Self-made billionaire Jack Ma, who was rejected from 30 jobs
Published: 08:44 PM, 13 September 2019 Updated: 11:18 AM, 14 September 2019
You must know that a company is worth $460 billion more than Facebook with 100,000 employees and processes goods more than eBay and Amazon combined! It is Alibaba, the largest e-commerce company in the world. The man whose contribution helped Alibaba to reach the apex of success is Jack Ma (a former English teacher) who never heard the word “computer” in his childhood.
Mr. Ma is idealistic, optimistic, competent, innovative and resilient. These virtues lead him to create such a giant company. He proved that a man can do something special as well as can be a billionaire without much knowledge about technology but using tech. Ma gave a lesson on how to be a self-made billionaire. But behind the story of Jack Ma as successful business magnate – there was all about failures, struggles, trying, and optimism.
Born on September 10, 1964, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China from a poor family, Jack Ma’s parents were involved in a profession of storytelling through music that indicates Mr. Ma’s family background was entertainment field.
In that profession, earning was not sufficient. Nobody thought that among two brothers and one sister, the second Ma Yun (Jack Ma) would be such a business magnate in the world.
Interest in learning
Jack has been interested in learning from an early age. When Jack Ma was 12 years old, he got interested in learning English through being Chinese.
From an early age, he understood that there was no alternative to learn English to change his situation. He rode a bicycle for 40 minutes every morning to reach Hangzhou Hotel where a lot of foreign tourists used to come.
He showed them around as a free guide in exchange for learning English. It was continued for nine years. Those nine years deeply changed him. Jack started to become more globalized than most Chinese. He cycled for miles and miles years by years only for learning English. During the tour guiding, he met a foreign girl who gave him the nickname ‘Jack’ as his name was hard to spell for her. After that, the real Ma Yun turned into Jack Ma.
This learning power helped Ma to out of the limited boundary and dreamed to go far. There was a wide gap between the real-life experiences what Jack learned from tourists and the traditional education of schools. So Jack Ma developed a different habit for himself as a teenager — he thought deeply about what he read, saw, heard.
It is said that failure is the pillar of success and in this regard, Jack Ma is an excellent example for all. The story of Jack Ma became successful — like the story of a fairytale. He failed in his education as well as in professional life at an extreme level.
Jack Ma Failed in his primary school examinations for twice. He failed thrice during his middle school exams. After high school, when he was applying for universities- Jack failed the entrance exams three times and finally could join Hangzhou Normal University. He even applied for Harvard University to admit there ten times and got rejected each time. This was only the scenario during his education.
He also faced failure in professional life. Rejections were synonymous with Jack Ma. None would believe the number of times Mr. Ma has been rejected. After college, Ma applied for 30 jobs in his home city of Hangzhou, China. He was rejected from every one.
“When KFC came to China, 24 people went for the job. 23 people were accepted. I was the only guy who was not,” Jack Ma once said. He also one of the 5 applicants for a job in the Police force and was the only one who rejected after being told that he was “no good”. Also, on his entrepreneurial undertakings, Jack Ma went on to fail on two of his initial ventures. But that didn’t stop him in any way of dreaming bigger.
Even after he started Alibaba, he suffered multiple failures. But he didn’t give up after failing and rejecting in both of academic and professional fields many times. These failures did not stop Ma’s persistence and determination. He managed to keep his optimism, just like a real hero. His persistence, determination, and optimism lead him to the apex of success.
Alibaba: idea and its creation
In 1995, Jack Ma visited US for a Government undertaking project. A friend showed him the Internet there for the first time in his life. He searched the word beer on Yahoo and discovered that there was no data about China. He decided to launch a website and registered the name China Pages. He also thought there should be a website that would link commercially to the planet.
He created his first website with his friend's funding of $2000 to start his own firm with the intention of solely focusing on the internet. The purpose of the company was to create websites for their clients. Although this kind of business was relatively new, Jack managed to earn a whopping $800000 in a matter of just 3 years. The site was very successful, and Jack found his appropriate place.
In 1997, he was employed by the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Operation, responsible for developing the official website and a webpage for Chinese commodities online trade. The following year, he resigned from the public office.
After stepping from his responsibilities, Jack dreamt to set up his own e-commerce company. In 1999, he gathered 18 friends in his apartment and spoke to them about his vision. In the same year, they created the ‘Alibaba’ in Hangzhou. He wanted to have a global company, so he chose a global name. People from everywhere in the world is now familiar with the word ‘Alibaba’.
During 1999-2000, the company received a financial backing of $25 million, which significantly helped in the growth of the company. The company’s business soon expanded to around 240 different nations.
Jack next tried to venture into e-business. In this regard, he also founded many firms such as ‘Taobao’, ‘Lynx’ and ‘Ali Mama’ in 2003.
‘Taobao’ started trending over the internet as a top e-commerce website. The second-largest e-commerce company in the world “eBay” proposed to buy Alibaba at that time. But Jack Ma rejected their offer and continued to run his dream company with a billion-dollar investment from Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang.
As a result of his wise decisions, prudent actions and not giving up, Alibaba has now become a multi-billion dollar company offering business-to-business, business-to-customer and customer-to-customer services.
Since launching its first website helping small Chinese exporters, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs to sell internationally, Alibaba Group has grown into a global leader in online and mobile commerce. Today the company and its related companies have expanded into financial services, mobile payments, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence.
Alibaba listed in the New York stock exchange in 2014 in the largest IPO to date, has a market capitalization of $460bn. Alibaba has grown to become Asia's most valuable listed company.
Key things of Jack’s success
Jack Ma never thinks his competitors as enemies, rather he takes themselves as the people from whom he can learn and they are the persons who can challenge him to achieve his full potential. It is one of the most key things in Ma’s business philosophy. That is all about friendly competition.
Jack always loves his life and his perception about life – “people born not to work but to enjoy life”. Ma believes that we are come in the world to make things better for one another and not for work.
Ma cherishes that anyone can learn the most from obstacles and hardships. “Giving up is the greatest failure” according to Jack. He always says that people should learn from the mistakes but never give up. “If anyone gives up how he or she can get a chance to overcome and be successful? The key to success is learning from your mistakes.”
Besides, Jack is much powerful in foresight as well as tenacious and having a clear vision. He focuses on the skills of employees and hiring people with superior skills to engage his company. He unites people under a common goal. The vision is more important than the leader. All these make Jack Ma- a self-made billionaire.
Ma’s Management Councils
Jack Ma always inspires to learn and gain through mistakes. Once he said, “In life, it’s not how much we achieved, it’s how much we’ve gone through the tough days and mistakes.”
He also insists, “If you want to be successful, learn from the other people’s mistakes, don’t learn from the successful stories.” Mr. Ma counseled how a man can be successful following various methods in any different stages at life like the 20s, 30s, and 40s.
He advised that people should follow a good boss and learn properly how to do tasks at first. “When you are 20 to 30 years old, you should follow a good boss and join a good company to learn how to do things properly,” Ma said.
At 30 to 40 years, men should do something about themselves. Regarding this, he said, “When you are 30 to 40 years old, if you want to do something yourself, just do it. You still can afford to lose, to fail”.
At 40 to 50 years, people should not go into any new field but they have to do what they are good at. “When you’re 40 to 50 years old, my suggestion is you should do things you are good at,” according to Jack Ma.
Men should spend time on training and developing the next generation between the age of 50 to 60 years and over 60- a person should stay with grandchildren. “When you are 50 to 60 years old, spend time training and developing young people, the next generation and when you are over 60 years old, you better stay with your grandchildren.”
According to Ma people in their 20s and 30s are “the luckiest” because they still have so much to learn.
Things make you surprise about Ma
He was a bad student and rejected from Harvard 10 times. Ma began his career as an English teacher before becoming a self-made billionaire coming from a poor family. He bought his first computer at the age of 33. Ma co-founded Alibaba in his apartment with no background in computing.
The name “Alibaba” comes from a children’s story. Jack Ma is China’s richest man, with a net worth of $38.6bn according to Forbes 2019 list. He said he wanted to dedicate more time to philanthropy through the Jack Ma Foundation. The foundation for education pledged to donate $30m to a 10-year initiative to support teaching in rural China.
Due to his proficiency in English, he served as an English teacher for five years at a local college. His salary was just $15 per month. He is not only a fan of martial arts but has been practicing tai chi for more than 30 years. Jack Ma trains the ‘blessing’ of a 12-hour working day.
All the great people around the world put their valuable ideas, thoughts, visions, perceptions which inspire the general people to do something new and innovative. Jack also draws inspiration with giving his quotes. He encouraged people to learn from the mistakes- “Instead of learning from other people’s success, learn from their mistakes. Most of the people who fail, share common reasons (to fail), whereas success can be attributed to various different kinds of reasons.”
Ma insisted on never losing the hopes¬- “Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” Jack gave importance on trying, trying and trying- “If you’ve never tried, how you will ever know if there’s any chance?”
He told people to make the technology widespread and give much nursing on young generation- “The next 30 years are going to be critical for the world. Make the technology inclusive, make the world change. Pay attention to those people who are 30 years old. Those are the internet generation. They will change the world.”
Jack Ma has stepped down as head of Alibaba on September 10, 2019, his 55th birthday, placing Daniel Zhang at his position and will go on education service as he loves to do much. But he already put something in the world that can be an inspiration for any failed person how to overcome failure and be succeeded in life.
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