Experiencing Your Product Firsthand: Richard’s Spaceflight

Richard Branson

Lesson time 06:09 min

Richard believes it’s essential to put yourself in the shoes of your customer, so naturally he took a ride on Virgin Galactic’s spaceship and became an astronaut—taking note of the tiniest details that could affect the customer experience.

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Topics include: Richard believes it is essential to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. So naturally, he took a ride on Virgin Galactic’s spaceship and became an astronaut - with an eye on taking note of the tiniest details that will affect the customer experience - and shares these insights exclusively to masterclass.


[MUSIC PLAYING] RICHARD BRANSON: To all your kids down there, I was once a child with a dream looking up at the stars. Now, I'm an adult in a spaceship looking down to our beautiful Earth, to the next generation of dreamers. If we can do this, just imagine what else you can all do. I think the worst-- the worst leaders are leaders that just have board meetings with the senior board and don't get out and about with the people who are actually doing all the frontline work. I haven't been to board meetings actually in 50 years. And I mean, the word "board," to me, it sums it up. They're boring meetings generally. They're there just to do paperwork. The real stuff comes from getting out and about with your teams, experiencing the product, flying on the planes, using the cruise ships, going to the hotels, trying the trains, going to space, whatever, and drawing up your lists. And there's a lot of managers who feel it's beneath them to make lists of these little things, and they just don't do it. And I'm afraid that therefore with a lot of companies they don't get done. You've got to be a great delegator, but equally you need to keep your eyes open and occasionally just be a member of the public just experiencing what your companies have to offer in real terms. And if you do that, you'll be able to make the companies even better. [MUSIC PLAYING] Astronaut 001, Richard Branson. I'll be evaluating the customer spaceflight experience. WOMAN: 5, 3, 2, 1. Release. MAN: Fire, fire. [ENGINES FIRING] RICHARD BRANSON: I went to space and I've been-- officially been told I'm now an astronaut. It was an incredible day in my life. - Everybody look out the window. - Oh my god. Whew. Oh, this is unbelievable. This is too unbelievable. But at the end of that day, I had-- at the end of that week because I had the training as well, I had 35, a list of 35 things that I felt needed to be improved upon. Really, relatively little things, but if you add them all up together for the next person who goes to space, it's going to make their journey all the more enjoyable. In my mission specialist role dealing with the customer experience, I've set out suggestions below for improvement for future flights. One, each seat needs to be tested by people of a specific size, and weight, and head size prior to future customers arriving so that the correct amount of foam can be put on the headrest. I had to have extra foam added. It's possible that this can be done in a few days leading up to the flight. Two, not urgent, but if there could be a seat belt system that is more automated or easier to use, that would be good. When I was floating in space, I was trying to work out where my seat was. So I suggested that there was a clear different color demarcation on the top of the seats so that you can find your way back to your own seat. Need three separate netting areas on the wall by each seat. One f...

About the Instructor

Sometimes, making it big is all about following the fun. Ask Richard Branson. The founder of the Virgin Group built a business empire by solving the problems that fascinated him, disrupting every industry he touched, and pursuing dreams that seemed impossible. The adventure took him from humble beginnings to the stars. Learn how you, too, can find ideas so good they’re scary, lean into your fear, and achieve liftoff.

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Richard Branson

Entrepreneur Richard Branson teaches you how to turn your wildest dreams into successful businesses—and have fun doing it.

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