Perhaps one of the biggest names in the entrepreneurial landscape, the Alibaba founder’s road to success like most of us was not easy.
Having faced failures countless times, it became his biggest motivator to keep going and finally succeed.
“If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure,” says Jack Ma.
Like many before him, he has not had it easy and his life has been one disappointment after another.
Through humility and hard work, he did not give up, something that most of us don’t have today. We dream of being successful but are very quick to give up the moment we don’t succeed.
His net worth is now estimated to be $41.8 billion, making him the richest person in Asia and the 14th richest in the world. Impressive, right?
This journey however, started with disappointments that would have warranted him to throw in the towel but he did not.
Here are multiple failures that Jack Ma faced as he struggled to make it in life.
1. He was a “poor” student
Jack Ma was not the most brilliant kid in school. He faced failure time and time again but all that was just a passing wind to better things.
He failed his school exams twice, his middle school exam three times and even failed his university entrance exams three times before finally joining Hangzhou Normal University.
2. He was rejected for multiple job applications
Jack Ma, desire to succeed was evident after being rejected for thirty job applications.
To make matters even worse, only one rejected for a KFC job where only 24 people applied.
He was also rejected among five applicants who applied for a police job claiming that he was not “good enough.”
While many would have given up, he did not.
3. Havard rejected him 10 times!
Many people desired to get into Harvard and Jack Ma was one of them.
However, he would face another setback after writing to the university 10 times and being rejected each one of them.
4. He was criticized for starting a failing model
His first internet search was the word “beer” and was surprised to find that out of the many search results, no Chinese beers turned up and so “Alibaba” was born.
When he first started Alibaba with a group of friends, the venture made no profit and he was called a failure.
However, to everyone’s surprise the company would go public in 2014, making it the biggest US IPO in history.
Here was a man who knew nothing about computers, who was never good at math, getting interested in the internet since he first used it on a trip to the US.
Though he faced failure in his first two ventures, he did not give up and convinced 17 of his friends to invest in an online market place dubbed “Alibaba”.
Soon the small company started in an apartment, started to gain popularity and more people started investing in it.
They made their first $5 million from Goldman Sachs and another $20 million from SoftBank, a Japanese telecom company.
In 2005, in exchange for 40% stake, Yahoo invested $1 billion in the company which was huge for Alibaba then trying to compete with eBay China and a win for Yahoo too.
He has since stepped down as CEO in 2013, remaining in the company as an Executive Chairman.
“Today what we got is not money. What we got is the trust from the people,” in Jack Ma’s own words.
From a young man who has faced failures countless times, Alibaba is now a household name and all this because he never gave up.
He has been named one of the ‘100 Most Influential People’ and ‘China’s Most Powerful People’ by Business Week.
Coming To Kenya
Looking to inspire young people to achieve their potential, Jack Ma will be in Kenya on 19th July where he will be addressing, young Kenyan entrepreneurs at the University of Nairobi.
Dubbed, ‘Youth Connekt Africa Summit’ this is one of the events you can’t afford to miss.
Come and network with over 1,500 top executives from different multinational companies with operations in Africa in the three day seminar and get to meet the brains behind the fifth-largest internet company in the world – Alibaba.