Earlier in the week, Jack Ma resigned from his role as chairman of Alibaba group to focus on philanthropy. Do you know him or Alibaba? Okay, for those who don’t know, Alibaba is a global online retail brand. Jack ma who is the company’s founder and board chairman is the richest man in China.
Well, Jack Ma’s resignation isn’t the story here. What is, is the fact that everyone have something to learn from the life of a man with a humble beginning.
Jack Ma did not start his life as a rich man. In fact, he didn’t have the opportunity many of us have but now misusing. Ma was originally an English teacher who learned the language as an UNPAID tour guide in Hangzhou. Ma, whose parents were traditional theater performers, twice failed university entrance exams, but became a teacher after entering the local teacher’s college.
Ma was rejected from Harvard 10 times and he was turned down as a secretary to a Kentucky Fried Chicken general manager. During a trip to Seattle in 1995, he went online for the first time, and saw how little information existed about Chinese companies. That prompted him to start China Pages, one of the first Chinese Internet companies.
Ma professes to know very little about high tech. For the leader of one of the world’s largest Internet companies, Ma concedes he knows very little about technology. He has said he knows little more than how to send and receive email and cannot write code.
Yet, Ma founded one of the greatest tech companies in the world. Alibaba reported roughly $40 billion in revenue last year. In its most recent quarter, it reported about $10 million in e-commerce revenue. The company reported that its annual active customer base hit 524 million.
Ma was Alibaba’s chief executive until 2013, when he stepped down to become chairman. He founded the Jack Ma Foundation, a philanthropic organization devoted to education, in 2014.
Where you are doesn’t matter. Where you’re heading and the roadmap to same matters.