Why Richard Branson?
Because I can relate to him and his early days with Virgin. He had a rough start at the beginning when all the other companies were against him. Other companies and competitors are petrified of us. When I was younger the one company I wanted to work for was Virgin. He inspired me to get off my ass and just do it. I admire him for inspiring me and tens of thousands of other entrepreneurs around the world. The similarity I think we share is that sometimes you just have to go out and do it your own way, and sometimes by doing that you create your own, new business template. Virgin manipulated the record store experience and made it a fun experience, we're doing the same with digital music distribution.
Have you met him?
Not yet. But I've been very close. The last time I was living in Miami and he was speaking at Florida International University but it was oversubscribed with thousands of people and I couldn't get a ticket. I will manipulate an opportunity to speak with him though.
How do you plan to meet up?
Simple. We'll interest him with the things Sonik Pollen are up to and what we can do for Virgin and other labels. We're the only online distributor that can give 99% of the value of online sales back to the record labels. It's inevitable I'll meet the guy. I'll be overwhelmed because I feel like I know the guy all my life.
So if you met Branson what would be your one question?
During all your time in business, what was the one thing you were afraid of?
Branson never showed any fear, even during significant periods in his career when he knew 'this is it, make or break'. I read his autobiography and there's stuff he obviously couldn't print at the time that might come out in his final memoirs. For example, at one point he wanted to drop the band Human League.
How are you like Branson?
What could you teach Richard Branson?
I disagree with the way he's diversified. It's better to have the foresight and bottle to stick with the [music] industry and see where it's going. I would say. . .
he could learn the future from Sonik Pollen. We market music directly to fans, and aim to be one of the leaders in music distribution in Europe, especially for mobile phones. The implications of mobile for the industry are massive. I could teach the Virgin Group a much tighter path to glory, to revive the recording album process. They are still stuck in a twentieth century business model.
As a business man; the ability to participate at a cultural level. And having charisma in spades [laughs]. I can open up any door, open dialogue and close accounts. We're both charming basically. Glamour comes with the person, not with wealth, and your credibility is your personality. If you call someone on behalf of your company, and they like you, they're more likely to do something for you. We're both good looking [laughs], but I've got the skinny rock 'n' roll thing going on. We've both worked in the music business, and I've gone through all that rock star bull shit so I've experience of both sides of the business. My style is similar to his style. I like to get things moving fast. We've won 400 customers in four months. Bang, bang, bang is the way to do it. You have to have a 'let's do this' mentality.