In 2014, Alibaba set a record IPO in the NYE, setting their stock’s initial price at $25 billion. Founder Jack Ma became a prominent figure for success but he is better known for the resilience and grit that he banked on when he faced numerous failures throughout his life.
Jack Ma’s success is definitely inspiring and here are the lessons that we could all learn from him:
He expanded his network whenever he could
In 1972, there was a tourism boom in China and Jack took advantage of the trend. As a child, he worked as a tourist guide. He traded tours in exchange for English lessons. Then, he made connections even while he was a child. He got the name JACK from a foreign child he befriended.
While working for a government agency, Jack Ma tried to expand his network by handing out his business cards. He eventually crossed paths with Yahoo co-founder, Jerry Yan. His new found friend introduced Jack to the wonders of the web. This meeting proved to be influential and critical to the creation of Alibaba.com
He outsourced the development for alibaba.com
Jack Ma’s idea is brilliant, but in order to compete with other online markets, he hired a team of U.S. web developers for its website’s initial launch. Jack fully trusted his idea and vision but he knew he did not have the competency required to excel in web development. This move paid dividends as Alibaba was able to edge out ebay.com as the leading online market in China.
Jack’s failure to enter Harvard University ten times is well documented, but being forced to shut down an earlier version of Alibaba, a website named “Chinapage”, due to a lack of funds when it was well received by partner companies is probably the tougher pill to swallow in his career. Nevertheless, Jack persevered, eventually getting the chance to re-establish “Chinapage” as Alibaba.com.
A great idea can only get so far. In order to succeed, you got to have passion, awareness, social savvy, and most importantly, the will to continue despite setbacks.
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