The inspiring story of Alibaba| a must read for some inspiration

You can achieve anything. I found this story of Jack Ma of the Alibaba empire and thought you would love it too. Enjoy. As

You can achieve anything. I found this story of Jack Ma of the Alibaba empire and thought you would love it too. Enjoy.

As you sow, so shall you reap”. It is a principle relevant to all environments, dynamics and levels of interaction. Corporate culture, employee well being and company performance is one more example of the dynamics and outcomes of this principle in action.

In 1999, Jack Ma gathered 17 of his friends and students in his apartment in Hangzhou to share his vision of conquering global markets. They pooled together their resources of $60,000 and founded a B2B online marketplace, aiming to allow small and medium-sized companies across China to get connected to global buyers. Those were the humble beginnings of an e-commerce start-up that took four years to yield its first tiny profit. But the dream of Jack Ma was too grand to be confined by the walls of that old apartment.

One Thousand and One Nights’ later and straight out of the treasure cave of Ali Baba… a modern day legend is born. Inspired by the tales of the Arabian nights, Ma named his company Alibaba. In his own words: “One day I was in San Francisco and I was thinking that Alibaba is a good name. Alibaba ‘Opens Sesame’ for small-to medium-sized companies. We also registered the name ‘Alimama’ in case somebody wants to marry us!”

Since then, Alibaba has expanded its corporate ‘family’ to over 25,000 employees and followed a stratospheric rise that recently achieved the biggest ever IPO in history, reaching $25 billion. To understand the magnitude of this, Alibaba boasts 600 million registered accounts, 100 million shoppers a day, and has created more than 40 million jobs in China.

So, what is the secret formula of the unique company culture and success of Alibaba that turned Jack Ma from an English teacher to be crowned The Godfather of China’s global entrepreneurs? Life taught Ma the hard lessons of rejection early on. He has admitted that he was rejected from 30 jobs, failed national university exams, was turned down by Harvard and even failed to get a position at KFC. In a speech at Stanford University, he said that back then “Nobody said that I would be a very capable person that would do something significant or meaningful in the future. I never thought that Jack Ma would have, in the future, a day like today”.

His own experience of failure and struggle did not just fuel his fighting spirit, it has resulted in him becoming more faithful in his vision of creating the optimal conditions to enable his closest associates and employees to feel a real part of the rise of Alibaba. The importance of loyalty and building a close-knit team are central in his business philosophy. According to Joe Tsai, Alibaba’s vice chairman, Ma is an open and inclusive person that knows how to share.

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What choices are you making today? You can get anything. You must be willing to free your mind to get ahead.


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