As a comic-book fan, I never thought I’d take away a business lesson from comics – but here you go!
This came from WildCATS 3.0 issue 1, written by Joe Casey:
The brand is everything. It is both the information we want to communicate to the world and the information we communicate despite ourselves.
(For a good analysis on the Casey’s under-appreciated run on WildCATS, read this: WildCATS 3.0: A Look Back at a Comic Too Far Ahead of Its Time)
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:
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.”
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.”
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.
If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are? – T.S. Eliot
H/T: Richard Branson’s blog.
I really love how Elon Musk’s first wife Justine responds to a question on Quora, “Will I become a billionaire if I am determined to be one and put in all the necessary work required?”
The advice she gives in response is awesome – which is why I’m bookmarking it by quoting it here in full (emphasis mine):
“Shift your focus away from what you want (a billion dollars) and get deeply, intensely curious about what the world wants and needs. Ask yourself what you have the potential to offer that is so unique and compelling and helpful that no computer could replace you, no one could outsource you, no one could steal your product and make it better and then club you into oblivion (not literally). Then develop that potential. Choose one thing and become a master of it. Choose a second thing and become a master of that. When you become a master of two worlds (say, engineering and business), you can bring them together in a way that will a) introduce hot ideas to each other, so they can have idea sex and make idea babies that no one has seen before and b) create a competitive advantage because you can move between worlds, speak both languages, connect the tribes, mash the elements to spark fresh creative insight until you wake up with the epiphany that changes your life.
The world doesn’t throw a billion dollars at a person because the person wants it or works so hard they feel they deserve it. (The world does not care what you want or deserve.) The world gives you money in exchange for something it perceives to be of equal or greater value: something that transforms an aspect of the culture, reworks a familiar story or introduces a new one, alters the way people think about the category and make use of it in daily life. There is no roadmap, no blueprint for this; a lot of people will give you a lot of advice, and most of it will be bad, and a lot of it will be good and sound but you’ll have to figure out how it doesn’t apply to you because you’re coming from an unexpected angle. And you’ll be doing it alone, until you develop the charisma and credibility to attract the talent you need to come with you.
Have courage. (You will need it.)
And good luck. (You’ll need that too.)”
Via Business Insider Singapore.