Cutting ties

Richard Branson, sat in a meeting, laughing
Image from
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 14 November 2016

If you take a look at my Twitter profile, I describe myself as a “tie-loathing adventurer, philanthropist & troublemaker, who believes in turning ideas into reality. Otherwise known as Dr Yes at Virgin!” Last week I got to put all of that into action.

Richard Branson laughing
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I was in New York celebrating the launch of Don’t Look Down, a documentary all about my adventurous side, flying balloons across the world. After doing a Q&A at Quartz, an audience member - the only person in the room in a tie and suit - ran to catch me in the lift. He asked me to help him bring more joy and a relaxed culture to his office. As Dr Yes, I was more than happy to say yes.

Now, as a troublemaker, I answered his request the best way I knew how: by cutting off his tie! I often have a pair of scissors in my top pocket for just these situations, and was happy to oblige. I have always thought that ties are only inflicted on people because their bosses had them inflicted upon them and they want to make the next generation suffer. My idea is that everyone would be far more comfortable, and therefore productive, without their ties. So cutting off every one I come across is turning my idea into reality!

Richard Branson cuts Jim Grubb's tie at a Virgin Disruptors event in San Francisco

It may only be a small gesture, and a bit of fun, but it always raises a smile and a laugh (we could all do with as many of those as possible). We even have an ever-growing collection of cut-off ties on the wall at Virgin Hotels Chicago. I do genuinely believe it helps people to relax and, in turn, perform better.

Richard Branson stands in front of a wall of cut off ties at Miss Ricky's at Virgin Hotels Chicago