Don’t Worry, Boston: Richard Branson Thinks You’re Normal

In town for the Forbes Under 30 Summit, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson shared some thoughts on the city.

The 2016 Forbes Under 30 Summit has drawn a range of celebrities to our fair city over the last couple of days, from Michael Phelps to Chrissy Teigen. One such celebrity: Sir Richard Branson. The Virgin Group, Ltd. mogul sat down with the Boston Business Journal to weigh in on Boston, and had a number of nice things to say about it. For example, it’s a “hub for startups,” and it’s a “well-educated, very pleasant place to live, so it’s easy to attract people to work for you.”

Did you hear that, guys? It’s very pleasant here! We quite agree. He had particular praise for our “beautiful places” and “leisure time.” Sir Richard went on to share some advice on what kinds of business concepts he thinks have the best chance of succeeding. He likes the ones that are “going to fundamentally make other peoples’ lives better. If you don’t have an idea that’s going to make other peoples’ lives better, don’t bother basically.” He had particular praise for someone he met at the conference who’d created a device that tested for peanut residue in foods. If you or your loved ones have created this “gadget,” please get in touch with him regarding investment opportunities.

But the most thrilling thing this titan of industry had to share was that in Boston, the people are “normal.” That’s reassuring! Sometimes, Boston can seem a little weird. Given the types of people Sir Richard usually interacts with, though, was that actually a compliment? When your nephew is named Ned Rocknroll and married to Kate Winslet, when you regularly take 2500 mile bike rides with your kids around Italy (“A hundred miles a day. Sore bums for the first week. Keeping healthy is important.”), what does normal mean, exactly?

Not to worry: Branson clarified. It means, “They’re the kind of people that wouldn’t vote for Trump. They’re sane.” Uh oh. Nobody tell him what happened during the primary.