Old School

After all these years, someone finally asked me a question.

We were so spoiled at Virgin. (In a good way.) The poor schmucks working at most publicly held game publishing companies have nowhere near the freedom we had as a privately held company owned by a billionaire (Richard Branson). To be sure, the company was run with strict financial controls, which I liked quite a bit.

I used to present these incredibly detailed budget plans to Robert Deveraux, who was in charge of the Virgin publishing section of the Virgin Group, and which included us. He'd generally approve them in 24 hours. He once said I was the best manager in the Virgin Group. People asked me why he approved my requests - sometimes for significant sums of money - so quickly. My answer was of course that I presented well thought out plans... which was true.

I learned about budgeting from my wife. Without years of practice tracking our cash outlays, generally down to the penny, I would not have had the experience to produce such detailed budget plans. On a trip to Walt Disney World around 1990, I kept track of every penny. I showed my spreadsheet to David Bishop, who wanted to know how much it would cost to go to Walt Disney World, and who saw that I had noted the price of a two-pack of Tums for $0.27. The funny thing is that I thought there was nothing special about that level of detail!

Ah, the good old days ...