Sir Richard Branson – it’s a name that epitomises many (all!) of the values Collective Hub stands for. Entrepreneurship, courage, a devil-may-care attitude and the ability to truly succeed without taking yourself too seriously. That’s why Issue 35 is personally one of my proudest and most special covers to date. I’m beyond thrilled that we had an exclusive photoshoot and interview with a man who I don’t just count as a role model but have now seen semi-naked, wearing nothing but a mermaid tail.
When I got the heads up a few months ago that Sir Richard was coming to Australia, I reached out to his wonderful assistant, Helen (who responded almost immediately, telling me she’d been reading the latest issue of Collective Hub in bed the night before) to ask a question: Would Sir Richard have time to fit me into his schedule? Next thing I knew, I was invited to moderate The Virgin Way Co-Lab Australia; a discussion about smart disruption and intrapreneurship which brought together the crème de la crème of five Virgin brands while Sir Richard sat, ever so at ease, perched on his stool, with his shoes kicked off, sock-covered feet dangling beneath him.
That opportunity alone would have been enough to leave me smiling for weeks, but, of course I also wanted Sir Richard for our cover. Not only did we receive a resounding ‘yes’, but to make it happen we were invited to Sir Richard’s private Australian island near Noosa, Makepeace Island, to do the shoot. Spending time in his presence – even for a second – feels like downing a superfood smoothie of inspiration, motivation and energy. I came away feeling revived and alive with an un-wipeable smile.
It was off-the-charts incredible to have so much time with Sir Richard during his visit; we chatted candidly about everything from finding your why and what happiness really means to the war on drugs and even the issue of koala chlamydia (yes, it’s a thing and yes, it’s a big issue). I wasn’t there as a journalist, but as an entrepreneur representing other entrepreneurs in our community (you!) and I couldn’t wait to share Sir Richard’s insights with you all in the hope that, in reading our interview, you feel like you were there too and can learn just as much from him as I did.
Oh, and I did ask Sir Richard in the middle of the shoot what he would like his ‘coverline’ to be. He laughed and said, “Bollocks!” It’s a playful reference to the Sex Pistols’ ‘Never Mind the Bollocks’ slogan; in 1977 Sir Richard and Virgin Records were hauled to court for using such a “rude and profane word,” while again in 2015 Virgin Money was censored, this time with newspapers refusing to run the phrase to promote a new Sex Pistols-themed credit card. Well, Sir Richard’s damn cheekiness and disregard for rules got a ‘yes’ from me, so I hope you love the cover just as much as I do.
Issue 35 hits stands today