Ann Summers chairman David Gold on building confidence [Video]

David Gold talks about the relationship between success, money, power and confidence

Speaking to Startups in this video, Ann Summers chairman David Gold explains how confidence can help entrepreneurs reach new heights – but it doesn’t come overnight.

“Your life is a number of stepping stones,” Gold muses, comparing the journey of an entrepreneur to climbing a “mountain”. He admits that stages of his route from being an East End boy living in abject poverty to one of the UK’s most successful businessmen seemed “not achievable” to him at the time – but the realisation of how far he had come provided a huge confidence boost. “One of the things that certainly helped me to the summit, as it were, was when suddenly I woke up and I thought ‘I’m no longer an East End boy – I’m now a successful person’,” he says.

Despite this realisation, Gold is quick to stress that confidence doesn’t come overnight – “there’s no flick of the fingers and you’re a confident person” – but progresses gradually, in line with the progress you make in your own life. “With success comes money, with money comes a degree of power, and then comes that confidence,” argues the successful entrepreneur.

In other interviews, Gold has described his own insecurity and lack of natural confidence as a driving force – the fear of losing it all and going back to poverty, he has said, has kept driving him forward. Some people, he argues, are the opposite, blessed with an “abundance” of natural confidence, using a friend’s young sons as an example. “Is it that they receive it from their parents – I think so,” he hypothesises. “Is it the school they go to – yes I think that contributes. But it’s a wonderful piece of equipment to move forward.”

The successful entrepreneur reveals that he would have “loved” to have been born in West instead of East London, gone through a university education, and most of all to have been born with that all-important confidence. “But you dealt with the cards, and you do your best,” he concludes.


The term rags to riches could have been coined for David Gold’s Dickensian rise from abject poverty in East London to become one of Britain’s richest men.

From illness and austerity in the war years and a criminal father, Gold dreamed of escaping his impoverished existence by becoming a footballer, but his father refused to sign the papers to allow him to play for his local club, West Ham United. Little did the young Gold know he’d one day co-own the club.

He and his brother Ralph opened a book shop just off Charing Cross Road and eventually used the profits to buy two new shops off of Tottenham Court road. By sheer good fortune the redevelopment of the area led to the brothers being offered £3m for both a few years later.

From there he started an adult magazine publishing empire, Gold Star Publications, and now owns Gold Group International – parent company of Ann Summers and lingerie chain Knickerbox, as well as previously owning shares in Sport Newspapers and owning corporate air service Gold Air International which he has since sold.

Gold is the current co-owner and chairman of West Ham United and a former chairman of Birmingham City F.C. In 2014’s Sunday Times Rich List Gold’s wealth was estimated at around £240m.

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