I have previously said that the mobile phone is the invention that has changed my life the most. If it wasn’t for mobiles, I would still have to be tied down to one place for a lot more time than I am now. While I’ve never worked from an office, I spent a great deal of time in my houseboat juggling landlines, and without mobiles doing business from my beloved British Virgin islands would be tougher. Now mobiles are also gateways to the internet and social media, their impact has only grown.
We realised the transformative effect mobiles were going to have early on – in fact, I was amongst the first people to try a mobile phone. It was bigger than my head! We started Virgin Mobile, which has grown from one start-up into a global brand, to join the revolution. Now Virgin Mobile is thriving in countries including the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Poland and Saudi Arabia.
My mobile enables me to live the active life I love and still get things done. There are some extreme examples, one of which happened recently. I was all kitted out and ready to kite on the beach on Necker Island, when an important call came through about the Virgin Group. Rather than reschedule, or change out of my kiting gear and call back, I took the call there and then. That way, I didn’t delay the team, could ask the questions I needed and make the decisions required – then head off on my planned kite only a few minutes later than planned.
A similar situation happened when my grandchild was born. We got the news just as I was coming in from another kitesurfing session – you can see me still in my board shorts while giving the news to Holly about Sam and Bellie’s son Bluey!
It’s important to live in the moment, stay active and enjoy a healthy lifestyle, all while getting business done. As well as mobiles, there are all sorts of tools, apps and businesses out there to help these days (Virgin Pulse, Virgin Active and Virgin Sport come to mind!) I’ve never seen a separation between work and play – it’s all living.
Having a business call in one hand and a kite in the other sums that up nicely.
What invention has changed your life the most?