JACK MA. In this file photo taken on April 18, 2018, Alibaba founder Jack Ma gestures as he arrives for a meeting with Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha in Bangkok during a visit to the country to announce the group's investment in the Thai government's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme. File photo by Jorge Silva/AFP
MANILA, Philippines - A year from now, renowned philanthropist and business magnate, Jack Ma will step down as chairman of Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce platform he co-founded.
Ma, who started the company in his apartment in 1999, became China’s richest man with a net worth that exceeded $40 billion last year. He is also an ambassador for China’s burgeoning business and tech industries, having been recognized for his influence and power by organizations across the globe.
Prior to becoming the larger-than-life personality that he is today, Ma admitted that he got rejected by the jobs and schools he applied for. His inspiring story of success made him a role model who has amassed quite a following not only for his entrepreneurial success but also for his keen quotes. Here are a few of them:
“Today is hard, tomorrow is harder, but the day after tomorrow is beautiful.”
Bull-headed perseverance helped Ma pull his company out of the gates and onto where it is now. This quote is a reflection on how persistence today will eventually pay off in the future.
"No matter how smart you are, you will encounter mistakes. You learn from mistakes not because you will be able to avoid mistakes when these mistakes come, [when] these suffers come, you learn how to deal with it, how to face it."
This is Ma's own take on the popular Silicon Valley mantra of moving fast and breaking things.
“The money I have today is a responsibility. It's the trust of people on me.”
For Ma, money isn't simply figures to be counted and tallied on a balance sheet. It's also a reflection of the whole body of people, the whole institution, and the customers who have learned to depend on him and his company's services.
"Intelligent people need a fool to lead them. When the team’s all a bunch of scientists, it is best to have a peasant lead the way. His way of thinking is different. It’s easier to win if you have people seeing things from different perspectives."
For Ma, an organization survives and thrives because of diversity – different takes, different perspectives that allows issues to be seen from many sides. Like the human gene pool, homogenity can spell doom. Having the same strengths across the board means having the same weakness too – weaknesses that can be exploited by the competition or be exposed by problems.
"We believe customer number one, employee number two, shareholder number three.”
The customer, the one who avails and pays for the services and products, is top priority for Ma.
Source: CBS News
“Kids nowadays don’t want to be informed, they want to be involved. Let’s leave the opportunities of tomorrow to the kids. They’ll be able to solve the problems we can’t solve. Believe in them, believe in young people.”
What the youth may lack in experience, they can make up for it with their enthusiasm and their fresh takes on old problems. Ma's professed confidence in the young ties in with his philosophy of being open to different perspectives.
Source: South China Morning Post
“Children aren’t worried about the future. Young people aren’t worried about the future; they’re worried about us: us leading them into the future we envision.”
A reiteration on Ma's faith in young hearts and minds.
Source: South China Morning Post
“When the wind is blowing even a pig can fly but when the wind is gone, it falls to die. The pig hasn’t changed itself at all...you change yourself, and then you change the world.”
Adapt, adapt, adapt. Being set in one's ways will leave your business vulnerable. Be open to new ways of doing things, Ma suggests.
"As an entrepreneur, you have to believe what you have believed, not because of what other people said, not because of money, but because you can make things different, and you can do things differently."
As with anything, to do it successfully, you'll need to forge that belief in yourself and your ideas. Your belief will be tested by the competition, and by the many, different available perspectives surrounding you. But if you believe there is value to what you can do to make a difference in people's lives, hold on to those beliefs, even if along the way, you make mistakes.
Source: China Daily
"The Philippines has the opportunity to develop the best fintech services in the world because you have so many mobile phones. You have 7,000 islands and it's impossible for banks to have branches everywhere, but mobile phone coverage is everywhere.”
Know your market, and have a keen sense of what that market needs and is capable of.