During his 2017 talk in DLSU, the world-famous e-commerce mogul shared some business insights and life lessons.

By Youngho Lee

In his maiden trip to the Philippines in 2017, Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group and philanthropist, visited De La Salle University to deliver an inspirational message and to interact with students of DLSU. He was also given an honorary degree, making him many Lasallians’ new favorite schoolmate.

With a speech that ran for 2 hours, Ma shared heartfelt and down-to-Earth pieces of hard earned wisdom derived from his personal experiences. Having worn the hats of educator, business leader, and philanthropist, Jack Ma embodies many of the traits and experiences that Lasallians can aspire towards. Here are five quotable quotes that are easily the most thoughtful, relevant, and enduring ideas he shared.

  1. A good boss is better than a good company.

There is nothing better or more rewarding than to have a boss who has the back of his employees. Ma believes that young professionals should not only aim to work for organizations based on salaries or perks but most do prior research on their prospective bosses. Ideally, professionals must aim to work for leaders who take care of their subordinates and allow them to flourish and grow. For organizations, Ma shares that retaining staff will be difficult even with generous salaries and incentives if the head of the organization is a “bad boss.” A good boss is, without a doubt, an asset and one of the best sources of leadership, focus, and motivation.

2. Learn from others’ mistakes not because you will avoid making them, but so that you will know.

Mistakes and even outright setbacks are one of the best “teachers” in life. Ma furthers the idea that one should live life with open mindedness and awareness to fully realize the potential lessons that can be learned from every moment. He also believes in the concept of learning from the experiences of others to avoid repeating the same mistakes and to become better as individuals and as human beings.

3. When we teach our children better, they will not make the same mistakes.

It Is often remarked that history repeats itself. To Ma, however, if we want to prepare the next generation and to ensure that they do not make the same mistakes made by previous generations, it is imperative to invest in their education and that older generations must “teach better.” Our children must learn from past mistakes, know their history, and the events and decisions that have created the world we live in today. In doing so, succeeding generations will understand their past and envision a better future for themselves and their children.

4. The priority while in school and when in business is the same: to learn.

To Ma, the purpose of business, much like students, is to learn. Ma believes that every organization will inevitably encounter failure and that organizations should see learning as another form of profit.

5. It’s not the competitor that’s killing you. It’s the future that will kill you. Don’t fear technology.

Ma is a firm believer in embracing technology to capitalize on unique opportunities and situations that are generated through the disruption generated by newer, even more efficient technological means. Instead of seeing new technology as cumbersome, a nuisance or as an added expense, both firms and individuals must embrace new and innovative tools for conducting business or see their businesses fail over time.

A leading institution of higher education in the Philippines

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