USATODAY.com - Virgin to launch commercial space flights

USATODAY.com - Virgin to launch commercial space flights



Speaking of Virgin ... Richard Branson is launching "Virgin Galactic" which will provide suborbital space flights for $208,000.00.



I met Branson a couple of times when I worked at Virgin Interactive. He's a walking pile of charisma, which is interesting, because he's basically shy.



I have a saying: there are two kinds of CEOs. The kind that can add and subtract, and the kind that multiply.



The kind that can add and subtract figure out how much something costs to make and then charge a bit more, thus making money.



The kind that can multiply are the ones that figure out how much something costs to make, then make a spreadsheet that shows if they sell huge numbers of the thing, they'll make money. These guys usually fall prey to "the big spreadsheet lie" and generally lose money - and lots of it.



Branson is the first kind of CEO - he only goes into businesses where the operating margin makes sense. He loves to find businesses that have high operating margins and then undercut the market by discounting a bit. As a result he's been fabulously successful.



He's also smart about when he unloads a company - once the market gets crowded he usually gets out.



The only problem with buying a company from Branson is that unless you really understand the Virgin culture and work to maintain it, you're likely to lose a lot of good people, as corporate-ness sets it. Virgin is one of those few "anti-corporate" companies that actually pull it off.