In a piece of shocking news, Jack Ma, the billionaire founder of Alibaba, announced on his 54th birthdays that he will step down as the company’s executive chairman.
“No company can rely solely on its founders,” Ma wrote in a Monday letter to shareholders, employees and customers. “Because of physical limits on one’s ability and energy, no one can shoulder the responsibilities of chairman and CEO forever.”
After building a $420B juggernaut and setting the record for biggest IPO ever, Ma says he has done what he wants at Alibaba and instead has other goals.
Ma wants to teach and do kung fu with Jet Li
“I also want to return to education,” Ma said in the letter, “which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do. The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things – because what if new dreams can be realized?!”
Current CEO Daniel Zhang will take full reigns in 12 months, the company said. Ma says he plans on staying on the board of directors till 2020, but says he has spent the past 10 years planning for his exit.
“Teachers always want their students to exceed them, so the responsible thing … for me and the company to do is to let younger, more talented people take over in leadership roles,” he said.
According to reports, Ma also plans on starring in a kung fu movie with Jet Li.
Alibaba’s crazy rise
Ma’s story is one of the greatest success stories of all time. Ma, a former English teacher, started Alibaba nearly two decades ago in his apartment. (Hashtag WealthHACKING!)
With a net worth of around $40B, Ma is one of the richest people in China—and in the world, period.
Before hitting that mark, Ma struggled to find jobs and was rejected from KFC before finding work as an English teacher for $12 a month from a local university.
“I failed so many times,” Ma said at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland in January. “Twenty-four of us interviewed for a KFC job, 23 got accepted, I was the only guy rejected.”
He later set up shop with 17 of his friends, which led to first the biggest IPO in the US, but later the biggest in the world.
What’s next for Alibaba?
The announcement could come at a troubling time for the e-commerce giant.
Chinese tech stocks are getting hammered at the moment, with three stocks alone (including Alibaba) losing hundreds of billions in market value in the past few months alone.
Leading Chinese tech companies are down about 12% overall. Despite the slump, Alibaba’s still trading at $156.36, close to double its $68/share IPO price.
In other words, it’s still worth $405.31B.
Here’s Jack Ma’s full letter below:
Dear Alibaba customers, Aliren, and shareholders,
Today, as we mark the 19th anniversary of Alibaba, I am excited to share some news with you: with the approval of our board of directors, one year from today on September 10, 2019 which also falls on Alibaba’s 20th anniversary, Group CEO Daniel Zhang will succeed me as chairman of the board of Alibaba Group. While remaining as executive chairman in the next 12 months, I will work closely with Daniel to ensure a smooth and successful transition. Thereafter, I will stay on the Alibaba board of directors until our annual shareholders meeting in 2020.
I have put a lot of thought and preparation into this succession plan for ten years. I am delighted to announce the plan today thanks to the support of the Alibaba Partnership and our board of directors. I also want to offer special thanks to all Alibaba colleagues and your families, because your trust, support and our joint enterprise over the past 19 years have prepared us for this day with confidence and strength.
This transition demonstrates that Alibaba has stepped up to the next level of corporate governance from a company that relies on individuals, to one built on systems of organizational excellence and a culture of talent development.
When Alibaba was founded in 1999, our goal was to build a company that could make China and the world proud and one that could cross three centuries to last 102 years. However, we all knew that no one could stay with the company for 102 years. A sustainable Alibaba would have to be built on sound governance, culture-centric philosophy, and consistency in developing talent. No company can rely solely on its founders. Of all people, I should know that. Because of physical limits on one’s ability and energy, no one can shoulder the responsibilities of chairman and CEO forever.
We asked ourselves this question 10 years ago – how could Alibaba achieve sustainable growth after Jack Ma leaves the company? We believed the only way to solve the problem of corporate leadership succession was to develop a system of governance based on a unique culture and mechanisms for developing consistent talent and successors. For the last 10 years, we kept working on these ingredients.
Having been trained as a teacher, I feel extremely proud of what I have achieved. Teachers always want their students to exceed them, so the responsible thing to do for me and the company to do is to let younger, more talented people take over in leadership roles so that they inherit our mission “to make it easy to do business anywhere.” Carrying out this mission in order to help small businesses, young people and women around the world is my passion. This is not only our intent from day one but I feel blessed to have this opportunity. To realize the dream behind this mission requires participation by a lot more people than just Jack Ma and persistent effort by generations of Aliren.
Alibaba is amazing not because of our business or scale or accomplishments. The best thing about Alibaba is that we come together under a common mission and vision. Our partnership system, unique culture and talented team have laid a strong foundation for the legacy of our company. In fact, since I handed over the CEO’s responsibilities in 2013, the company has run smoothly for five years on the back of these institutional ingredients.
The partnership system we developed is a creative solution to good governance and sustainability, as it overcomes several challenges faced by companies of scale: continuous innovation, leadership succession, accountability and cultural continuity.Over the years, in iterating our management model, we have experimented with and improved on the right balance between systems and individuals. Simply relying on individuals or blindly following a system will not solve our problems. To achieve long-term sustainable growth, you need the right balance among system, people and culture. I have full confidence that our partnership system and efforts to safeguard our culture will in time win over the love and support from customers, employees and shareholders.
Since the founding of the company in 1999, we have been of the view that Alibaba’s future will need to depend on “droves of talent” to enable us to iterate on our management succession plans. After years of hard work, today’s Alibaba has a world-class talent pool in quality and quantity. The teacher in me feels extremely proud of our team, our leadership and our unique mission-driven culture, as well as the fact that we continue to develop exceptional business leaders and professional talent like Daniel Zhang.
Daniel has been with Alibaba Group for 11 years. Since he took over as CEO, he has demonstrated his superb talent, business acumen and determined leadership. Under his stewardship, Alibaba has seen consistent and sustainable growth for 13 consecutive quarters. His analytical mind is unparalleled, he holds dear our mission and vision, he embraces responsibility with passion, and he has the guts to innovate and test creative business models. Deservedly, China’s business news media has named him the No. 1 CEO in 2018. For these reasons, he and his team have won the trust and support of customers, employees and shareholders. Starting the process of passing the Alibaba torch to Daniel and his team is the right decision at the right time, because I know from working with them that they are ready, and I have complete confidence in our next generation of leaders.
As for myself, I still have lots of dreams to pursue. Those who know me know that I do not like to sit idle. I plan on continuing my role as the founding partner in the Alibaba Partnership and contribute to the work of the partnership. I also want to return to education, which excites me with so much blessing because this is what I love to do. The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things – because what if new dreams can be realized?!
The one thing I can promise everyone is this: Alibaba was never about Jack Ma, but Jack Ma will forever belong to Alibaba.
September 10, 2018
NYCE CEO: Apps Like Robinhood Have A Responsibility To Their Young Investors
Investor and popular Instagram influencer Philip Michael says new fintechs need to take greater responsibility for their younger traders.
“Promoting financial literacy is a must, but encouraging risky gambling is reckless,” Philip Michael, NYCE CEO, says.
In 2020, a 20-year-old Robinhood trader killed himself after engaging in risky options trading and seeing his balance $730,000 in the red, leading to a wrongful death lawsuit against the investment app.
“The main apps onboard as many new users as humanly possible, but there’s really no educational process,” Michael says, “and these first-time investors are left to figure things out on their own.”
NYCE—a fintech focused on creating wealth for minorities—wants to create 100,000 millionaires through real estate investments and wealth education.
Through its app, investors can own shares in apartment complexes for as little as $100.
Since launching, NYCE has set records for most new first-time BIPOC real estate owners, buying over 1500 apartments in the pandemic and splitting ownership with its investor crowd.
Once investors are in, NYCE automatically enrolls investors in an online wealth academy (TRIBE) that teaches basic wealth principles, responsible investing and how to spot irregular fads like altcoins and meme stocks.
“Becoming a millionaire is a function of time and habit, not luck and one-time scores,” Michael says. “The micro-investments are really just the gateway drug to that wealth mindset.”
The TRIBE app is LIVE!📱 Here’s how it all started…
Last November, our TRIBAL CHIEF posed a simple question.👇
We received dozens of messages and emails from you all expressing interest in joining the collective. 👇
So, we went to work.
Within ten days, we had the first MVP (minimum viable product). So, we returned to you and asked if any of you would be willing to check it out and give us feedback, aka beta test. 👇
That following weekend, we put TRIBE in the hands of a few beta testers. Each user scanned the site, clicked every link, and pinpointed any errors during the meeting.
Armed with the feedback we collected, our team made the necessary updates to the site.
That following Monday, December 21, 2020, we conducted a special edition of our FB Live 10 Questions. We used this episode to soft launch TRIBE just to our Facebook community. In addition, we used that time to conduct a live walkthrough and answered questions we received regarding TRIBE.
After that 10 Questions session, we officially launched TRIBE and opened enrollment. We were expecting a few submissions, but instead, we received hundreds of applications!!!
Each submission allowed us to learn more about you and helped us define ways we can serve you best.
We ask questions like
What interests you the most?
Have you started a business before?
Have you invested (stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.) before?
And most importantly, why do you want to join our community?
This stage of the journey is called audience development. We learned that 53% of you were entrepreneurs and that over 70% of you were super-focused on learning about investing both in the stock market and real estate.
Best of all, we discovered that 78% of you were willing to commit 5-10 years to learn how to become millionaires. Yay!🙌
Knowing your audience is so important, no matter what business or industry you’re in. With this data, we were able to craft virtual experiences that would help you reach your goals. For example, we outlined a calendar of events focused on real estate, stock investing, goal-setting, and entrepreneurship.
We spent the first few weeks getting to know our founding members through virtual meetings, coaching sessions, and events.
With that in mind, our tech team searched for a solution. In the meantime, we created a group chat through WhatsApp.
We used that chat room to share updates and connect with our members.
In February 2021, we began building the TRIBE social network platform. Our goal was to funnel all community events, updates, and networking under one umbrella.
Our team spent hours designing branded creatives like banners, thumbnails and creating content like how-to articles and videos to populate the network.
We shared the upcoming news about the platform with our founding members first and asked them to check out the site and share their feedback. For the first two weeks, the TRIBE social network was exclusively available to them. However, once they gave us their approval to move forward, we opened doors to the entire wealthgang.
The platform went from founding members to thousands 💪! Not to mention 175K+ (followers, TRIBE members, app downloads, etc.) across the entire NYCE ecosystem. It feels like it all happened overnight. 🔥🔥🔥
As more members joined TRIBE, we conducted more virtual experiences. In addition, we ensured that all events were recorded in case some members were unable to attend; we could share the replay.
However, as demand for replays grew, we knew we needed a better solution to deliver on-demand access.
TRIBE TV was born. To us, it’s Netflix for financial literacy. Through TRIBE TV, you can learn at your own pace.
As the community continued to grow, we added more membership perks like 1:1 and group coaching sessions from experts and 30-day challenges.
So, what’s next for TRIBE?
Today, I am happy to announce that the TRIBE app is now officially available in the App Store and Google Play. (Here are the direct links to dowload: iOS and Android! You can also use Text Me the App here to text yourself and others a quick link to download the app.)
That’s right, a community fueled by a simple social media post has grown to thousands of members, over 100 virtual events, dozens of success stories (hey, Donna!), and now there’s a standalone app!
You know what? We could not have done it without you, our TRIBE community. 🙏
What’s the lesson in all of this? Just start. No matter where you are in life, just start. Start that blog, launch that side hustle, apply for that mortgage loan, invest in that index fund, build that website. No matter what you desire to create, just do it.
You’ll never be ready. We weren’t prepared to build a community that serves thousands. We weren’t ready to produce over 100 virtual events in less than a year. We weren’t ready to build a streaming platform. And we certainly weren’t ready to build two mobile apps in less than 12 months, but we made it happen.
Why? Quite frankly, it’s pretty simple for us. These initiatives move us one step closer to creating 100,000 millionaires. That’s the gasoline that fuels us and keeps us moving. That’s more important to us than anything else.
Through hard work and hardcore commitment, we did it! And you can too!
Always start with why? Our why is always to move one step closer to creating 100,000 millionaires
Build an MVP
Test, test, test
Talk to your target audience so you can learn more about them and their needs
Build solutions to their headaches
Always add value
Work your ass off!
P.S.S. I recommend that you also delete/disable notifications from the Mighty Networks mobile app. Otherwise, you may receive duplicate notifications about TRIBE.
The Art And Science Of How To Keep Talented People Around
(Editor’s Note: The following article is a guest post by superstar entrepreneur and tech investor Jonathan Schultz.)
The number one reason talented people leave their jobs is because of the failure of their direct managers. Businesses are defined by the strength of their people. Even in the most successful company (think Google, Amazon, etc.), a bad manager can drive talented employees out the door. So what is the true art and science of keeping talented people around?
Successful managers apply targeted, dynamic coaching to each individual team member. There is not one management style that works for everyone or every situation. Managers need to adapt their approach to every situation and every team member. This is called situational leadership. This situational leadership model has been used across 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies and has received numerous accolades from training experts.
The model details how we learn new skills and the four stages of mastering new tasks. For every stage and task, managers need to adapt their approach to managing their report.
When your team member approaches a new and unfamiliar task with a determination to master it, they see opportunity. They are complete beginners in execution, but they possess high motivation and low skill. In this step, the manager needs to take a highly directive approach, where they demonstrate how the task should be done, setting concrete goals and closely reviewing the report’s progress as well. You are not being a micromanager by supporting the growth and training of your team. Sometimes your team needs to use your expertise as training wheels.
This stage is full of frustration. Why? Because it generally takes people more time to master a skill than they’d like. Discouragement will set it and their confidence will lower. While they have built up more skills, their confidence is at its lowest in this stage. In this stage, the manager needs to serve as a cheerleader and remind their team member of why they were chosen to do this task and remind them of how far they have already come.
In the third stage, people have gained enough skill to complete the task but still maintain a mentality of imposter syndrome in which they are more skilled than their confidence allows them to believe. They may even still be discouraged. In this stage, managers need to do less guiding and allow their team member to perform while self-directly more consistently. These acts of trust can boost the team member’s confidence and their dependence on the manager will fade while their confidence increases.
People reach stage four when their confidence is at the same level as their skill. They become veterans and will continue to boost their confidence and skill set. This is the stage in which the manager steps back and gives the employee the space to continue fostering growth. Check in every now and then and help as needed. Also be sure to recognize the team member for all of their accomplishments along the way.
Keeping talented people around is not hard. Managers just need to apply situational leadership and remember that every team member works and learns differently and need an environment in which they can thrive in. As the leader, you are building this environment, so make sure it is a healthy one.
Jonathan Schultz is an entrepreneur, real estate tech investor and influencer. He’s the co-founder of Onyx Equities, a leading private equity real estate firm, and has been voted one of the most powerful people in real estate. Follow Jon’s blog here.