Through Hardship To The Stars: Jack Ma's 7 failures
Main page Lifestyle, Alibaba

The Legendary entrepreneur Jack Ma has announced his departure from the management of Alibaba. Let us recall how difficult the path to his success was.

On September 10, the founder and chairman of the board of directors of Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) Group Jack Ma announced that in one year he will give up his post to the executive director of the holding Daniel Zhang. Revealing his decision, the entrepreneur added:

"The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba."

Jack Ma is currently 54 years old, and his fortune is estimated to be around $35.8 billion.

Ma is known as one of the most successful entrepreneurs of his age, who always keeps in pace with the times. Regarding the recent crypto-fever, he said that he has been studying blockchain for many years and he is confident that the technology will be able to resolve issues of confidentiality and security at all levels of the society, be it at the governmental level, the corporate or the personal, as according to Ma "we live in an era of large data." He added that Alibaba will have to master the blockchain, otherwise, the consequences will be fatal. However, Jack Ma was not always so shrewd, and on the way to success, he was often suffered defeat (and was sometimes even crushed). Here are seven cases when Jack Ma, after experiencing monstrous failures, managed to maintain the will to live, just like his hero, Forrest Gump.

1. He wasn't disheartened when he failed his school exams

Jack Ma was not the most exemplary student. To tell the truth, he almost got expelled from high school

"I failed a key primary school test two times, I failed the middle school test three times, I failed the college entrance exam two times…"

The majority of us were lucky enough never to have to bring our parents such joyous news.

Most surprisingly, Ma is not alone in this. Many other famous minds, including Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln (like Forrest Gump), did not cope with studies in their early years, but this didn't stop them becoming famous for their great deeds.

2. On his university maths entrance exam, Ma got 1 out of 120

Simply failing an exam is one thing. Getting a score that amounts to less than 1% on the entrance examination to college is quite another. And it's not that he didn't have enough time to prepare: even today Jack Ma struggles with maths, despite the fact that Alibaba is a tech company. He himself says:

“I am not good at math, have never studied management, and still cannot read accounting reports."

But, as it turns out, to become a billionaire, it isn't necessary to be good at mathematics. Perhaps another fact will impress you even more: as a child, Jack Ma never even heard the word "computer".

3. He didn't lose faith in himself after failing to get into Harvard 10 times

It's not so surprising that someone was refused to be admitted to Harvard 10 times, more the fact that someone made so many attempts. This shows that Jack Ma is an example of perseverance, claiming:

“The very important thing you should have is patience.”

He also tried to enter the Pedagogical University of Hangzhou. There he was more fortunate, being able to become an English teacher.

4. He remained an optimist after he was rejected for 30 jobs

After graduating from university, he applied to get into 30 different companies, and everywhere he was turned down.

He even tried to become a policeman. But the police didn't even agree to interview him, and instead of giving him a reason why, they said three words: “you’re no good.”

However, Ma, like his favorite movie character Forrest Gump, just kept on running.

"Today is cruel. Tomorrow is crueler. And the day after tomorrow is beautiful."

5. He was the only applicant out of 24 to be rejected by KFC

Out of the 24 applicants who tried to get into KFC together with him, 23 were accepted. The only one who was refused was Jack Ma. He believes that his fault was his unpresentable appearance and his low height.

But his wife, Zhang Ying (who married him long before he got rich), who is quite happy with his appearance, says:

"Ma Yun is not a handsome man, but I fell for him because he can do a lot of things handsome men cannot do."

6. He couldn't persuade the Silicon Valley to invest in Alibaba

Having already become the founder of Alibaba, Ma experienced several defeats. The company remained unprofitable for the first three years. At the very beginning, Alibaba expanded too quickly and almost burst when the "dot-com boom" was over. At one point, Alibaba was 18 months away from becoming bankrupt. Jack Ma modestly notes:

“I call Alibaba ‘1,001 mistakes.’”

7. He said to his 18 Alibaba partners that none of them would become executive managers

Ma made one of the worst financial and motivational decisions that any director can: he told his 18 partners (who invested in his company a total of $60,000) that none of them would get a position higher than a simple manager. Instead, he planned to hire professional managers. Now he admits that it was his biggest mistake:

“The lessons I learned from the dark days at Alibaba are that you've got to make your team have value, innovation, and vision.”

If you didn't manage to succeed straight away…

Jack Ma is the embodiment of the "from zero to hero" scenario, but one thing impresses even more than his wealth - and that is his supernatural perseverance. He is living proof that no series of failures (no matter how heavy they may seem) cannot prevent a person from achieving his dream. As Ma says:

“If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure.”

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