Jack Ma’s Guide To Sanity And Success

There are no experts of tomorrow, only of yesterday.

– Jack Ma

In 1999, Jack Ma co-founded what would become a multinational behemoth specialising in e-commerce, retail, internet and technology – Alibaba.

He’s someone I’ve been following for the last couple of years. His wisdom and simple, yet powerful advice is invaluable. One of my favourite video’s is Jack Ma’s original sales pitch to 17 of his friends is his apartment introducing Alibaba, where he lay out his plan to compete with US internet titans.

In his pitch you gain glimpses of his long-term thinking, his vision, his hunger, his determination, and his work ethic. Most importantly you gain insight into his mindset. If you haven’t seen the video, here it is:

In his video he talks about the tech bubble, the fact that stocks will rise and fall, and that they need to pay a painful price in 3-5 years, yet it is the only way they will succeed – and oh how right he was.

20 years on, Jack Ma is sharper than ever. He recently presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos to pass on his advice to young entrepreneurs. Here are his top quotes:


“Of course I was scared and had doubts [when I started Alibaba]. But I believed someone, if not us, would win. There are no experts of tomorrow, only of yesterday.”


“In business, never worry about competition, never worry about the pressure. If you worry about pressure, don’t be a businessman … If you create value, there is opportunity. Today the whole world worries. That means there is great opportunity.”


“Your first job is your most important. Not necessarily a company that has a great name but you should find a good boss that can teach you how to be a human being, how to do things properly, and stay there. Give yourself a promise: I will stay there for three years.”


“How can we teach kids to be more creative and do things that machines cannot do? Machines have chips, but human beings have hearts … Education should move in this direction.”


What keeps Jack Ma awake at night? “Nothing! If I don’t sleep well, the problem will still be there. If I sleep, I have a better chance to fight it.”


“To manage smart people you have to use culture, the value system, they believe what they do. If you just want to use rules and laws and documents to control – that’s how you control stupid people.”


“When I hire people, I hire the people who are smarter than I am. People who four, five years later could be my boss. I like people who are positive and who never give up.”

Whether you’re setting up a business, or setting up your family’s wealth, having a vision, being hungry for success, being determined, having the right work ethic, and most importantly having the right mindset is paramount. I believe there are 3 key steps in getting what you want:

  1. Know your outcome – be clear on what you want
  2. Know why you want it – purpose provides drive
  3. Take action – stop talking about shit and start doing shit

Take these three actions, and you’re ahead of 95% of the population. It’s a fact.

Source: WEF, YouTube