Richard Branson is known as a visionary and an expert in creating a sense of longevity in a company. He started his first business at the age of 16, and opened his first chain of record stores in 1972. The Virgin brand took off in the 1980s, and Branson is now worth $5 billion. However, there have been some hiccups along the way.
In 1994, Branson decided to try and expand the Virgin brand by adding Virgin signature drinks (like Virgin Cola and Virgin Vodka). But the drinks didn’t catch on. But it’s new ideas like this these that have made Branson who he is; he is never one to shy away from innovative ideas. In 2104, he introduced a new ‘non’ holiday policy for his managing staff: they can take as many holidays as they need, whenever they need, as long as it doesn’t have a detrimental impact on the business. It’s an idea he got from the States. In fact, Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, invented this ‘non-policy’.
Speaking of Hastings, in addition to innovative HR policies, he’s also known for co-founding Netflix, and for making a big mistake as CEO. In 2011, Hastings decided to begin charging for their streaming service, and to raise all of their subscription prices. In response, they lost a great number of customers and their stock prices dropped. Of course, there wasn’t much competition at the time so customers came around pretty quickly. Today, streaming is the only way to go and it’s easy to see that the ‘mistake’ Hasting made actually created Netflix as we know it now.
Another famous CEO who has made a misstep or two is Tim Cook. He became CEO of Apple in 2011, and as CEO, he was most criticized for the Apple Maps mistake. The iOS 6 update of 2012 had nearly unanimous negative reviews. The maps failed to include some major destinations and gave inaccurate directions.
Most critics believed the updates were pushed through before they were ready, and Cook was blamed. While pushing an app forward before the bugs are fleshed out is definitely a mistake, it was this type of thinking that has made Apple the company it is today. They are always ahead of the curve; they are always at the forefront of technology—but maybe they wouldn’t be if they always waited until things were ‘just right’.