On Richard Branson, Nuts and Airplanes
This just in... Richard Branson responds.
Read on for the original blog post.
Adventure is an attitude.
Last year, I had a chance to see Sir Richard Branson give an inspiring talk at the United Nations Foundation’s Social Good Summit in New York. After his talk, I sneaked back stage to try and meet him. Shut down by security. Darn. So close. Luckily, I spotted an acquaintance of mine who happened to be hosting the celebrities. "Dude - great to see you. Can you please hand Richard my nuts?" I quickly scribbled a note on the back of my business card, and off he went back stage, with a giant smirk on his face. Mission accomplished.
Richard Branson is known for his risk-taking, and has been an inspiration to me as we’ve grown Olomomo Nut Company from a hobby side business at farmers markets to a full-throttle brand distributed in grocery stores across the US. His autobiography - Losing My Virginity - is an awesome and inspiring read with one crazy adventure after another. Love him or hate him, as an adventurer and business man, Branson has disrupted several industries by taking many risks that traditional MBA’s would never even dream. And many of those risks have obviously paid off - big time. Part of his secret, I believe, is that he seems to be missing the “I can’t do that” gene. Rather, it seems like the voice in his head constantly says “go for it.” (By the way, did you know that our company is named after Olomomo - the monkey god of adventure? In case you’ve always wondered, he’s actually the voice in your head that whispers “go for it.”) Branson wasn’t even aware he wasn’t “supposed” to be able to do many of the things he’s pulled off. He’s also dyslexic and didn’t know jack about finance when starting out. Someone told me a story once where a young entrepreneur with little experience in his industry was asked “what makes you qualified to do that?” The entrepreneur's response: “the fact that I just did it.” Most people never even try one business idea. They get stuck in Walter Mitty-like daydreams that never see the light of day, let alone get beyond failing in one business attempt in one industry. Branson didn’t know he was breaking the rules - especially early in his career starting Virgin Records. He just has a hardwired adventurous attitude, a relentless work ethic, and an ability to go and do. I think one of his key traits is the ability to improvise - whether under attack from British Airways, or thousands of feet up in the air circumnavigating the globe in a hot air balloon. He has the confidence in his ability to make things happen and not listen to the endless “no’s” and rejections every entrepreneur faces - and he does it with a grand sense of humor. And no - Richard hasn’t called me back, yet, (dag nab it - come on, Richard!!). But, he may have tasted Olomomo. I may never know, but we’ve been thinking that Richard’s airline - Virgin America - is the perfect airline to launch Olomomo nuts in the air.
Part of the reason I started Olomomo: finding good food to eat when traveling is hard. Virgin would really stand out from all the other airlines who carry super lame commodity products by supporting other entrepreneurial companies with higher quality products and sustainable missions. What do you think? Should we get #nutsontheplane? If you agree, then please help us launch our fun social media campaign, here, by copying and tweeting or sharing this message on Facebook: Sir @RichardBranson and @VirginAmerica, let’s get #NutsOnThePlane #VirginNuts by @Olomomo. Go for it, eh? Justin Perkins, Founder & President, Olomomo Nut Company