Learning from Branson – Finding my Virginity

Like a lot of our PeN Pals, I am an avid reader. I read books, features, news, stories, and posts every day. This week, I have been consuming Finding My Virginity by Richard Branson. Branson, of course, is the Billionaire majority owner of the Virgin Group. I have read his previous book, Losing My Virginity, and also tried to keep track on his numerous ventures. One thing certain about any of the Virgin group companies, they are all known by their excellent and quirky services.
Analysing various Virgin companies further and Richard Branson’s own thoughts, I can see that the common attribute of every Virgin company compared to their competitions are:
  • Excellent Service
  • Innovative Products and Design
  • Empowering Staff
Looking into PeN are we doing any of any these things that make companies great. I think we do.

Are we providing an excellent service?

The Service in the kind of company we are is both services we provide and customer services. We have improved a lot in the past 3 months from the availability of the services to being in touch with you – our PeN Pals in ways we can.
To further improve our customer service we will soon launch updates to PeNelope, you can call it PeNelope 2.0, giving her a voice and not only text, that allows her to talk to you and interact with you better than today. Soon you will be able to fully chat and have a fun conversation with PeNelope.

Are we enabling innovative products and designs?

Let’s start with design, over the summer we have implemented a redesign of our UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) which resulted to the much better app performance you are enjoying today.
Product wise, we know what the products and services we deliver are truly innovative from enabling offline communications to fully enhancing location-based services.
What makes us know they are innovative, well a few have been copied by Facebook (IM to SMS) and Snapchat (Spot and soon Places). Of course, we continuously innovate and deliver advanced capabilities in communications, emergency, health and safety and social.
One of the latest advancements is mining PeNNeY rewards which you can use for real-world purchases. Come to think about it, is there any other company in our space that actually shares their monetization with their users? Most of them, the likes of WeChat, Line, and Facebook never share what they benefit from their users to increase their market values. We believe that as a company, we not only focus on market value but also social value.

Have we empowered our staff?

Empowering each team member means they can make decisions on the spot to enable a good customer service that is satisfactory to our users. Everyone who works in PeN is empowered to make critical on the spot decisions and furthermore, their ideas and contributions are the pillars and driving force of providing excellent user experiences. Every input from each PeN Staff is valuable and merits consideration, deliberation, and integration to what we do as long as they deliver the value of time for our users.

Is everything we do deliver value for time and money of our users?


Take PeNNeY rewards for example.
Is this useful to our users?
Is it worth their time?
From earning PeNNeY on their usage or mining PeNNeY, we believe that adding the capability for our PeN Pals to use their PeNNeY rewards for real-world purchases is the ultimate way to give back. Mining PeNNeY is of course done by ensuring that when they watch videos in PeN, they are seeing the ads visible although not intrusive to their experience. Its comparable to mining bitcoin with the notable exception that we share what we benefit from.

Do we empower our users?

A lot of you, our PeN Pals, have wonderful suggestions. We listen to each and every suggestion you send to us and deliberate on if they are possible to implement in PeN, and if it satisfies the values we have in PeN, especially our guiding principles and our mission to connect the world. Some of you might notice that several new product features were derived from your suggestions. For your continuous feedback to what we do in PeN and how we can improve to serve you better, I thank you.
As you join us in our journey to connect the world we welcome you to keep sending your feedback to us, more importantly, your suggestion on how we all can work together to make this world a better place.