Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba: Harvard me
During the annual encuentro of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; Jack Ma Alibaba’s founder talked about his mistakes, sacrifices, rejections and triumphs, all of which have led him to where he is today.
During the interview, he talked about the importance of the word “beer”, his desire to learn English, the 10 rejections from Harvard University and even how he plans to surpass WallMart in sales.
Below you have the most important business lessonsfrom one of the most influential men in the world.
At the age of 12, Jack fell in love with English.
Unfortunately for that time there was no way to learn it in his city; there were no books, courses, teachers, there was nothing… there was only a hotel where tourists came.
Realizing that people who spoke English came there, Jack Ma decided to go to the outskirts of the hotel every morning for 9 years, to give guided tours to tourists in exchange for learning the language.
From a young age, Jack Ma was exposed to rejection.
As a young man he tried to entrar 3 universities in China and he was rejected in all of them.
He even had to repeat several years of his elementary school for having lost them.
In the workplace it was the same, Jack applied to more than 30 jobs and was rejected in all of them.
Adding insult to injury, when the KFC lugar de comidas chain came to his city in China, of the 24 people who applied to work there, he was the only one who was turned down.
In case you didn’t know, Jack Ma applied 10 times to Harvard University, and on all 10 occasions he was also rejected.
Nowadays, Ma think that all these refusals made him stronger; They made him question many of the things he did, to change others and always, but always, be clear about where he wanted to go.
In 1995, Jack visited the United States for the first time, it was there that he was introduced to the internet.
His first reaction was: what is this for? he had no iniciativa what he could do there in the browser; A friend from that time replied that he was good at looking for whatever he wanted, so the first thing he did was look for the word “beer.”
After “browsing” for a while, he wanted to look up what was on China on the famous “internet”, and found that there was not a single piece of information that spoke of his country.
So he decided to equipo up a site, and in a few hours, with this friend, he managed to create a horrible site with facts about China.
Interestingly, a few hours later they already had 5 correos electrónicos from people who wanted to work with them.
When his friend told him the wonderful news, the first thing Jack asked was, what is an correo electrónico?
His favorite movie is Forrest Gump.
He has always felt a great affinity towards her for two reasons: Forrest was always straightforward, and above all, he never gave up.
The values offered by the largos of hollywood they are quite attractive to Jack, because as he says, “In China nobody wants to be a hero, because all the heroes in Chinese movies die, unlike in the US where they fight and work hard to achieve success.»
This philosophy is what Jack Ma wants to bring to Chinese citizens through his platform and these Hollywood movies.
They are currently working on the development of this new business model.
Few know that for the first five years of Alibaba, the only goal they had, as a company, was to survive.
Nothing else mattered, in fact, not a single dollar of profit was generated for the first three years.
The only thing that kept us going was the excitement of knowing that we were changing lives.
«Many times when I went to eat at restoranes and asked for the bill, the waiter told me that someone else had already paid for it, and that they had left a note for me.
One of them read “Mr.
Ma, I am a customer of the Alibaba platform.
I earn a lot of money, and I know you don’t, so I’m paying your bill.
Its growth has been impressive, it went from having 18 workers in April 1999 in his apartment, to having more than 30,000 workers.
When asked if the Chinese government has invested in his company, he recalls:
“At first I wanted and needed money from the Chinese banks, and they never wanted to give it to me.
Today they offer it to me, but I am no longer interested in receiving it.
Jack Ma says that, a few years ago, many people said that Alibaba’s business model was lousy.
They said that they were not going to make money, that they had a lot of problems, and even that eBay and Amazon were better.
Jack never believed this to be true.
And after collecting more than 25 billion dollars and becoming one of the richest men on the planetHe also didn’t think they were as good as everyone was starting to say.
In 2001, Jack Ma sought his first funding, or investment round, worth between $3 million and $5 million.
Said attempt was a total failure, since nobody wanted to invest; hearing the negativity from investors, he jokingly asked if he could come back and ask for more money.
Remember: “If you don’t do it, nothing will be possible, if you try, at least you will have hope.”
In the year 2000, everyone thought that Jack Ma was crazy; Nobody understood his business iniciativa and very few wanted to invest since they did not know how they were going to recover his money.
After several years, Yahoo! invested more than a billion dollars.
Today Jack, laughing, comments: “we are crazy, but not stupid.”
During its IPO (Initial Public Offering) the company raised more than 25 billion dollars, making it the company that has raised the most money in Wall Street history.
Alibaba currently has more than 100 million daily buyers.
Its business model is based on advertising and commissions from the thousands of daily transactions that are generated each day.
And best of all, these sales are benefiting more than 10 million small businesses.
“It’s not about the money, it’s about the trust placed in us to do better.”
One of Jack Ma’s goals and dreams is that within 15 years people will not talk about the benefits of en línea commerce, of y también-commerce platforms.
As he says: «today nobody thinks about electricity, nobody talks about it, and this is because everyone has it.
He wants the same thing to happen with the internet».
When you ask him where he wants to go with Alibaba, his answer is clear: today we are behind Wall Mart in sales.
In 10 years we will surpass them, and the reason is very fácil: for them to attract 10,000 new customers they have to build a huge hypermarket, while I only need 2 servers.
Alibaba was founded on a mission to make life easier for small Chinese entrepreneurs.
Today they are achieving it by far, but their objective does not stop there, today they want to connect all these small global companies through their platform.
«At first I wanted to change the world; Today I understand that to change it first we have to change ourselves»
Here is the full interview:
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