3 Lessons From Jack Ma’s Original 1999 Sales Pitch For Alibaba

I was on Facebook when I came across a video billed as “Jack Ma’s Top 10 Rules For Success“. Jack Ma (马云), of course, is the founder of Alibaba.com. While the video had some good pointers, what really caught my attention was the last one spliced in: Ma’s original sales pitch in 1999.

Listen to the passion, conviction and hunger! Speaking to 17 friends in his apartment to introduce Alibaba, Ma was already laying out plans to take on the global internet players of the day back then:

  1. Swim for the bigger pond:

    “I’ve always said our competitors are not domestic websites, but overseas websites. Our competitors are not in China, but in America’s Silicon Valley.”

  2. Believe in yourself:

    “Chinese brains are just as good as [Americans]. All of our brains are just as good as theirs… If we are a good team and know what we want to do, one of us can defeat ten of them. We can beat government agencies and big famous companies because of our innovative spirit.”

  3. Commit to paying the price of hard work:

    “We need to learn the hard working spirit of Silicon Valley. If we go to work at 8am and go home at 5pm… Alibaba will never succeed… We will have to pay a painful price in the next 3 to 5 years. It is the only we way can succeed.”

All this was way before the worldwide fame; becoming the first mainland Chinese entrepreneur to appear on the cover of Forbes; becoming the richest man in China and 18th richest person in the world (with an estimated net worth of $24.1 billion); or the world’s biggest IPO.

This is how lunches get eaten.