Chat With Richard Branson

Great people keep the promises they can’t keep.

In May 2015, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a week on Richard Branson’s island with him. It was an invite only event of 30 inspiring and wonderful people. It was certainly an amazing experience, a one of a kind experience to make a difference.

When I got back home, my friends asked me what I had learnt from him, and I actually drew a blank. I did not know what I learnt from him. The many things he talked about, many lessons he wanted to teach us.

I grew embarrassed that I did not learn anything from Richard Branson, and really struggled to understand if I had failed to learn anything from him. There were things I had learnt, but I drew a blank to explain what I had learnt.

After many months, I understood what I had learnt from Richard. Richard himself is kind, generous, a savvy business man and knows how to built the right culture, but those were not the lesson I learnt from him.

What I learnt from him I feel is the most powerful lesson, in the world.
Richard keeps his promises, even if he thinks he can’t keep them.

In that moment of realization, the difference between a good person and great person. A good person keep their promises until they can’t keep them anymore. A great person keep their promises, even when they think they can’t keep them. Great people, will move heaven and earth to keep them and deliver on their promises.

It is really easy to keep a promise when you have an abundance of resources, time and energy. But when you reach the limit of what you can or can’t do, what you do next is your source of greatness.


TED Active Day 2

TED Active runs its 2nd Day…

What a blast.. combined over 25 talks and half a dozen workshops with a night of painting the town red, most of us will barely be awake for the next day.

Today I initially wanted to highlight a talk from each of the 5 sessions, everything from living forever to living on Mars. Yet it all seems pale to the Highlight of the day. TED Prize winner Dave Isay, on his work on Story Corp. I find it impossible to think about the other talks, as his message was incredible pure and heart warming.

The whole room started crying..it was so touch and moving..none of us were talking about the other talks for the rest of the day. His work is to record the wisdom and stories that all of humanity has to offer.

You can read the full details at the TED Blog.

I wish I could write up more, but this has filled my mind with so many other things.

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TED Active Day 1

This is part of my daily coverage of the TED Active Conference. You can follow regularly updates on Social Media.

Session 1 Talks

Kevin Rudd

International relations expert

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While studying future alternatives for China’s global relations, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has come to an ominous conclusion: conflict is looming.

Kevin Rudd started the talk about his apology to the aboriginal people in Australia and the impact it has on the Australian community. He then turned his talk to China and its rising power. He explained the facts in history that demonstrated the likeness of a US China war and offered Australia as the country who has the ability to broker the peace between the two super powers.

Chris Anderson mentioned that Kevin Rudd was uniquely position to deal with this looming crisis.

David Rothkopf

Foreign policy strategist

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With books and strategies, David Rothkopf helps people navigate the perils and opportunities of our contemporary geopolitical landscape.

David shows an incredible array of information, that lays out how technological progress has change the way we do war. Using 9/11 as an example, he explained how the world responded to it and what effect that has left us. He then moves on to discuss the rising challenge to change the situation for the better.

Joseph DeSimone

Chemist, inventor

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The CEO of Carbon3D, Joseph DeSimone has made breakthrough contributions to the field of 3D printing.

Joseph,did a daring presentation, he demonstrated a new 3d printer that was able to print a full 3D printed object before his talk finished. His showed how the method they developed to do 3d Printing, was able to do multiple materials and printing objects within the time frame of his talk.

Abe Davis

Computer scientist

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Computer vision expert Abe Davis pioneers methods to extract audio from silent digital videos, even footage shot on ordinary consumer cameras.

Ok, Abe Davis work is incredible…absolute incredible. In fact, it was requested that no one publicly share his video or its content till TED released the talk. So I will have to stay silent on his content, but when its on TED.com you must see it!

Moon Hooch


Two saxophone players and a drummer, Moon Hooch whip up a raw, infectiously danceable sound.

A group that started its musical career in the New York Subway, and was kicked out because they were so successful that they were affecting the subway system. They call the music they have created called Cave Music.

I have attached a youtube video of another performance. The music is amazing and I shall let it speak for itself.

Marina Abramović

Performance artist

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Her work is very hard to explain summaries. She is a powerful artist, who has created powerful art pieces, which can create incredibly intimate works. I would not be able to honestly describe what she does.


Thats the days wrap of talk..see you guys tomorrow!

Necker Island Aerial

How I got my friends a week with Richard Branson on his island?

It was 2013, I was working in my office, when I got a random LinkedIn Request from a Stranger, doing sales. It was from an organization that I was familiar with, but had no previous dealing with. Curious at what they were up to, I agreed to a phone conversation with this Sales person.

Her name was Fiona, she had just moved from Ireland to Australia, and was working 2 jobs to try establish herself. Fiona was actually volunteering at this organisation she was presenting on the call to try and build out her network. I could see how she had thrown herself into the deep end to make ends meet, and the kind of bravery it took for her to change countries and start from the very beginning. In the end Fiona  actually sold me..not on her products she was pushing, but on her as a person.

I was cautious at first, do I want to spend wasting my time with someone I barely knew?  Would I want to share my network of individuals I had worked so hard to build up a reputation with? Fair questions for anyone to ask, especially since it started as a sales call. However I truly admire at how willing Fiona was at asking for help. For her, I was simply another random stranger on a list to call. It was like cold calling, the person on the other side could be verbally abusing you. For someone starting, it was an impressive amount of effort, and none could fault her on her persistence and determination, and so I chose to help her out.

For the next 45 minutes, I flooded Fiona’s inbox with LinkedIn Profiles, and email introductions to the people she needed in my network. She was introduced to some of the senior people in the Startup Scene in Sydney, Australia, and a possible clients for her organisation. I also recommended her books, video and websites to read to improve herself. She understandable was surprised and we remained good friends since.

Since that moment, we caught up every few months, chatting as friends, sharing our respective adventures. 18 months later, Fiona came to me and told me she was engaged to a wonderful man. Naturally I was happy for her, it did however come with an extra surprise. Her husband to be, had taken her to see Richard Branson on his Island, and I was utterly jealous as she recounted the stories of what had happen.

That was when she told me that she was setting up an event on Richard Branson’s Island, where Richard would generously give a week with 30 individuals on inspiring them and helping them grow. She remember how I  had being so generous to her at the start, and she loved the work I was doing in building up a commercial space industry in Australia. She offered me a spot on the island and I said yes.

Since that faithful moment, I have recommend many of my friends to Fiona for a chance to see Richard Branson. Many of them have enjoyed his company and I am certain many more will.  It’s a real pleasure to share my adventures with my friends.

By so choosing to err on the side of generosity, I now have an amazing opportunity to see Richard Branson on this island for a week with many of my friends, and the many opportunities that will come out of it.

Come 1st of May 2015, I should be blogging from an island paradise.

Bill Gates Speaking at TED

TED Here I come!!

The Main TED event and its satellite event TED Active are absolutely amazing. Watching a TED talk with friends or sharing them online is a very different experience when you are in the same room as the speakers. My ability to articulate the different is still beyond me.

The TED Conference means a lot more than to TEDx Organizers than it does to the general public. Every year TEDx Organizers from around the world gather a day before the main TED for the TEDx Workshop. A one day Organizer only event, where we meet each other and share our knowledge on how to build great TEDx events.

As I write this, I am traveling to Vancouver for the TED Active Conference. Sunday is the TEDx Organizers workshop, where I get to meet many of my old friends, followed by a week at Whistler, British Columbia for the TED Active Conference.

From there I intend to blog about my adventures at the TED Conference, and the TED talks as they come out. Be ready for an adventure! At some point I shall be giving a talk on a TED or TEDx Stage, but till then I will happily hold the spot light for those with an idea worth spreading.

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