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Can You Believe What Richard Branson Has to Say About Senior Living?

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By Steve Moran

If you accused me of writing a bit of a “clickbait” title I would confess that you are about 60% right, but no more. Here is my story:

The week after the NIC spring conference in San Diego I was back in San Diego for the Traffic and Conversion conference, which is one of the biggest digital marketing conferences in the country. Mostly when I go to conferences I know tons of people so, it was very odd to be at a 6,500-person conference where I knew not a single person . . . though I did manage to still have some great conversations.  

Richard Branson -- The Entrepreneur

I assumed everyone knew who Richard Branson was, but maybe not. He is the founder of Virgin Atlantic Airlines and SpaceX, among a host of other things. He is a billionaire who is not sitting still. Not only he is an active participating entrepreneur, but he has also lent his name and money to a number of charitable initiatives designed to make the world a better place.  

Richard Branson, Cruise Ships, and Senior Living

As you may know, Richard Branson has branched out into the cruise ship business with the formation of Virgin Voyages. The first cruise will happen in early 2020. He talked about why he took on the cruise ship industry, saying that when he looked around at cruise ship offerings available today, he found he was unwilling and uninterested in cruising on any of those ships, from high-end to low-end.

My first thought when I heard him say that was, "Yeah right, you got a yacht. You wouldn't cruise on anything!" While I'm not convinced that's not true, he did go on to say that what he decided to do was to build a cruise ship -- really a cruise ship line -- that he and his friends would like cruising. So that is exactly what he is doing.

How We Build

I am afraid to say our industry mostly builds and develops like the rest of the cruise ship industry -- creating derivative models of what we or someone else built. Yet, I wonder what Richard Branson would build if he decided senior living was a space he wanted to tackle.

To help answer that question, maybe it would be fair to ask, "Would today’s senior living C-Suite leaders say the same?" Would it be something along the following lines: "The next senior living community I'm going to build is one I'm going to get super excited about moving into when I'm, maybe not 90 or 95, but even when I'm 70 or 75."

I'm not sure, but I suspect it might look very very different from what is actually being built today.

So, what do you think?

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