- Jack Ma, cofounder of Chinese retail site Alibaba, is one of the wealthiest people in the world.
- Business leaders turn to Ma for inspiration, and over the years he’s shared his thoughts on leadership, success, and education.
- Here are some of Ma’s best quotes.
- Visit Business Insider’s home page for more stories.
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.”
“I know nothing about technology, I know nothing about marketing, I know nothing about (the legal) stuff. I only know about people.”
Viva Tech Conference 2019
“A leader should incentivise, but not with money. You give trust, respect, appreciation, and correct, heartfelt advice.”
“A good boss is better than a good company.”
“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.”
“My favourite movie is Forrest Gump. He said, nobody makes money catching whales, people make money catching shrimps. So we serve small business.”
“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.”
“As entrepreneurs, if you’re not optimistic, you’re in trouble. So the people I choose, they have to be optimistic.”
“Players should never fight. A real businessman or entrepreneur has no enemies. Once he understands this, the sky’s the limit.”
“Philanthropy is not about helping others, it’s about helping yourself. When you change, the world changes.”
“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.”
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.”
“Today is difficult, tomorrow is much more difficult, but the day after tomorrow is beautiful. Most people die tomorrow evening.”
APEC CEO Summit 2015
“Of course, you’re not happy when people say ‘no.’ Have a good sleep, wake up, and try again.”
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.”
“In my life, it’s not how much we’ve achieved, it’s how much we’ve gone through the tough days.”
“China is opening, opening the door. And internet is the best way to let the people understand what’s happening outside.”
“When you are small, you have to be very focused and rely on your brain, not your strength.”
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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