Ma said that when he first started Alibaba in 1999, he believed that the prices charged by such large companies were making it difficult for start-ups, like his own then-tiny Chinese e-commerce company, to gain access to technology.
But, he went on to say, he soon realized it was not Gates or any of the other major names that were at fault. Rather, he was blocking his own opportunities by using a common excuse that holds back many would-be entrepreneurs.
“Most people keep on complaining,” Ma noted. “But if you can solve the complaining, if you solve the problems, then that is the opportunity.”
For Ma, that meant coming up with a simpler, cheaper technology that could be used by Alibaba and the millions of small businesses he hoped to add to the platform.
“The cost of using this IT was too expensive for us, so we had to innovate,” said Ma. “We had to design a technology that was simple enough.”
“That’s it. We were forced,” he said.
Indeed, most innovations happen “not because people want to, but because they were forced,” Ma continued.
Since coming to that realization almost two decades ago, Ma has developed a close relationship with Gates, often citing the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as an inspiration for his own charitable endeavors.
However, a little healthy competition remains between the two tech tycoons.
Last month, when Ma announced his forthcoming departure as chairman of Alibaba, he insisted that he would do one thing better than his billionaire peer.
“I can never be as rich, but one thing I can do better is to retire earlier,” Ma said.
Nerds, nerds, nerds!
There is no doubt that certain people are simply smarter than other people. Lets face facts: Aren’t certain people better looking than other people? Aren’t certain people nicer than other people? Aren’t certain people more successful than other people? The truth is, we are not all the same. People like Bill Gates and Jack Ma are two very very intelligent people, much more so than me and you. Whether one likes another is really ridiculous. Because both of these guys would be hard to like and they’d be hard to understand to the everyday person. They’re just on a completely different level of smarts than the rest of us. These people were in training since elementary school. They did not go out at night and smoke pot and run the streets like me. These kids were inside studying, reading, and doing things that will make them smart. Today, they own billion dollar companies. And most of them will work until the day they die, including Bill Gates. There’s absolutely no stopping these people. Actually, I should say these geniuses. In the olden days where I came from, you’re successful if you owned your own home, had a business or were a professional of some sort. Today, absolutely a different story. Especially with the news, the internet. It’s no secret anymore who’s super rich and getting richer every day. The two guys in this article, Gates and Ma, are just two of thousands of billionaires in our world right now. None of them were lucky. All were smart. Very smart. Smarter than entire governments alone. And now more powerful because they have the money to buy governments, to buy politicians, and now you know how that game is played. The truth is, knowledge is power. And these guys have both. Who knows, you may see these guys walking down the street having a coffee or going to a puppet show together. Where you wont see these guys is front row at an Iron Maiden concert, that’s for sure. That’s where you’ll find people like me and you. It takes all different kinds to make the world go round. I’m still trying to figure out what kind I am. How about you?
About The Author
- Robert Louis Annenberg Is a 40 year seasoned property owner, manager, investor, builder/developer and business man who is also an author of five published books to date (Amazon.com) and the chief editor of LifeQuestJournal.com. He can be reached at: Info@RobertAnnenberg.com and (201) 289-2500.
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