Three Reasons Why Alibaba Succeeded
"If you participate in making a change in the world, then you will make your life more meaningful." - Jack Ma
One reason businesses fail is not because they do not have money, in fact it is the opposite. Some businesses fail because they have too much money. There are lot of wealthy people who tell others, "Oh, I have a boatload of money and because of that I can do anything". If it were as easy as spending money to "solve" a problem, then it really wasn't a problem to begin with because there was a solution out there already. All you had to do was find someone who had the solution in the first place and pay him or her. True problems are those that money alone can not solve. That is where innovation comes about and value is in solving the true problems.
We didn't know about technology.
To this day Jack Ma does not know how to code. In fact, he hasn't ever written a single piece of code. Not knowing programming actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. A CEO of a technology company who doesn't know how to code is somewhat laughable. But because of this, he wasn't able to micromanage his engineers. This allowed them to freely experiment and develop websites. But, not understanding now to code does not mean that he did not respect technology. He found his value in being a product tester. If Jack Ma wasn't able to use the product, then they would have to revamp the platform/idea. However, his sites have evolved and become more complex, which has resulted in Jack realizing that young individuals are much better at product testing than he is. So he decided there would be new leadership in the CEO position.
I didn't do any planning.
The few attempts Jack made at writing a business plan were largely thwarted by Silicon Valley's venture capitalists. They would tell him parts of his plans were written wrong. At the end of the day, he believed any business plan you were trying to write about the internet in 1997 ended up being largely fabricated. It was impossible to predict the pathway and outcome of internet ventures. What is of more importance is implementing ideas.
Paying it forward and sharing the luck
Some people believe that you start out in life with a certain amount of luck. Maybe you are allocated five lucky situations, so when the sixth one comes around you lose that opportunity. Jack Ma advocates that when you have good luck, you have to share that luck with other people. Plant that seed of luck into other person's backyard. Eventually that seed will sprout and hopefully give you more luck.