The secret to Jack Ma’s billion dollar success
Ma Yun a.k.a. Jack Ma is one of those self-made billionaires with humble beginnings.
The man who grew up poor, failed twice in the Harvard university exams and was turned away from a dozen of jobs, founded a company in his house apartment is today the owner of a $200 billion company.
Having started his first successful company at the age of 31 and even after never having written a single line of code or selling something to anyone, Jack Ma runs one of the biggest E-commerce networks in the world. The company went on to grow rapidly, expanding all across the world, quickly growing out of its China shell. Only second to Walmart now in terms of sales per year, Alibaba has become the E-commerce giant that Jack Ma has envisioned for it. These are his secrets to success
1. Get Used To Rejection
Jack Ma failed his college entrance examination twice before getting accepted on the third try. After graduating, he applied for jobs and got rejected 30 times, including by the police. When he applied at KFC among 24 applicants, 23 were accepted except him. During the World Economic Forum in 2016, he shared that he has applied to Harvard 10 times and has been rejected every time.
2. Keep Your Dream Alive
In a conference, Jack shared the secret code for Alibaba’s success. Just like the fictional character Ali Baba, he was able to enter a secret cave with the code “Open Sesame.” In a similar way, the people working at Alibaba’s secret code is ‘Keep your dream alive.’ They kept this in their mind and heart, knowing that it may come true some day. And it did.
3. Focus On Culture
In an Interview with Charlie Rose, Jack Ma explained that the core competence of Alibaba is culture. Technology is an important tool. However, growing from 18 people to more than 20,000 young employees, they focused on the company’s mission, values and a culture of helping the company. This culture of building a great company instead of just making money is a key to success.
4. Ignore The #Littleman
When he was starting Alipay, some people were telling him that it was not a good idea at all. Someone told him it was a stupid idea. He simply ignored the negative comments and the naysayers and continue with it. Now, Alipay has over 500 million users who are enjoying a secure way of paying online and mobile purchases.
5. Get Inspired
Jack Ma shared that he has learned many things from the movies like The Bodyguard, The Godfather, and Forrest Gump. He mentioned that he was inspired by how actors deliver their lines, how singers deliver powerful performances. He realized that when people act naturally and speak from the heart, they create great impact, and that is how he tries to inspire others, by being himself.
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6. Stay Focused
Jack was asked by a reporter about business ideas he has said no to. As a CEO, he stated that he is saying no to many business ideas being peddled to him on a daily basis. However, if a business opportunity comes which is aligned with the company’s mission of making doing business easier, he would consider. But if someone comes to him simply stating that an opportunity will make a lot of money, he would tell them that he is not interested.
7. Have A Good Name
He shared that he chose the name Alibaba for several reasons. One, since the Internet is global, they should have a name that is familiar around the world. He asked people on the streets when he was in San Francisco, and they all knew who Ali Baba was. Also, it starts with the letter ‘A’, which alphabetically would always appear on top.
8. Customers Are #1
Jack Ma shared that his philosophy of putting customers first, employees second, and shareholders third is the right belief. It is the customers that provide revenue for the company, and it is the employees that drive innovation. He recalled that some people who asked him for shares before the IPO, who told him that they would be long-term stockholders, were also the first to sell when hard times came. However, the customers stayed, as well as the employees.
9. Don’t Complain, Look For Opportunities
Jack told an audience that he believes that when people complain, there lies an opportunity. When people complain about some issues, some try to change the situation for the better. When they change things, they also change themselves for the better. And so, he advises young people that instead of complaining, look for opportunities.
10. Have Passion
In his original sales pitch when starting Alibaba, he explained that they are competing globally, not against Chinese websites, but sites made by companies in Silicon Valley. He encouraged his associates to have a startup attitude, not the usual 8-to-5 work attitude. He believes that they are equal and as strong as the Americans when it comes to information systems and software. He also assured them that although the Internet is a bubble, the dream of the Internet will not burst. But they have to painfully pay for the dream for the next 3 to 5 years. He told them that IPO is the goal and that