Lessons and adventures from Necker Island with Sir Richard Branson
I’m back from Necker Island, Sir Richard Branson’s private island…what an incredible experience. Before we get to the stories – the most important part of the trip was to raise money for Virgin Unite. This was our first joint Maverick Business Adventures and Centurion Mastermind trip lead by maverick member, Joe Polish and his partner, infomercial king, Dean Graziosi.
Pictured below are the 3 of us together with Sir Richard Branson holding a check for $447,000.
I’m incredibly proud of this trip because these funds will go to jumpstart a brand new program helping teach entrepreneurial skills to underprivileged youth across the U.S. Plus, some of the funds will go to support the Branson School of Entrepreneurship in South Africa. (In fact, just got our BETA test of the Maverick mentorship off the ground days before arriving on Necker.)
So what happened on Necker?
Well…on the business side we had an all-access Q&A session with Sir Richard Branson. This is not something we had last year. I shot a couple quick guerrilla videos for you. (Note: Most likely we’ll taking our best brainstorming sessions, exclusive interviews on the island more and putting it out into an incredible product with proceeds going to Virgin Unite.)
I jotted down a ton of notes from the 1 hr+ we had with Richard. Here’s one page from my private journal:
If it’s hard to read but here are a few of my favorite quotes from the session:
“Find great people and give them extreme freedom in the short run this will be difficult but it frees you up for bigger things.”
“If you are going to make a difference you have to work hard at making a difference.”
“As you get older you will leave behind your children and that’s your legacy.”
Plus we had a couple powerful brainstorms with the USA’s head of Virgin Unite, Darin Spurgeon and investment relations mgr (former PA to Branson), Nicola Duguid. Branson sat in on the main brainstorm for the Virgin Unite team with some killer ideas coming from attendees.
Then we capped it off with an optional, focused brainstorm around the idea of a group called “Entrepreneurs Unite”, which would let successful entrepreneurs get involved in initiatives ‘powered’ by Virgin Unite. It was exciting to see some of the attendees from last year’s Necker trip report back on the things they’ve done. Everything from donating 25 cents per book sold to planning a $100M barefooted run across the country.
A bit crazy and that’s Internet marketer, Tellman Knudson for you. (I told Tellman I’d be in the chase bus and I’d pay extra sponsorship money if I could throw out nails and tacks in front of him.)
Actually Tellman got married to his long-time partner, Jodi, on the island. You can see their 2 ½ year old son, Torger, napping while this is all going on. Pretty funny and Branson was the ring bearer. You just never know what will happen on Necker.
Speaking of what happens on Necker. A few of you might recall last year when I sorta got kicked off last year as a joke. (Read about it here for a recap)
So here’s the letter I got when I showed up on Necker from the General Mgr this year:
Anyway I didn’t see Gordo for several days while there until a fateful Monday afternoon. You see, they got some new golf carts on the island and they are pretty fast. Maybe 30mph or so is the top speed. Anyway, I was late to jump on the boat to Moskito island (Branson’s adjoining island he just bought). I was hauling ass around a blind turn until I look up in shock and see another golf cart bearing down on me. Shit!!
I slam on the brakes but still end up in a head-on collision.
I look up and guess who is in the cart? Of course, it’s Gordo. So of course I say, “Hi Gordo, nice to see you again. Thanks for the letter.” Ack!
Nobody was hurt but there was enough force to smash down the bumpers into the tires making both carts un-driveable until repaired. Nicely done. I figured out what happened, he’s British so he was driving on the left-hand side of the road and I was on the right-hand side of the road. Only adding to my rap sheet at Necker.
Good news is I did make the boat to Moskito island and after lunch on the island we competed in Beach Olympics with Mavericks vs. Centurions. Here’s a picture of the tennis ball game played like musical chairs with a few less balls than participants each time.
It got a bit heated with me and Dean Graziosi being the last 2 finalists. I have to hand it to him – the guy is quick. I tried to dive over him for the final ball but mis-timed it slightly. At least the audience enjoyed watch us compete. I am almost embarrassed to admit the Centurions won though I need to take up some gripes with the International Olympic Beach committee considering our group is significantly more athletic but somehow we got on the short end of the stick here. Ah well, always next years rematch.
One of my biggest goals this year was to finally get up on the kiteboard. Unfortunately I did for only about 2 seconds…I’m slowly progressing.
On the final night we had some outrageous wigs and glasses for dinner and dancing. Gordo told our crash story to everyone during ‘Maverick Moments’ and he presented me with my own car for use on the island next time. It’s a kids toy car with ‘Maverick’ on the side and then ‘Yan Man’ on the license plate. Pretty funny. At least they have a great sense of humor on Necker.
I think every Maverick member there has a defining story and hopefully we’ll see even more members next year when we do it again (if they let me back on the island).