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Jack Ma – From rags-to-riches – An inspirational story

Jack Ma

Jack Ma originally Ma Yun  – Founder of e-commerce giant AliBaba is one of those people, whom i think of an inspiration of all times, whenever i need a dose of inspiration or i want to inspire someone with a motivational story, i always talk about Jack Ma, so this piece of writing is all about inspiring not only myself but others as well.

Jack Ma is a Chinese e-commerce magnate and philanthropist. He is the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group. He is the first mainstream Chinese entrepreneur to appear on the cover of Forbes.

Jack Ma is the richest man in China and 18th richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $29.7 billion(citation needed). He was ranked as the 30th most powerful person in the world in an annual ranking published by Forbes.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma  was honored with Entrepreneur of the Year award at The Asian Awards in 2015, considered as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, his e-commerce company, Alibaba, attracts 100 million shoppers a day.

Jack Ma


The Tough Part:

This is the bright side of the picture, all those billions did not just flow in, there is a story of relentless struggle beneath all this fame and accomplishment. The agony of successive failures, shattered self confidence and broken dreams, is the unseen aspect of the bigger picture what we see today. He was never rich or had an ambition to be an entrepreneur. He was a simple honest man – no money, no connections, no clout.

Would you believe that this richest Chinese man, was rejected from 30 jobs, ridiculed, and termed as stupid?, he had his share of misfortunes, but every setback was a little nudge pushing him to stay focused and continue to sail in rough seas.

He struggled with poverty in high school, later applied to college but failed the entrance exam-not once but twice, finally third attempt made him to attend an ordinary third grade college named Hangzhou Teacher’s Institute. He graduated in 1988, a fresh graduate entered the cruel job market with a hope to get a decent earning, applied for nearly 30 different jobs and rejected – yes rejected from all of them.

They said, ‘You’re no good,'” says Ma. “I even went to KFC when it came to my city. Twenty-four people went for the job. Twenty-three were accepted. I was the only guy…”, says Ma, in one of the interviews.

Let’s put ourselves in his shoes, do we have the guts to handle such a massive burden of 30 rejections? It takes a lot of courage to collect yourself back and move forward. Subsequently Jack Ma decided to go on his own. He decided to start a business of his own, as if he had any other choice.

Here some more failures were waiting for him, his first two ventures failed, four years later he gathered 17 of his friends in his apartment and convinced them to invest in his vision for an online marketplace he called “Alibaba.” The site allowed exporters to post product listings that customers could buy directly. That was 1998.

Jack Ma

First three years, the brand didn’t yield any profit, one of the company’s main challenges was that it had no way to do payments and no banks would work with him. Ma decided to start his own payment program called Alipay. The program used to handle payments in different currencies between international buyers and sellers.

“So many people I talked to at that time about Alipay, they said, ‘this is the stupidest idea you’ve ever had,'” he said. “I didn’t care if it was stupid as long as people could use it.” Today, 800 million people use Alipay.

This time he won the battle, the service started to attract members from all over the world. By October 1999, the company had raised $5 million from Goldman Sachs and $20 million from SoftBank, a Japanese telecom company that also invests in technology companies. The team remained close-knit and scrappy — “We will make it because we are young and we never, never give up,” Ma said to a gathering of employees.

Jack Ma

Fortune favors the brave

In 2005, Yahoo invested $1 billion in Alibaba in exchange for about a 40% stake in the company. With Company’s  $150 billion IPO(Initial Public Offering) , Jack Ma became the richest man in China with an estimated net worth of $25 billion.

Despite of poverty, lack of educational will, struggle to secure a job, he with his strong will and passion ultimately ended up setting his own business. Jack Ma had a fair share of every difficulty that came across, faced enormous challenges – each telling him a different story about pursuing his dreams.

He learned to chase his mission of life. Without all those setbacks, we may never had the opportunity to talk about an unbelievable journey of a person who reached the heights of business and philanthropy.

As Jack Ma says, “We are never in short of money. We lack people with dreams, and who are ready to die for those dreams.”

  • Waqqas

    I love this person…. he is a true source of inspiration…. The most important thing, i never saw him getting impressed by Americans, most of the world feel proud in doing so.