All eyes were on Jack Ma. The chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd stepped down on Teachers’ Day from leading the e-commerce giant he founded 20 years ago.
“I still have lots of dreams to go after,” Ma wrote in an open letter last year to announce his parting. “The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things.”
The 55-year-old businessman showed that he was ready for new things by arriving at his farewell party dressed up like a rock star.
In fact, his rags-to-riches story is a good example of doing something different. Visiting the United States in 1995, Ma saw the internet and had the idea of setting up his own trading website. In 1999, he founded Alibaba with a group of friends in a shared apartment, struggling for years to get it off the ground. With all the challenges, the company slowly brought e-commerce to China.
Although his success has inspired a number of Chinese tech businessmen, Ma pointed out that the key is having a dream. “It’s the dreams that keep us never afraid of setbacks,” Ma said in a video posted on Sept 9.
Now the experienced businessman is looking to focus on education. What can he offer?
“I’m not gonna teach English; I’m not gonna teach business. But I’m gonna teach young people how to face challenges,” he told Bloomberg News.
Skilled sailors were never made on calm waters. As Ma said, “Today is cruel. Tomorrow is crueler. But the day after tomorrow is beautiful.”