X4 2019 recap, day one: taking on giants, magic beans & more
As Ryan Smith said in his opening keynote, the X4 Summit’s mission is to break down experience breakthroughs. And who better to kick off our exploration of breakthroughs on X4 Mainstage than a visionary entrepreneur, philanthropist, and adventurer?
Sir Richard Branson
If you’re going to take on a giant, you have to be palpably better.
Competing with a 350-plane passenger fleet with a single, used 747 sounds like a crazy idea – but that’s exactly what Virgin Atlantic Airways decided to do when it took on market leader British Airways.
Branson suggested that part of what gave his brand an advantage that no one saw coming was its commitment to providing a superior experience to its employees. They were exceptionally “proud to be there” and that, in turn created a superior customer experience – one that travelers couldn’t stop raving about.
In 2019 Branson’s companies are achieving breakthroughs in space travel and driving philanthropic efforts including global drug policy reform, reducing carbon emissions worldwide, and much more.
The theme of addressing global challenges was continued by our next speaker, actor and activist…
Waking up means having an acceptance of your whole self.
Kutcher brought his passion and charisma to the main stage, imploring us to embrace our personal flaws and urging us to address some of the largest problems facing society today, such as wealth inequality.
Up next was Dr. Peter Lovatt – who described his findings on how dancing can combat Parkinson’s disease. Then, as only Peter Lovatt does, he got the crowd moving something you absolutely have to experience live!
And speaking of the power of live events, we were privileged to hear from…
Sukhinder Singh Cassidy
There’s an opportunity to transform product-led businesses to experience-led businesses.
As president of StubHub, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy knows that consumers’ appetites for experiences have never been higher. By highlighting the success of brands like Peloton and The Reformation, she showed that any brand can tap into the “Power of Live” if it centers around providing unique, in-moment experiences.
Finally, we rounded out Wednesday’s keynotes with who else but…
President Barack Obama
Even if I didn’t have a perfect answer, I was confident I was making the best decision anyone in my position could make.
President Obama revealed that when he told his wife Michelle that he was planning to run for the U.S. Senate, she asked if he was buying “Magic Beans” – alluding to the classic Jack and the Beanstalk fable.
But it certainly wasn’t magic that allowed the 44th president to face the impossibly complex and difficult decisions that a president faces – it was a pragmatic approach. He described that by recruiting every possible perspective and source of data, he was able to have the confidence to make choices, even when there was no clear solution.
What a day! Tonight we’ll be raising money for Five for The Fight and watching epic dance battles before we do it all again tomorrow with another incredible round of keynotes from Oprah Winfrey, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and more.