Once an Epic Failure in Life, But Currently a Global Business Icon

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You have probably heard about this name “Jack MA” or if not you have visited one of his business namely “alibaba.com” via the internet. Ma is currently the richest Man in China and ranked 2nd in the world 50 greatest business leaders in the world. But did you know that Jack Ma has had a rough and challenging life before his current wave of success and riches.

Some of the greatest Failure episodes by Jack Ma

  1. Ma Struggled with his English and later would sacrifice his service for free to tourists with the aim of learning English as he conversed with tourists. He would later be nick named Jack by one of his Penpal after he found it hard to pronounce his Chinese name. Ma would later join college training as a teacher but struggled to complete his exams. Chinese entrance exams are usually held once per year, however it took Ma 4 yrs to pass.
  2.  Being rejected by Harvard University 10 times. Just imagine trying to get into one institution for 10 failed attempts, only for the Havard to come looking for him for a public speaking lecture forum.
  3. Ma was rejected by KFC after it launched in his hometown. Being amongst the 24 applicants who attended the interview, he was the only one who did not secure a position. This came after making 30 job applications without success, including the police force who said he was not fit enough for the task.
  4. Being rejected during a police force recruitment. One of his friend got the job and he was left out.

Ma’s Break Through

Jack would later travel to the US in early 1995 where he was introduced to the internet. He would later stare a company dedicated to making websites for companies and in3 yrs he time had clocked 800,000 US $. Surprisingly Ma, would later on reveal that he has not ever written any code of websites he made nor made a single sale.

Ma would later on be involved in a partnership with his government Ministry of foreign affairs but quit after frustrations and bureaucracy with his government with his business model intentions.

Together with a couple of his friends Ma started Alibaba.com after winning a $25 Million venture capital for investment in his business. Faced with a number of challenges such as lack of profits and difficulties in setting up structures after its start Ma did not give up but took time to reorganize, rebrand and market his E-commerce business.

Currently, his company Alibaba is the leading E-commerce in Asia. Estimates derive that in the next few years the Asian giant E-commerce site can overtake the E-bay or amazon to be the world leader in E-commerce. Jack uphold the belief that the internet is a resourceful game game changer in any business in the 21st century. It gives an opportunity for small business to sell and market their local products internationally. Among his mission as he travels to different countries is to talk to the government, state leaders, and young entrepreneurs telling them to move fast and adopt emerging technology trends that shape business environment in a different way. Failure to do so the will be in trouble.


  1. Do not let disappointments/rejection put you off from achieving your set goals. Rejection is a path to a destiny called success.
  2. Never ever give up. Jack faced several pitfalls in different business venture. He was not also a top performer in his school life but now he is a global icon. Ma defines giving up as the greatest failure.
  3. Capital is not everything in business success. An idea and a positive mind-set is the 1st ingredient to your entrepreneurial success.
  4. Don’t make Permanent enemies in business or life. Havard Rejected him 10 times, however Ma responded to their plead to have a speech at the famous university grounds later in life.
  5. Source the right people for your business. You don’t need to be the smartest, but if you hire the right people with the right mindset and skills, your business success is unlimited.

Ma is currently in Nairobi and will be holding a public lecture in Nairobi University grounds. If you wish to listen to Jack Ma’s real life story he will be streaming from his official Facebook page. You can also be Jack Ma of Kenya, Like, comment or Share if you agree.

Updated: Jack Ma’s Nairobi Speech

Video Credits: Youtube

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