Networking & Having Fun with Richard Branson on Necker Island

In Profiles from 2010 | on March, 15, 2011 | by | 6 Comments

Richard & Olivier

When I started my new life with Resolute Marine Energy, two years ago, I knew where I wanted to go: to create a profitable business around a system that would use the incredible power available in the oceans to drive a desalination system and provide water in coastal communities for millions of people in developing nations. What I did not know was what would be the journey to get there and I was surely not prepared that this journey would bring me to spend one day in the Necker Island in the company of Sir Richard Branson and a group of twenty amazing business mavericks as the prize of winning the Startup Open Competition 2010.

The island is a unique pearl in the British Virgin Islands and when I was lucky to get five minutes of tranquility, it was a delight to contemplate the infinite ocean unfolding from the panoramic resort built on its top.

The day flew like a dream: a race in hobby cat with Sir Branson as personal pilot; a trip around the island in the Necker Belle, a catamaran that looks more like a floating resort than a sailboat; a casino night; and several networking sessions where I could mingle with some of the brightest people I ever met.

But, I think it is during the morning brainstorming session that I got the most interesting insights from the group. The participants in the Maverick Business Adventures were all incredible entrepreneurs with… incredible stories! From the young entrepreneur who created his third business by the time he was 17 or the courageous one who survived cancer and transformed such a dreadful experience into her most positive life-changing event. All of them had something meaningful to share.

One comment I particularly resonate with was from Dan Sullivan, founder and president of Strategic Coach, Inc. He said that “getting results doesn’t take time, it’s the not getting results that takes up all the time”. I envision the exercise of entrepreneurship as an incremental process similar to learning how to ride a bicycle: you try, fall, stand up and ride again hoping you understood why you fell down in the first place. But learning how to ride is not enough; you need to ride in the direction that focuses on the results you want to achieve because any other directions is source of unnecessary distraction.

This trip on Necker Island was a rich experience that will, without doubt, help me in my journey as entrepreneur and I am very grateful for the chance that was given to me by the Kauffman Foundation; the Startup Open and to all the people I was lucky to meet there.