You don’t have to be an asshole to be successful

In a recent interview, rapper and Law & Order star Ice-T said: "To be successful, you don't have to be an asshole." I couldn’t agree more, and was thrilled to hear he learned this from spending time with yours truly.


This is a message that we have been spreading through our work at Virgin: you can do well, by doing good. In fact, if you get into business solely to make money, you won’t. If you try to make a real difference, you’ll find true success.

Embedding purpose into your business will help it to stand out, and align it with customers who have the same values. Business can and should be a force for good – this purpose is clear in everything we do at Virgin and has been the cornerstone of our success.

The message isn’t solely applicable to entrepreneurs and business leaders; it’s something we should teach our children. We should empower all young people that it’s cool to care. My daughter Holly champions this message every year at We Day – an event where children from around the globe earn their tickets by making a positive difference. 


There are more than two billion people in the world who are under 20. That’s a lot of people figuring out who they are, and their place. This excites me. I’ve seen time and time again the great things young people are capable of when they focus on social causes, celebrate empowerment and dream big.

I started out in business at 16-years-old with my friends. We founded Student magazine, which addressed the political, artistic and social struggles of the day. We saw an opportunity and took it, knowing that if we wanted to read about it, chances were other people did too. It's great to see so many young faces at We Day each year embarking, or ready to take off, on a similar journey.

Holly Branson, WE Day UK 2015

“I think you can be successful and be cool as hell," said Ice-T. While I’m definitely not ‘cool’, I definitely care, and caring has led me to achieve my wildest dreams.

How has being socially aware and responsible led you to success? I’d like to hear about your experience in the comments below. 


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