A former Virgin president reveals why Richard Branson would insist on everyone standing during big meetings

Huntley Ritter

Huntley Ritter, the CEO of interactive advertising firm USeek, used to work with Richard Branson at Virgin Group between 2011 to 2016.
Speaking to Business Insider about his experiences with the British billionaire, Ritter explained why Branson never allowed sit-down group meetings.
Branson, who Ritter says was “very big on challenging the status quo,” would want people standing so they would cut to the chase.
He’s not the only billionaire to despise big meetings. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos also have rules about large groups of colleagues congregating.
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A former colleague of Richard Branson has revealed why the Virgin Group founder insisted on everyone standing during large meetings.

Huntley Ritter was president of branded entertainment at Virgin Produced, Virgin Group’s TV and entertainment arm, between 2011 and 2016.

Speaking to Business Insider about his experience of Branson, Ritter — a former Hollywood actor who is now CEO of interactive advertising firm USeek — said he always focused on maximizing efficiency. This included getting the most out of big meetings.

“He wasn’t a big fan of meetings,” Ritter said. “He did not like meetings; he did not like conference rooms. His thing was that if he was going to be stuck in a conference-type meeting, he wanted everyone to stand.

“It’s genius. If you’re standing, you’re not going to chit-chat for too long, and you’re not going to have long, drawn-out conversations. He always just seemed to be more focused on, ‘What are we trying to achieve? What’s the result?'”

Branson is not the only billionaire to despise big meetings. Elon Musk famously told Tesla staff to get rid of meetings with large groups of people and encouraged staff to walk out if they’re not adding value. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has a “two-pizza rule”: Never have a meeting where two pizzas couldn’t feed the entire group.

Ritter said: “What I noticed is that Branson’s very big on challenging the status quo. The first time I met him, and through all the first years I worked on campaigns… his whole mantra was ‘screw it – let’s do it.’

“What he means by that is: all the naysayers; all the people who are telling you that you can’t do it; all the people that say this won’t work; all the people who think is weird or whatever — he’s just like ‘well, f–k it. Let’s just do it. If we fail, we fail, and we try again.”

Branson influenced Ritter’s post-Virgin career as a tech entrepreneur

As well as being USeek’s CEO, Ritter is also the company’s founder, having set it up straight after leaving Virgin in 2016. It produces technology for turning adverts into interactive, game-like experiences. He boasts clients such as T-Mobile, GoPro, and Universal Studios.

Read more: A startlingly honest story about Richard Branson not knowing what ‘gross margin’ meant shows his qualities as a leader, says former coworker

He says Branson has “absolutely” been an influence on his own entrepreneurial style. “What Branson did remarkably well — which probably influences every person …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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