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Hire people smarter than you, LQ is important: Quotes by Jack Ma to help you navigate biz, life

As the tech boss turned 55, he stepped down from the e-commerce giant he founded.

ET Online|
Updated: Sep 10, 2019, 07.19 PM IST
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The former English teacher, who launched Alibaba in 1999, officially steps down from his company today.
Jack Ma needs no introduction. The billionaire tech tycoon, one of the world’s richest persons, built online retail behemoth Alibaba from scratch after being rejected from nearly 30 jobs.

The former English teacher, who launched Alibaba in 1999, officially stepped down from his company today - as he turned 55, a year after announcing his decision. Leaving behind a flourishing e-commerce business, the top boss plans to use his time and fortune towards education - his first love.

While Ma is worth over $38 billion today (according to Forbes), success didn’t come easy for the boss, whose rags-to-riches story is the tale of inspiration many an entrepreneur turns to.


But having not tasted success until his 30s, Ma feels, as he said at a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos: “If you want to be successful, learn from other people’s mistakes, don’t learn from the successful stories.”

Here’s are some quotable quotes by Ma for when the going gets tough.

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

In 2018, while speaking at the World Economic Forum, Ma said that in one’s 20s it is important to follow a good boss, join a good company to learn how to do things properly.


"I hire someone smarter than me and I think ‘In 4-5 years he can be my boss. I would like to work for him’.”

This is golden advice for bosses and companies when it comes to hiring, and building a team. Talking at a global forum, Ma said that when managers hire people who are smarter than them, the company grows.

“Don't hate your competitors, respect them and learn from them.”

Learning in business is an important part of growing in business. And whether it’s from one’s team or competitors, an important trait for entrepreneurs is to always be open to learning.


“If a person wants to be successful, you should have a high EQ, if you don’t want to lose quickly, you should have a high IQ, but if you want to be respected you should have a high LQ”

Life and business is not just about intelligence quotient. According to Ma, emotional quotient and love quotient are equally important; and it is the amalgamation of the three that ultimately leads to wholesome success.


Bill Gates, Ratan Tata, Jack Ma: Business Leaders Who Accepted Their Biggest Mistakes

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Faux Pas

18 Jul, 2019
Bill Gates recently said that his ‘greatest mistake ever’ — reportedly worth $400 billion — was to not create Android at Microsoft. A look at other regrets of businessmen.(In pic from left: Bill Gates, Ratan Tata, Jack Ma)
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Move over, IQ, EQ: Jack Ma says LQ is what you need to be respected

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