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The art of corporate hyperbole

While in favour of economic acts between consenting adults, I have a visceral dislike of self-publicist businessmen and of the current crop, by far the most irritating is Richard Branson. The self-styled 'branded venture capitalist' is also a serial litigant, has a degree of self-absorption that if Madonna were a sponge she could not equal, and it would seem, a woeful lack of understanding of both the posssibilities and the regulations of at least one of the areas in which he operates.

The reason why he is in my sights is because of his absurd reaction to BSkyB ('Murdoch') buying a minority stake in ITV: "All of us know governments are scared stiff of Murdoch. If The Sun, The Sunday Times, The Times, Sky, The News of the World, just to name a few of the things that Murdoch owns, all come out in favour of a particular political party, the election is likely to be won by that particular party. "If you tag on ITV to that as well, basically we've got rid of democracy in this country and we might as well just let Murdoch decide who is going to be our prime minister."(Source)

How very like Branson not to note that the Murdoch papers do not sing with one voice, and more to the immediate point that there is neither the possibility for BSkyB to buy ITV, not any desire on its part. The most Bransonite element of the lot is his seeing a setback to his own ambitions as being inimical to the national interest.

A friend used to work for Virgin Retail, and this tale gives something of an insight into Branson the man. Every year staff - rushed off their feet at Christmas - would get a bonus from the company. Not money, but rather some new Virgin branded product the Bearded One was touting. Aftershave / scent was the bonus one year, to much groaning. The ne plus ultra was the year when the poor unfortunates all received a copy of the Branson autobiography. Savour the hideousness - the man really thought that his staff would want to spend their spare time over Christmas reading a hagiographic account of his exploits. Staff were less than impressed, and apparently bookshops around the country were overwhelmed with Virgin staff taking in 'unwanted Christmas presents' in hope of an exchange....
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Anonymous newmania said... 10:39 am

I do worry about the influence Murdoch wields but I assume normal monopoly regulations apply to him.

These proto hippy entrepreneurs all seem to be pretty foul, I don’t like Branson much but Anita Roddick must be the patron saint of self righteousness  



Blogger Croydonian said... 10:47 am

Indeed they do...

At least Roddick gave us the amusement of selling the Corpse Emporium to L'Oreal (?).  



Anonymous Anonymous said... 11:44 am

Not been so impressed with the spoilt Branson, after reading of the 'buccaneering spirit' of defrauding the Excise when he was a budding entrepreneur. Not because of the fraud of selling records as imports that had never left the country per se, but the fact tat it helped having a prominent wealthy barrister as a father who got him off. The rest of us would have gone to clink.  



Blogger Croydonian said... 12:24 pm

It is his whining and immediate recourse to civil action when things do not go his way, plus his conviction that everyone loves him, that really get on my extremities.

Someone once described MCI as a law firm with a phone company attached, and I can see a parallel...  



Anonymous Anonymous said... 12:38 pm

Branson is though a true entrepreneur. His modus operandi is to be in the papers at all times not matter what as this helps all his companies sell.

This would explain this outburst. I am sure he and Murdoch are great chums.

Rememeber when he was goign to buy Concorde for a pound? It is all the same schtick.  



Anonymous verity said... 3:50 am

"defrauding the Excise" ... and this is bad, how?

Croydonian says, among his reasons for not feeling kindly to Branson, is: "plus his conviction that everyone loves him, that really get on my extremities."

I couldn't agree more. I have never been on a Virgin flight in my life.

For that reason.  



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