This week we look back at our best posts of 2012 (and sometimes beyond). We begin with the preeminent business – nay, HUMAN – philosopher, Sir Richard Branson.
We first alerted you to Tricky Rick’s musings in early 2011:
“[we said] In his latest…piece, ‘When Small Business Owners Think Big,’ Branson rambles all over the lot:
‘[Branson said] Whatever route you decide to take as you expand your business, make sure that it builds on your company's past successes, and that it fits with the corporate culture and the vision for the future that you and your team have created.’
[we said] In other words, make sure where you are now is a result of where you came from, and that you are pointed in the direction you are going.”
No matter how inane Branson’s writing was, his bootlicking fans wanted more. Soon, as we wrote just last month, LinkedIn got wise to this trend in “branded content” (i.e., it’s not the content that draws traffic, it’s the author), and signed Branson as #1 Spouter of Jibberish in its new “Thought Leader” series, a somewhat desperate attempt for traffic.
Branson knocked it out of the LinkedIn park with his mid-November “Don’t Work, Be Happy” post. “Money is a by-product...” of a successful business, he said. Nearly one thousand sycophants genuflected, via the comments section.
At the time, we said this: “…we’d actually prefer to see Branson pen something like ‘why Virgin can’t run a profitable U.S. airline business.’ ”
And here’s why this was one of our Best Posts of 2012.
Last week, Singapore Airlines took a half-BILLION-dollar loss on its 1999 partnership with Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways. Delta took Singapore’s 49% stake (note that “partnership” is not a 50-50 proposition with Herr Richard) for a Song. Branson couldn’t even be bothered to show up for the press conference.
Meanwhile, Virgin America’s third-quarter results, announced coincident with Branson’s “Happy” post, were anything but. Operating margin was down and net loss quadrupled. The company also announced it would reduce its order for new Airbus A320s and postpone their delivery…up to SIX years.
Further, Virgin America disclosed that it would reduce capacity by roughly 3% and furlough an untold number of employees in the first quarter of 2013.
Virgin America ended its fiscal 2012 second quarter with $82 million in cash. At the end of the third quarter, that total was down to $75 million.