3 of Jack Ma’s best pieces of advice

jack ma 19

Jack Ma, YGL, Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group Holding, People’s Republic of China; Member of the Board of Trustees, World Economic Forum, speaking during the session, Enabling eCommerce: Small Enterprises, Global Players, at the Annual Meeting 2018 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 24, 2018. Copyright by World Economic Forum / Ciaran McCrickard. (Foundations World Economic Forum, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Kate Whiting, Senior Writer, Formative Content


Alibaba founder Jack Ma turns 55-years-old today, while the e-commerce giant he founded turns 20. It’s also the day Ma is handing over the reins to Daniel Zhang.

The former English teacher founded the company in 1999 in his one-bedroom apartment in Hangzhou. Since then, it’s grown to be valued at $480 billion.

Zhang, currently Alibaba Group’s chief executive, will replace Ma as executive chairman.

In a letter to his employees on this day last year, Ma said he wanted to go back to teaching: “I still have lots of dreams to pursue… I want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do.”

As Ma stands aside, here are some of his best pearls of wisdom:

Your first job is the most important

At the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, Ma shared his career advice to the Global Shapers community:

“When you graduate and are looking for a job, the first job is the most important. Not necessarily a company that has a great name. You should find a good boss that can teach you how to be a human, how to do things right. Stay there for at least three years.”

Teaching children soft skills is vital for the future

Speaking at Davos in 2018, Ma said we need to change the way we teach children in order to differentiate humans from artificial intelligence.

“If we do not change the way we teach, in 30 years we’ll be in trouble. We teach our kids things from the past 200 years, it’s knowledge-based, and we cannot teach our kids to compete with machines who’ll be smarter.

“We have to teach our kids something unique, so that a machine can never catch up with us: values, believing, independent thinking, teamwork, care for others – the soft skills – sports, music, painting, arts, to make sure humans are different from machines.”

There is no expert of tomorrow

Asked by the Global Shapers community if he had any doubts when he first set up Alibaba, Ma admitted he had fears, but never doubted his ability to succeed.

“It was 1999, the early days of the internet. Everybody has a fair chance, there was no expert at that time. Even today, there is no expert of tomorrow.”

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

This man is turning cities into giant sponges to save lives

This credit card has a carbon-emission spending limit

10th ASEM in Milan and the importance of being one: EU’s big challenge on the way to China

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

Carnage must stop in northwest Syria demands Lowcock, as attacks intensify

This app uses augmented reality to rewrite ‘herstory’

Is euro to repeat its past highs with the dollar?

Electronic Cigarettes: Are they really as safe as we think?

Poor Greeks, Irish and Spaniards still pay for the faults of German and French banks

Ensuring the ‘lungs of the planet’ keep us alive: 5 things you need to know about forests and the UN

Darfur: Inter-communal tensions still high despite improved security, Mission head tells Security Council

Parliament: No consent to EU budget until €11.2 billion unpaid bills are settled

5 things you probably didn’t know about global health

The 27 EU leaders did nothing to help May unlock the Brexit talks

Why youth unemployment is so difficult to counter

‘Signs of hope’ toward a political settlement in Yemen, UN special envoy tells Security Council

Indian cities are running out of water

From drought to floods in Somalia; displacement and hunger worsen, says UN

Five things everybody needs to know about the future of Journalism

Dieselgate: Parliament calls for mandatory retrofits of polluting cars

Is the advent of nationalism to destroy economic neo-liberalism?

Online marketplaces can help close Africa’s skills gap

New European frontiers for renewable energy development

UN rights chief ‘extremely concerned’ over deadly crackdown on protesters in Iran

Trust in OECD governments back at pre-crisis levels as governments seek to be more open and engaged

Under fire, UN refugee agency evacuates 135 detained in Libya to Niger

How microfinance develops decent work

MWC 2016 LIVE: Mobile World Congress shows off planes, trams and automobiles

How smart tech helps cities fight terrorism and crime

Nagasaki is ‘a global inspiration’ for peace, UN chief says marking 73rd anniversary of atomic bombing

5 ways cities can use emerging technologies to fight climate change

How blockchain can cut the cost of new medicine

MWC 2016 LIVE: 5G to trigger disruption, claim industry leaders

Ramp up nuclear power to beat climate change, says UN nuclear chief

Safer roads: More life-saving technology to be mandatory in vehicles

A call for a new crop of innovators

COVID-19: research package welcomed, EU needs to be better equipped in future

We should treat data as a natural resource. Here’s why

Bank resolutions set to remain a national affair

This Pacific island has banned fishing to allow the marine ecosystem to recover

VW emissions scandal: EU unable to protect its consumers against large multinationals

Thursday’s Daily Brief: STIs worldwide, food safety and food prices, updates on Iraq and East Africa

Here’s how the global financial crisis is still affecting your wages

5 facts to know about Africa’s powerhouse – Nigeria

A Sting Exclusive: “Delivering on the Environmental Dimension of the new Sustainable Development Agenda”, Ulf Björnholm underscores from UNEP Brussels

5 ways to get your business ready for AI in 2020

Visiting North Korea, UN relief chief spotlights funding shortfall to meet humanitarian needs

Refugee crisis: Commission proposes a new plan urging EU countries to help Italy

Mental health in times of pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

Frans Timmermans on the European Green Deal as a growth strategy at the Bruegel Annual Meetings

Coronavirus – here’s the public health advice on how to protect yourself

Syria: UN chief warns Idlib offensive may set off ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

The ethics of the Medical Technology Civilisation era

6 innovative technologies about to transform our infrastructure

“A divided Europe is not in China’s interests”, Ambassador Zhang of the Chinese Mission to EU welcomes Brussels

A ‘charismatic leader’ dedicated to making the world a better place for all: officials bid farewell to former UN chief Kofi Annan

The ECB proposes a swift solution for SMEs’ financing

Tackling Youth Unemployment

European Commission statement on the adoption of the new energy lending policy of the European Investment Bank Group

EU and Overseas Countries and Territories boost cooperation at annual Forum with €44 million

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s