One of the greatest pleasures and privileges of being a business leader is that I get to meet so many wonderful people throughout my journeys, and have so many tales to tell. I was recently reminded of one such story, when these photos found their way to my inbox.
Pictured is Russ Solomon, the founder of Tower Records. With Virgin Records in competition, we were friendly rivals. During the height of the CD boom, we beat Russ and his company to buy a piece real estate for Virgin Megastores. Thrilled with the deal – and always one for a bit of friendly competition – I gifted the man that sold us the property, Mark, with this t-shirt, and signed it, "Thanks for helping me kick Russ's butt!"
Sadly, Tower experienced the same fate as a lot of record stores, and closed down after iTunes changed the way people consume music. A few years later Russ visited a former Tower employee who was working for Virgin, and discovered the shirt. It is now framed and hanging in his home. What a fun story!
While the store in question is no longer there, Virgin Megastore is still operating in the Middle East, and is particularly thriving in the UAE. I visited the team in Dubai earlier this year, and see was thrilled to see how much they are doing in the way of innovation.
It’s wonderful to see that the Virgin brand as a whole is well loved in the Middle East – just last week we announced the launch of Virgin Mobile UAE. The latest addition to Virgin Mobile joins our existing Virgin family in the UAE: Virgin Megastore, Virgin Radio and Virgin Atlantic. Welcome to the family, Virgin Mobile UAE team.