so strong, but not the drive to turn this into something beautiful? Had Walt Disney been like you or me, we would most definitely not have the glorious world of Disney today.

Walt Disney’s early life 

Walt Disney’s early childhood was nowhere close to being as rosy and colourful as the movies he made later on in life. Born in Chicago to Elias Charles Disney and Flora Call Disney, Walt’s childhood was interrupted when the family had to move to Missouri first and then Kansas. With barely any money to spare, the Disney brothers had to work several odd jobs to make ends meet, a task which left them with little to no time for school.

The big change to Walt’s life came in the form of the Great War. A patriot by birth, Walt immediately joined the army, but was rejected because he was only a mere boy of 16. However, he finally became a part of the army by driving an ambulance bus! Through his time in the war, he realised his true passion lay in the magical world of theater, acting and drawing!

Walt Disney and the beginning of his career 

The war had a great impact on Walt’s life. So great that the first caricatures he drew were of political figures, a feat which was clearly not a good idea! One of Walt’s brothers, Roy, was the first man who introduced him to the world of cartoons, mystery and beauty! In July 1923, Walt sold his camera, his creations and his hard work and moved to Hollywood. Once he reached, he moved in with his uncle Robert Disney and set out to look for a job. Unfortunately, no one believed in Walt’s dreams of becoming a director and as a result, every studio turned him down!

The first seeds for Disney were sown when Walt, Roy and Ub Iwerks (an artist) came together to form the first version of Disney. Called the Disney Brothers’ Studio, this company became home to the many creations for which Walt became famous. It was only after multiple rejections that Walt decided to turn to animation. The first success for Walt came in the form of a series called Alice Comedies, or what is now popularly known as Alice In Wonderland. The massive success of the Alice series resulted in the creation of a new project called Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and from then onward, there was absolutely no looking back for Walt!

The creation of Mickey Mouse 

Despite the massive success of Oswald, Walt was not happy. He needed a character that was sympathetic, personal and full of potential. An idea was slowly brewing in this creative man’s head and slowly, after months of contemplation, the character of Mickey Mouse came to be! This particular character had a live voice, a back story and a dream with which everyone could relate. With such a specific idea for Mickey Mouse, Walt could not find a specific voice to fit this character. Despite several auditions, no one made the right impact and after several failed attempts, the creator decided to voice the character himself! Did you know that when Walt first came up with the idea of Mickey Mouse, he wanted to name him Mortimer Mouse? How weird was that?

In the year 1932, Walt discovered a new invention in the form of technicolour while working on a project called Flowers and Trees (a part of the Silly Symphony series.) With the brilliant idea of reshooting the project with this technology, Walt created the first ever successful animated series for Disney! Nothing could stop Walt after this success and post that, his touch was like the mythical Midas touch!

At the age of 62, Walt had amassed over 31 Academy Awards and was famous for creating not only amazing cartoons, but also for making brilliant feature films. When he passed away on the 15th of December, 1966, the world fell silent. Having lost a wondrous and extremely talented man, Walt’s death was a loss not many could bear with. One of the reasons his legacy still lives on is because it was a story of success, hard work, patience and perseverance. What is your favourite Disney story? Comment and let us know!

 

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Vijay Mallya’s And Kingfisher’s Rise And Fall From Success

Smruthi Kishore

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Vijay Mallya, the self titled King of Good Times, saw nothing but wealth and opulence the moment he took over from Papa Mallya. When Junior Mallya inherited the Kingfisher empire at 28 years old, little did he know that the company was going to be valued at a whopping Rs. 350 crores (a heck of a lot of money at the time.) He had the throne, he had the money and he had the looks. All he needed now was to create a name for himself and voila! The business was set to take off like never before!

The creation of Kingfisher Airlines 

Kingfisher’s history dates all the way back to Papa Mallya’s life. Mirroring the principles of the Grinch, Papa Mallya counted his money down to every last paisa. When he passed away at the not so ripe age of 56, Mallya’s family business was an umbrella to a hoard of businesses that included industries like liquor, beer, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, paints and agriculture. When Junior Mallya took over the reigns, he took over very little from Papa Mallya (except for the money of course.)

Back then, Rs. 350 crores was almost equivalent to  three times its current value, leaving the young Mallya with money and no real spending direction. The man behind Kingfisher very soon realised the money lay with the distilleries and brewery business. His first step as CEO was as flamboyant as him: to change the colours of the Kingfisher logo from black and white to extravagant colours. Slowly moving towards the skies, Mallya started the Kingfisher Airlines and even acquired his very own cricket team (which Indian man worth his salt has never harboured that particular dream?)

The dream turns sour 

However, despite all his acquisitions, Junior Mallya slowly saw his dream turn into a horrible nightmare. Kingfisher Airlines was not doing as well as he wanted it to and people were starting to notice. For several years after its launch, Kingfisher Airlines continued to function normally, despite never breaking even or even earning profits. Despite the airlines never doing well, KFA received investment on a daily basis. Mallya’s endearing charm got him the much needed investors. Moving from one banker to another, Mallya ensured the valuation of KFA grew to a whopping Rs. 4,100 crores. While the bankers kept lending KFA money they did not really have means of paying back, Mallya’s debt kept rising with each day.

Trouble started brewing when the bankers finally opened their eyes to the problem KFA was slowly turning into. Months after its over the top launch, customers started complaining about the poor quality of the service. From the on ground staff to the crew on board, no one seemed to really care about the airlines they were working for. Management intervention was minimal, flight timings overlapped the competitors schedules, the frills overran the need, cost control was not enforced and maintenance repairs were excruciatingly high. All in all, Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) pushed itself toward a very obvious downfall.

When our very ignorant money lenders finally opened their eyes, KFA’s total debt was valued at a solid Rs. 9,041 crores! Looking back, people soon realised one of the major reasons for KFA’s downfall was glamour, the airline’s primary USP. Now living in debt, sin and poverty (according to the rich man anyway,) Mallya breeds the tale of every heir who squandered his father’s hard gotten wealth. Despite its quick fall to failure, KFA’s story was quite a cautionary tale, letting people know there was much more to success than just having access to money!

 

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