27 of the most brilliant quotes from Jack Ma, the cofounder of Alibaba and one of the richest people in the world

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Jack Ma is one of the wealthiest people in the world, with an estimated net worth of $US37 billion.

In 1999, the Chinese entrepreneur cofounded Alibaba, and 20 years later, the online retailer has half a billion customers and is among the most valuable on the web. The company rakes in more profit than Walmart and Amazon combined.

Lately, Ma has shifted his focus toward education and philanthropy, and last year, he announced he would retire from Alibaba to return to teaching.

Emerging business leaders turn to Ma for inspiration, and over the years he’s shared his thoughts on leadership, success, and education.

Here are 27 of the most brilliant quotes from Jack Ma.


“Leadership is your instinct, then it’s your training. Leaders are always positive, they never complain.”

Andrew Burton/Getty Images


Source:
Interview for World Economic Forum 2018


“I know nothing about technology, I know nothing about marketing, I know nothing about (the legal) stuff. I only know about people.”


Source:
Viva Tech Conference 2019


“A leader should incentivise, but not with money. You give trust, respect, appreciation, and correct, heartfelt advice.”

Bryan Thomas/Getty Images


Source:
Interview for World Economic Forum 2018


“A good boss is better than a good company.”


Source:
Speech at De La Salle University, Oct 2017


“I always find people smarter than I am. Then my job is to make sure smart people can work together. Stupid people can work together easily, smart people can’t.”


Source:
Interview for World Economic Forum 2018


“My favourite movie is Forrest Gump. He said, nobody makes money catching whales, people make money catching shrimps. So we serve small business.”

Paramount


Source:
Interview for World Economic Forum 2017


“Intelligent people need a fool to lead them. When the team’s all a bunch of scientists, it is best to have a peasant lead the way. His way of thinking is different. It’s easier to win if you have people seeing things from different perspectives.”


Source:
Alibaba: The Inside Story Behind Jack Ma and the Creation of the World’s Biggest Online Marketplace


“As entrepreneurs, if you’re not optimistic, you’re in trouble. So the people I choose, they have to be optimistic.”

VCG/VCG via Getty Images


Source:
Annual meeting with IMF and World Bank 2018


“Players should never fight. A real businessman or entrepreneur has no enemies. Once he understands this, the sky’s the limit.”


Source:
De La Salle University, Manila visit – October 2017


“Philanthropy is not about helping others, it’s about helping yourself. When you change, the world changes.”


Source:
Interview for World Economic Forum 2018


“I do everything to make sure my customer is happy, my employee is happy, society is healthy. I would focus on customers, I would focus on not making money, I would focus on making values.”


Source:
CNBC interview 2017


“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.”

Wang He/Getty


Source:
Interview for World Economic Forum 2018


“Today is difficult, tomorrow is much more difficult, but the day after tomorrow is beautiful. Most people die tomorrow evening.”


Source:
APEC CEO Summit 2015


“Of course, you’re not happy when people say ‘no.’ Have a good sleep, wake up, and try again.”


Source:
Viva Tech Conference 2019


“If you want to be successful, learn from other people’s mistakes, not their successes. No matter how smart you are, you will encounter these mistakes, and you’ll know how to deal with them.”


Source:
Interview for World Economic Forum 2018


“In my life, it’s not how much we’ve achieved, it’s how much we’ve gone through the tough days.”


Source:
Interview for World Economic Forum 2018


“China is opening, opening the door. And internet is the best way to let the people understand what’s happening outside.”


Source:
Crocodile in the Yangtze: The Alibaba Story


“When you are small, you have to be very focused and rely on your brain, not your strength.”


Source:
Inc. interview 2008


“Last century, people competed with muscle. This century, it’s not muscle, it’s wisdom. If a person wants to be successful he should have a high EQ. If he doesn’t want to lose quickly, he should have a high IQ, but if he wants to be respected, he should have a high LQ, the Q of love.”


Source:
Interview for World Economic Forum 2018


“If machines can do things better, we have to change the way we teach. The key things are value, believing, independent thinking, teamwork, care for others, making sure humans are different from machines.”


Source:
Interview at World Economic Forum 2018


“Hire as many young people as possible, because they are never scared. We make wrong decisions, we make the wrong policies, we kill their future. So trust the young people. Trust the small business. Build (an) environment, build the ecosystem for them. This is our future.”

Alibaba


Source:
Tech in Asia 2017


“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.”

China Photos / Getty Images


Source:
Interview at World Economic Forum 2017


“It doesn’t matter if I failed. At least I passed the concept on to others. Even if I don’t succeed, someone will succeed.”

VCG via Getty ImagesJack Ma at the 2014 Ali Day wedding.


Source:
Crocodile in the Yangtze: The Alibaba Story


“I come to this world not to work, but to enjoy this life. I don’t want to die in my office, I want to die on the beaches.”

ChinaFotoPress / Getty Images


Source:
Interview at World Economic Forum 2017


“Before I’m 50 years old, my job is making money. After I’m 50 years old, my job is spending money, helping others, because you can’t spend all that money.”


Source:
Interview at World Economic Forum 2017


“If you want to be successful tomorrow, it’s impossible. If you want to be successful a year later, it’s impossible. But if you want to win 10 years later, you have a chance.”


Source:
Interview at World Economic Forum 2018


“I always tell myself that we are born here not to work, but to enjoy life. We are here to make things better for one another.”

VCG/VCG via Getty Images


Source:
De Le Salle University, Manila visit – October 2017


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Lacy O’Toole/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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