8 Inspirational Businessmen Who Are The Ultimate Adventurers
Sponsored by Sage One.
inspirational businessmen by day, ultimate adventure every other day
The world is filled with inspirational businessmen. You see them everyday, wearing their suits and expensive-looking ties, and you probably don't think for even a second that these people are capable of anything remotely exciting (unless you count quarterly meetings and spreadsheets as something worth getting excited about).
However, did you know that some of the world's most exciting and adventurous people are also extremely successful businessmen? These men are the opposite of boring. They get out there, grab life by the horns, and accomplish some genuinely epic things while you're still curled up on the sofa binge-watching HBO. We'd like to take a moment right here to salute these chaps, and tell you a bit about more about them.
1) Sir Richard Branson
Everyone has heard of Richard Branson. Everyone. Your mum. Your dad. Your gran. Everyone. If you haven't heard of Richard Branson, how's the underside of that rock been treating you? Because, you know, you've basically been living under a rock for the past 45 years. Arguable one of the most inspirational businessmen of recent times. Shame on you if you didn't know.
Not content with being worth an estimated $5 billion by Forbes, having his own private island in the Caribbean, and founding the Virgin Group which now comprises more than 400 companies, Branson has also been involved in a number of extremely adventurous projects.
In 2004, for example, he crossed the English Channel in an amphibious car called the Gibbs Aquada. Branson did this in a world record time of one hour, 40 minutes and 6 seconds. The billionaire British businessman has also made attempts to circumnavigate the world in a hot air balloon, and holds the record for the fastest balloon crossing of the Pacific. Branson is also heavily involved in Virgin Galactic, a company that's entirely dedicated to the progression of space tourism.
2) Sir Charles Blyth (aka Chay Blyth)
Entering our inspirational businessmen list is Sir Charles Blyth. Blyth was born in 1940. He's a Scottish yachtsman, rower, and businessman who likes to go by the name Chay. And what, you might be asking, has he achieved in order to warrant his inclusion on this list? Well, we shall tell you immediately.
Chay was the first person to sail single-handedly the "wrong way" round the world without stopping (in 1971). If sailing isn't your area of expertise, and you're not entirely sure what this means, sailing the "wrong way" round the earth involves going westwards rather than eastwards. Blyth nailed this impressive accomplishment on a 59-foot boat called British Steel.
Five years before his awesome achievement on British Steel, Blyth (who was still in the army at the time) together with Captain John Ridgway rowed across the North Atlantic in a 20 ft open dory called English Rose III. After completing the row in 92 days, Blyth was awarded the British Empire Medal. Not a bad effort, we think you'll agree.
In terms of business-related stuff, Blyth heads the Board of Directors at train company First Great Western. He's also the chairman of Inspiring Performance and is the founder of Challenge Business (the company who were responsible for operating the Global Challenge round the world yacht races).
3) Neil Laughton
Neil Laughton is a man who definitely knows what he's doing. Laughton, you see, is a former Special Forces officer who has gone on to hit the heady heights of successful entrepreneur and ultimate adventurer status. Definitely up there on our inspirational businessmen list for being so damn cool.
First things first, let's talk business. Laughton & Co is a company led by, you guessed it, Neil Laughton. It's a business development resource offering authentic wisdom on communication, teamwork and leadership skills. And what makes Neil so well placed to talk about stuff like this in exchange for money? Well, quite frankly, he's done a lot of genuinely impressive stuff in his life (which we will now share with you).
Laughton has been up Everest which, in and of itself, is pretty awesome. When you factor in that he also helped a young man by the name of Bear Grylls reach the summit, you have to give him an extra 100 points. If you, reading this now, ever help Bear Grylls achieve something in his life you too will immediately receive 100 points from us. That's just how we operate when it comes to all-things Bear Grylls related.
On top of his Everest accomplishments, Laughton has gone round the UK on a jet-ski, crossed the Sahara Desert, driven a flying car from London to Timbuktu and skied to both North and South Poles respectively. Oh, and as Mpora discovered recently, he's also head honcho at the penny farthing polo club. Don't act like you're not impressed.
4) Bill Koch
Bill Koch has an estimated net worth of $4 billion dollars so there's no denying that, when it comes to business, this is a man who certainly knows what the score is. Also, his surname is hilarious (yes, we're childish).
However, not only is Bill a very successful American businessman who's compiled eye-watering sums of money...he's also a bit of an adventurer and deserves a spot in this inspirational businessmen list. In 1992, for example, a boat that he funded and sailed on won the America's Cup. If you're not familiar with the America's Cup, it's basically the world of sailing's ultimate prize. Hats off to you, Mr Koch. Hats off to you.
5) Steve Fossett
Steve Fossett, who was born in 1947 and died in 2007, was an American businessman who became famous for record-breaking feats of aviation, sailing, and adventuring.
Fossett made his money in the financial services industry but etched his name on the history books by setting numerous world records (an eye-popping 116 across five different sports, if you can believe that). Among his spectacular list of achievements, there's the fact that he was the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in a balloon. He's also set the world altitude record for glider flying (15,460 metres over Argentina). We'd list all of his other heroic records here but that would probably take up most of the day.
Fossett died when a plane he was flying crashed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (California). Despite his tragic end, Fossett's breathtaking list of accomplishments has immortalised his name for anyone with even just a passing interest in the spirit of adventure.
6) Alan Eustace
Remember Felix Baumgartner? Of course you do. With a name like Felix Baumgartner, you're hardly likely to forget him in a hurry. But do you, however, remember the name of the man who beat Baumgartner's parachute jump record in 2014? Alan Eustace, ringing any bells?
Alan Eustace, who served as a Senior Vice President of Google, nailed a 135,000 foot jump from space in a super secretive project that was unveiled in October of last year. Eustace's descent to Earth lasted a staggering 15 minutes, and covered nearly 26 miles. The businessman turned adventurous daredevil hit speeds exceeding 821 miles per hour. Woah!
7) Nick Woodman
Nick Woodman is one of those people who has definitely "won at life." CEO and founder of GoPro, Woodman has fundamentally altered the way we consume action sports and adventure. Just, for a moment, imagine a world in which action sports cameras had never been invented. Go on. Imagine it. Imagine how rubbish that world would be.
Not only is Woodman a champion businessman and world-altering mega dude, he's also a seriously keen surfer and, we think, a person who's more than worthy of a spot on this list.
8) Yvon Chouinard
Yvon Chouinard was born way back in 1938. Chouinard is a rock climbing enthusiast, an environmentalist, and a businessman who specialises in the outdoor industry. He's also a surfer, and a kayaker. Business-wise, his clothing and gear company Patagonia are undoubtedly a big deal.
The story behind Patagonia, if you've not heard it, is a pretty remarkable one. On a trip to Scotland, in 1970, Chouinard bought and then sold some rugby shirts. From these humble beginnings, the seeds of Patagonia were planted and the company went on to develop a wide selection of rugged adventure clothing.
Whereas some businessmen put profit before morals, Chouinard used the financial success of the company as a springboard to achieve a variety of environmental goals. He committed the Patagonia brand to eco-pursuits and, for example, offered to pay employees for their work on environmental projects.
Businessman, adventurer, and guardian of the planet; Chouinard is all of these things and more.
Can you think of other inspirational businessmen who deserves a seat in this list? Let us know!
This post was brought to you by Sage One.