Our own Shira Lazar sat down with @richardbranson live on the inaugural Virgin America flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia where he answered viewer questions and spoke about social media, entrepreneurism, the state of music and the importance of making a difference in other peoples' lives. He emphasized that was inspires him is not simply business or a passion for life, it's just life itself!
Check out the full interview and highlights below:
Why the state of music today isn't great:
"...it's tough for new bands. And I don't envy people who are trying to build record companies or build bands today. Live music is doing great, but trying to sell records is very, very tough."
On the importance of social media:
I think social media can help a lot. Despite being pretty busy, I take social media very seriously. I have 4.5 million followers and I have a lot of fun sharing the life I lead with them. I can immediately find out what's going in the world. If some distant part of the world a Virgin company has messed up, you can see it straight away and I can jump on it and apologize and get on top of it. So, it's really exciting, really immediate way of being in touch. Great feedback. Today was my secretary's birthday and we celebrated it on Twitter. A lot of people wished her happy birthday. Always fun to do fun things like that as well."
He's standing by his April Fools Virgin Volcanic announcement (Ahem):
"What do you mean that was an April Fool's joke? We've taken you to space, we've taken you to the bottom of the oceans, and now we can take you into the depths of the Earth... We think we may be able to take you from America to Australia via lava flows."
About his excitement for Virgin Galactic and space travel:
"We got more people signed up to go into space than have been in space in the history of space travel... It's expensive at the moment (to travel to space via Virgin Galactic). It's 200,000 dollars, but it will come down. But it's a lot less expensive than the 60 million dollars the Russians charge."
On how Virgin Fuels is looking to innovate the renewable energy sector:
"Five years from now, I hope, all Virgin planes will be flying on fuels that are clean and do not damage the environment."
His thoughts on the business leaders of today:
"If business leaders around the world spent a proportion of their time trying to tackle diseases, or try to tackle global warming issues, or conflict issues and not just leave it to the politicians, I think a lot of these problems could be gotten on top of."
Where he sees the Virgin brand 10 years from now:
"I hope to have been in space with my kids. I hope to have explored the bottom of the oceans, the Puerto Rican trench, which is the deepest trench in the Atlantic... One of the exciting byproducts of our space program could be being able to transport people around the world in the fraction of the time that it currently takes."
His valuable advice for entrepreneurs and startups:
"Don't think about how you can make lots of money. Think about how you can make a difference in other people's lives... If you don't dream, you don't achieve anything."
Follow all of Sir Branson's adventures at @richardbranson.