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Richard Branson gives Elon Musk some advice: Learn to delegate and get some sleep

Holly Ellyatt
  • From one business visionary to another, Virgin Group's Richard Branson has given embattled Tesla founder Elon Musk some advice after his recent troubles.
  • Asked by CNBC's Nancy Hungerford what advice he would give to Musk, Branson hesitated before saying that he should learn to delegate and look after himself more.
  • Musk has courted controversy in recent months with his erratic behavior.

From one business visionary to another, Virgin Group's Richard Branson has given embattled Tesla founder Elon Musk some advice after his recent troubles.

Asked by CNBC's Nancy Hungerford what advice he would give to Musk, Branson hesitated before saying that he should learn to delegate.

"I think he maybe needs to learn the art of delegation," Branson said, speaking in Singapore Tuesday.

"He's got to find time for himself, he's got to find time for his health and for his family. He's a wonderfully creative person but he shouldn't be getting very little sleep. He should find a fantastic team of people around him."

Branson said part of the reason why he himself had such an "enjoyable life and a long life" is due to him finding "wonderful people" to run his companies, only getting involved with the key issues.

Like Branson, who started life as a student entrepreneur and then founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies, Elon Musk is seen as something of a visionary in the business world.

His creative approach to business and technology has seen him launch pioneering projects such as his electric car brand Tesla. Musk also dreamed up the idea of an ultra-high speed transportation system called Hyperloop , as well as a space tourism business called SpaceX . Branson and Virgin are direct competitors of Musk, among other players in the same field, as they are also developing hyperloop and space tourism programs .

Unlike Branson, however, Musk is a controversial figure, particularly because of his increasingly erratic behavior and tweets — ranging from accusations of pedophilia against a British cave diver, to stating that he was going to take Tesla private, much to the shock of shareholders .

Needless to say, Musk is facing legal action for the former , and has received a $20 million fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the latter .

'We've talked about it'

Branson said he had sat down and "talked about it" with Musk, alluding to the fact he might have imparted some paternal advice for the younger entrepreneur. He repeated that learning the art of delegation better would overcome "his one flaw."

"Don't feel you have to put out tweets about public shareholders, leave the public game to people who enjoy that. He obviously doesn't enjoy it, so (he should) clear the decks and concentrate on the creative side," Branson said.

Asked about the progress of his own Virgin Hyperloop One project, Branson said it was "very close" to being up and running, particularly in India.

"The Indian government have given the go-ahead from Mumbai to Pune and it's the busiest road in India, it takes five hours to drive down it and it's a nightmare, there are lots of accidents. And they've said we can build a Hyperloop right by the side of the road and cut the journey time down to half an hour. So that will start to be built next year and it will be the first flagship Virgin Hyperloop that will be built anywhere in the world."

Demand for hyperloops would be "gigantic," Branson said, with talks going on for similar systems in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, he added. "It's a business that I think has a fantastic future."



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