Celebrity role seems to be enough for Branson these days

Cantillon: Entrepreneur not revealing too many insights despite his busy schedule in Dublin

Irish UFC star Conor McGregor and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson "face-off" on stage at the Pendulum Summit in Dublin's Convention Centre. Video: Varik Torsteinsen/Feargal Hynes


People can get excited when business bigwigs such as Sir Richard Branson are in town. Here to take part in the Pendulum Summit, the annual cringefest where attendees this year are urged to ‘break through to brilliance,’ he was also everywhere else as well on Wednesday.

Given his long and illustrious career, there were plenty of people wanting to hear some tips for success in business from the great man as he darted from Virgin’s HQ to the Pendulum Summit via a quick stop-off at Powerscourt Estate. As it happened, the topic of the day at various choreographed photo opportunities was primarily Sir Richard.

What various audiences heard was largely a series of anecdotes covering everything from how he missed out on signing Dire Straits to his record label because he got them stoned, how he taught Archbishop Desmond Tutu to swim, and how the gardaí once gave him an escort from the airport to court when he arrived in Ireland for a case centred on the selling of condoms at the old Virgin Megastore.

All very amusing, but also evidence that when it comes to Sir Richard, he’s selling little other than himself these days.

Sure there was mention of Virgin Galactic, a spaceflight company he’s fronting and the planned Virgin Hyperloop project . There was even an earnest call to do more to protect the environment.

What there wasn’t though was any real insight into what makes the man tick, although he did eventually offer a few tips to budding entrepreneurs during a late-afternoon slot at the Pendulum Summit in the Convention Centre.

That said, Sir Richard’s interests increasingly seem to be away from business of late with his primary motive, when he does make a public appearance, being to drum up publicity for the Virgin brand.

Sir Richard was always something of a celebrity but now it looks as though it is a full-time gig.