Jack MA: the greatness of Alibaba

Jack MA, the Steve JOBS of China and one of the greatest entrepreneurs in the world. The first Chinese featured in the Forbes magazine. A billionaire just like Bill Gates, #33 in the world with 26 billion dollars. And a competitor of Jeff BEZOS the founder and CEO of Amazon, the famous e-commerce platform.

Jack MA is the person behind the biggest IPO -Initial Public Offering or stock market launch to sell shares of the company Alibaba to the public- in history, 25 billion dollars. Alibaba, an e-commerce company just like Amazon and eBay, Jack MA found in China. It outranked the previous record held by Facebook in terms of the sum of money gained from an IPO.

Please find below the 3 best quotes of Jack MA illustrating his life philosophy and his success:

1- “Always keep in mind these three principles: what you want to do, what  you should do, and for how long you should do it”

In other words, always keep in mind these three concepts: Goal, Action plan and Deadline.

For Jack MA, the goal meant having a Chinese online business giant that would compete with the american tech giants Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. In 1999, when he started Alibaba with a group of 18 people he was talking specifically about Yahoo as a competitor. By the way, he predicted the fall of Yahoo and the rise of Alibaba (cf. Video).

The action plan was to work hard as a team, beyond the 9 to 5 per day. To Jack MA it takes another spirit, another attitude and another way of thinking. He did his best to make his words actionable for his team. For instance, to make it real, he made a comparison with the competitors. By saying, a good team work and a good work ethic would make  each one of us beat 10 of them, referring to the american tech giants.

The deadline was very important for Jack MA and Alibaba. We found about the major milestones in the past two decades. 2004 for the first IPO -Initial Public Offering or stock market launch to sell shares of the company Alibaba to the public. 2007 second IPO. And 2014 the major IPO mentioned in the beginning. Today Alibaba counts 400 millions customers worldwide and is still growing.

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2- “Hire the person best suited to the job, not the most talented. This can be a very painful lesson. There’s no point putting in a Boeing jet engine when you need to run a tractor.”

Put differently, hire the person that deserves the job, not the most talented.

Most people think that hiring the most talented people is definitely the right thing to do. And that a team of only talented people is the right thing to have for your business. Even Jack MA thought this way, and made the same mistake. Eventually, he realized focusing on the most talented only, makes a team look like a game of thrones and has a lot of cons and side effects. No team work. No motivation. Less productivity. Less quality. Etc.

Remember what happened to one of the best soccer clubs in the world “Real Madrid CF”. At one time, they hired the best football players in the world. But, once they started playing, the game was terrible. A minority was active, energetic and strong. Keeping the ball, running fast and dribbling. The majority was static, dull and weak. Losing the ball, running slow and lost in the hugeness of the stadium. As a result, goals were missed, matches were lost and championships were failed, including “La Ligua” the famous Spanish soccer league lost to the competition “FC Barcelona”.

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3- “Today is cruel. Tomorrow is crueler. And the day after tomorrow is beautiful.”

Put in another way, today is hard. Tomorrow is impossible. And the day after tomorrow is satisfaction.

Jack MA realized that perseverance is the way to go, from a young age. He is one of the first innovators and early adopters of the Internet. He first learned about the Internet during a trip to USA. Back to China, a few months after the first successful Internet connection was established in 1994, he launched and connected the first Chinese yellow pages website. The online business became his playground from there as he fell and stood up every time, like a baby would. Eventually, he came across the e-commerce platform that would change China and the whole world, Alibaba.

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