10 Life Lessons From Jack Ma, The CEO Of Alibaba
Jack Ma is truly an inspiration. Ma is the CEO of Alibaba, and is regularly considered to be one of the most important businessman and one of the most powerful people in the world. He is also viewed as a global ambassador for Chinese business, as well. He is also worth over $35 billion, which makes him one of the richest individuals in the world. Here are ten life lessons from Jack Ma that you can incorporate into your own life.
1. Don’t Give Up
Jack Ma had plenty of chances to give up. He applied ten times to Harvard Business School, and got rejected. There are plenty of individuals that might feel as though the business sector might not be for them, but Ma’s persistence truly has led to a level of success that few people have ever reached. While it might sound obvious or cliche, not giving up is an extremely important aspect of your life.
2. Take Advantage Of Your Youth
In one of his more controversial statements, Ma has stated that those who are not rich by 35 have essentially “wasted their youth”. Of course – there are many people who disagree with this. However, the positive takeaway here is that you should be working towards your future from a young age, so that you can enjoy your life and success later on. Ma has also spoken on the fact that he loves to invest in young employees in order to make sure that his company stays “fresh”.
3. Unify As Much As Possible
Jack Ma is a powerful leader, but he also understands that it’s unrealistic to expect everyone to agree with him. He estimates that “30% of people will always disagree with you”. Ma is teaching an important lesson here: no matter who you are, you can only unify so much. Your own employees might disagree with your approach, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still present a united front when needed.
4. Empower Your Employees
One of the reasons that Jack Ma has become so successful is because he has consistently hired employees that have more technical skills than him. He also works to empower these employees, understanding their full potential. After all, if the boss of a company is more advanced in terms of technical skill than all of his employees – what is he paying them for? Make sure that your employees are encouraged to be their best.
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5. Stay Paranoid
There are plenty of individuals that become successful, but are not be able to stay successful because they get too comfortable. They might believe that they will never lose market share, or that their business will never really face any real obstacles. It’s easy to get comfortable when you become successful, but Jack Ma urges entrepreneurs to stay paranoid and vigilant if they want to truly succeed. We have all witnessed huge companies – i.e Myspace – that have lost a tremendous amount of relevance over the years. As a result, being paranoid might not be such a bad idea.
6. Be Courageous
It is easy to appreciate Jack Ma’s vision now, but it’s not as if everyone knew he would be successful. There are many that believed that Ma’s vision of an online retail company was a dream that wasn’t worth pursuing, and there were even potential investors that urged him to direct his efforts elsewhere. Ma understood the opportunity, and was courageous enough to execute his vision.
7. More Money, More Responsibility
Entrepreneurs naturally want to become successful, and they often are passionate about ensuring that their companies solve serious problems. However, Ma has elaborated on how making more money also means a more complicated life. While it might not be the first aspect of success that you think about, every entrepreneur should understand that more money often means more headaches, and prepare accordingly.
8. You Don’t Need Connections
There is certainly value when it comes to networking, but there are some people that believe that success can only be obtained through certain “connections”. The truth is that Jack Ma was not part of a fraternity or a secret society.
Jack Ma had a clear vision, some incredible ideas, and he was able to scale his business in a way that few human beings ever have. He understood that his customers would help his business get where it needed to go, and he never had to rely on a rich relative or a connected friend to get there.
9. Focus On The Customer
These days, there are so many variables when it comes to business. You might be focusing on a marketing strategy, stakeholders, investors, or competitors – but if you don’t focus on the customer, how is your business going to survive? It’s clear that any real successful business has been able to provide a customer experience that is unique, which is the reason why it’s able to adapt throughout time.
Jack Ma has always understood the power of the customer, and the importance of focusing on his or her needs and concerns.
10. Look Farther
Alibaba is the world’s largest retailer, but that doesn’t mean that it’s influence is limited to retail. The conglomerate has ventured into fintech, offering Alipay, a third-party online platform that actually doesn’t charge online fees. In addition, Alibaba has expanded aggressively in the media and entertainment sectors, as well.
There’s nothing wrong with having a core focus as a business while recognizing that your organization is growing to the point where it can support other initiatives. Ma has mastered the ability to expand effectively, and entrepreneurs can definitely learn a thing or two about how to diversify their interests from Jack Ma.
Jack Ma is clearly one of the most respected businessmen in the world, but he is also known as a wise man who was able to achieve success on his own terms. While there are many that doubted Ma, it’s clear that he has now become one of the most inspiring entrepeneurs of his time.