Open Letter to Sir Richard Branson


Dear Sir Richard Branson,

I recently had the good fortune of flying on Virgin America and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The airplane was clean and the lighting was cool and I loved the in-flight entertainment system. I loved it because I and an associate of mine, Jody Heyroth, thought it up five years ago. Our incarnation was called Cockpit6 and it had many of the same features that your system has.

  1. The ability to connect to the Internet.
  2. The ability to watch movies, music videos.
  3. The ability to IM someone else on the same plane.
  4. The ability to order my meal via the system.

We also had the ability to track the luggage via RFID tags and an eCommerce system that let you purchase from the plane and pick it up at the gate or your hotel. We took our business plan to two competitions. One at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and the other at the University of Oregon where I froze when asked to present our elevator speech to a group of 100+. It was awesome! Felt like a piñata that was opened up by a bunch of surly kids and then run over by a car.

We got amazing feedback from these competitions and were the first ever to be accepted from the University of Denver. We of course did not win anything as the business plan machine is founded on IP; of which we had zero. We were going to provide all media (interactive/passive/etc) to a captive audience. An audience that was tired of being treated like cattle and thinking of how much they had saved on their ticket.

We did have a fantastic demo of how the system would work and people loved the idea. When I think of that system now (your system), I smile. I wanted to use that system and now I can. Thank you.

The IFE landscape has changed quite a bit since we created our plan. Boeing’s Connexion is dead and Aircell is thriving. The nature of the Internet has also changed. With Web 2.0 in full effect and the mobile Internet continuing to evolve in the states (assuming whoever won the C block 700 mhz bid will remain true to creating a “device-agnostic” network) the concept of Internet access means much more than it did five years ago with blogging, video blogging, IPTV, “screening rooms”, mobile social networks.

I’m excited to see how your system grows to utilize the increasing changes in the Internet and mobile Internet. I have some ideas and if you would like to chat, please give me a call: +1.720.641.2501.





Just in case you’re not Sir Richard Branson, here is a video describing Virgin America.

By Michael Myers