In a recent article published by Chinese website Sina, Jack Ma was featured in a listicle alongside Mark Zuckerberg and chairman of Dalian Wanda Group Wang Jianlin and their apparent common preference for 'small targets'.
Seeing the massive success (and income) these individuals achieved, it's easier to believe that they dreamed big - isn't that what many tell us, anyway?
The legitimacy of the article might be debatable, since we do not have the videos which the quotes came from, but the article nonetheless shed interesting insights, and we've translated Jack Ma's section for you.
Jack Ma's Small Target: To Just Own A Small Business
Ma has emphasised countlessly at speeches that to succeed, one needs to set a small target, and then commit a big mistake.
During an interview, he once revealed that his biggest mistake was setting up Alibaba. He said that he merely set it out to be a small business, and never planned to part of the richest in society.
On the same page, Ma had said during a networking session with the new staff of Alibaba, "From the first day I started, I never imagined that I would be rich, which is why I diluted the company's shareholdings as such. However, I didn't even think that even after lowering my share to 8 per cent, it would still be this much."
Being part of the richest echelons in society is something that many young entrepreneurs try to chase, and there are many who have also asked Ma: "Now that the media are generally commenting that you're the richest in China, have you even thought that you'll be the richest in the world?"
Ma then pragmatically replied: "Many years ago, I was talking to my wife and employee Zhang Ying. I asked, do you wish that your husband eventually becomes the richest man around? She said, are you kidding me? I don't see how you can ever become the richest man. I then asked again, do you wish that I was a rich man, a very rich man, or someone who lives comfortably, but at the same time is an entrepreneur whom others respect? She said, of course, someone who is respected. This is why we set a small target for ourselves."
During a networking session with Alibaba's new staff, one of them asked Ma, "What has been the driving force that has been pushing you forward all this while, with each step you take?"
Ma said: "Because I'm working with genuine people, and we're all working on the same meaningful task - everyone shares a common goal, and goes all out to support it. Even if the day comes when someone needs to leave, there won't be any regrets because every single moment was spent striving hard."
Perhaps some might say that Ma can only say this because he has already 'made it', but I think we can all agree that gaining the respect of others should definitely be more important than reaping in tons of cash.