China’s Enlightened Billionaire

Wow. I’d never heard Jack Ma speak before. Watch this Jack Ma interview with Charlie Rose Jack Maif you want to see an example of somebody who is thinking differently about the responsibilities of running a firm. I found it incredibly inspiring. One can only hope that there are other leaders like him, climbing the ranks of China’s economy.

Below are a few key quotes from the interview. These are accurate (unlike the transcripts in the above link). Read them out of context below and they might sound vaguely socialist. Listen to Ma say them, and nothing could be farther from the truth. This is one inspiring entrepreneur.

Our core competence: it’s culture.

Small is beautiful.

We believe the customer is one number, employee number two, three shareholder…This is my religion. It’s the customer pays us the money. It’s the employees that drive innovation. It’s the shareholder – and shareholders say, you know, I’m a member the IPO day before, and a lot of people say Jack, we’re long term shareholders. When a crisis comes – these guys run. They run away. My people stayed. My customers stayed.

But I want to tell people:  if you want to run business, you have to run the value first. To serve the others, to help the others, that’s the key….Think about how you will help people and create value — and then you will get the money.

If you want to be a great company, think about what social problem you can solve.

First, to me, I never thought the money I have belongs to me. It belongs to society. When you have a couple of million, you’re a rich guy. When you have 10 to 20 million, it’s capital. When you have over a hundred million, that’s the social resources. That’s the society give it to you:  you guys run it for us.

Image: World Economic Forum on Flickr