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Photos: Virgin Group; Illustration: Rebecca Zisser

Richard Branson was in San Francisco Wednesday as part of a relaunch of Sprint's Virgin Mobile brand. After the event, he spoke with me on a range of topics, from his views on technology and President Trump to where he wants the Virgin Brand to go next. Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.

What are the areas of technology that are going to do the most good and have the most change in the next few years?

If I wanted to just choose one, I'd say just battery is the most important thing right now for the world. We've gotten sun (power) now to a fantastically good price, wind at a wonderfully good price, cheaper than coal.
We need batteries to store that sun during night time and to be able to use that during night time. We need battery technology to fly our people across the Atlantic and around the world.

That's been a slow area to get progress compared to other things?

Yeah, but I am quite excited. There are a couple of breakthroughs that I think are not far off. I think it may come in time to counteract the damage that Donald Trump has done in his statements about Paris. We're crossing fingers.

Is it hard to come to the Untied States under President Trump?

Everybody knows my views. ... I'm somebody that hasn't enjoyed a lot of what has come out of the White House (under Trump.)

You mentioned you have somebody in mind for Uber CEO, who might that be?

I'll have to let you do some guessing, but, yeah I made a recommendation. We'll see whether they accept it.

Where would you like to see Virgin go that it's not today?

There are some exciting things we are developing that we will be announcing over the next two to three months which have sort-of cutting edge technology, which are tough, like space is tough. We're becoming a bit of a serial entrepreneur in not-for-profit ventures (too) and doing a lot of work on protecting the oceans, conflict resolution issues, climate change, drug reform, trying to abolish the death penalty, issues that we feel strongly about.

Go deeper

43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's latest executive order: Buy American

President Joe R. Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services.

Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.

The pandemic could be worsening childhood obesity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The 10-month long school closures and the coronavirus pandemic are expected to have a big impact on childhood obesity rates.

Why it matters: About one in five children are obese in the U.S. — an all-time high — with worsening obesity rates across income and racial and ethnic groups, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show.