Jack Ma: If You're Poor At 35, You Deserve It

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Zach Ho via VulcanPost.com,

You are poor because you have no ambition.

Jack Ma: Before I founded Alibaba, I invited 24 friends to my house to discuss the business opportunity. After discussing for a full two hours, they were still confused — I have to say that I may not have put myself across in a clear manner manner then. The verdict: 23 out of the 24 people in the room told me to drop the idea, for a multitude of reasons, such as: ‘you do not know anything about the internet, and more prominently, you do not have the start-up capital for this’ etc etc.

There was only one friend (who was working in a bank then) who told me, “If you want to do it, just try it. If things don’t work out the way you expected it to, you can always revert back to what you were doing before.” I pondered upon this for one night, and by the next morning, I decided I would do it anyway, even if all of the 24 people opposed the idea.

Jack Ma founding members

When I first started Alibaba, I was immediately met with strong opposition from family and friends. Looking back, I realised that the biggest driving force for me then was not my confidence in the Internet and the potential it held, but more of this:  “No matter what one does, regardless of failure or success, the experience is a form of success in itself.” You have got to keep trying, and if it doesn’t work, you always can revert back to what you were doing before. 

As with this quote by T.E. Lawrence – “All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream in the dark recesses of the night awake in the day to find all was vanity. But the dreamers of day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, and make it possible.”

jack ma serious

Jack Ma: People lose out in life because of these 4 reasons:

  1. Being myopic to opportunity
  2. Looking down on opportunities
  3. Lacking understanding
  4. Failing to act quickly enough

You are poor, because you have no ambition.

Ambition is living a life of great ideals; a magnificent goal in life that must be realised.

In this world, there are things that are deemed unfathomable, but there is nothing in this world that cannot be done. The depth of one’s ambition determines the potential of one’ future.

By way of example:

The Story of Juliet Wu Shihong – one of China’s first-generation professional managers, who gained success by working her way up the ranks from a cleaner, a nurse, a marketing executive, through self-education and learning on the job.


Juliet Wu Shihong


She had been the general manager for the world’s most famous multinational IT groups’ Chinese branches (Microsoft 1985-1998; IBM 1998-1999). She is also China’s first successful international corporate executive to join the executive team of a domestic private firm. Wu was seen as a symbol of the new generation of business executives that China has produced in its economic reform and opening-up.


When Wu started off in a big company working from the lowest ranks, her daily job was to pour tea and sweep floors. Once, because she forgot her staff pass, the company’s guard stopped her at the door and denied her entry. She explained to the guard that she was indeed one of the company’s employees, and that she had merely left the building for a short while to purchase office supplies.


Despite her pleas, the guard still did not allow to enter. As she stood at the gate, she watched as those of similar age to her, but smartly dressed in business attire walking through without having to show their passes.


She asked the guard, “Why are these people allowed through without producing a pass?” The guard dismissed her coldly nonetheless.


That was the turning point for Wu – she felt great shame, her self-esteem trampled on.


She looked at herself, dressed in shabby clothes and pushing a dirty push cart. Looking back at those dressed in smart attire, her heart felt a deep ache from the sudden realization of the sorrow and grief from being discriminated. From that moment, she vowed never to allow herself to be shamed like this again, and to become world-famous.


Since then, she used every opportunity to enrich herself. Every day, she was the first to arrive at work, and the last one to leave. She made every second count, spending her time learning the ropes. Her efforts soon paid off; she was made a sales representative, and quickly progressed to being the regional general manager of this multinational company in China. Wu did not possess strong academic qualifications, and was revered as the ‘Queen of Part-timers’. Subsequently, she assumed the position of GM of IBM China. This is the Wu Shihong, the heroine in China’s business circle.


Juliet Wu Shihong

If not for the incident, Wu Shihong would not have had the ambition to become rich, and her life would have taken a very different path then.


  • You are poor because you do not have the desire to become successful.
  • You are poor because you lack foresight.
  • You are poor because you cannot overcome your cowardice.
  • You are poor because you lack the courage and determination.
  • With ambition you can overcome all inferiority and maximise your potential!
  • With ambition you can persevere, continuously learn new things and strive for perfection.
  • With ambition you can defy all odds, and create miracles when others daren’t.

No matter how poor your family is, do not doubt your own abilities and lose sight of your ambition.

  • When your family deems you worthless, no one will pity you.
  • When your parents do not have money to pay the medical bills, no one will pity you.
  • When you are beaten by your competitors, no one will pity you.
  • When your loved ones abandon you, no one will pity you.
  • When you have not accomplished anything by the time you are 35, no one will pity you.

Go big, or go home. Otherwise, you’re wasting your youth.

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IronShield's picture

Hey, I read that on a fortune cookie once!

cifo's picture

This guy did not hear about "survivalship bias"?

hedgeless_horseman's picture



A flaw in Jack's logic is evidenced by those rich people who have none of these traits.

  • You are rich despite the fact that you do not have the desire to become successful.
  • You are rich despite the fact that you lack foresight.
  • You are rich despite the fact that you cannot overcome your cowardice.
  • You are rich despite the fact that you lack the courage and determination.
  • You are rich because of your father.

Correlation does not equal causation, Jack.

cifo's picture

"If you are not happy by 35, you deserve it." - cifo


hedgeless_horseman's picture



“Whether it is Friday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, honey, yachting is always cute,” opines Johnson as he pours glasses of Dom for his fabulous friends.



“If we really weren’t being productive, if we were really just doing nothing but sitting around and spending lots of money with no motivation, the show could be damaging to young people,” says Johnson, whose parents gave him a $120,000 Mercedes-Benz G63 for his 22nd birthday in June.


“But that’s not the case. We have all this privilege, but, you know, we’re trying to move past that and pave our way and make our own history and become our own moguls and own businesspeople,” the aspiring talk-show host and fashion designer tells The Post.



Divided States of America's picture

When the SHTF, it dont matter if youre rich or poor...its about whom you can trust and those who trusts you.

Anusocracy's picture

Ma doesn't understand that you need skill sets relevant to the era you live in.

Not everyone can have them, otherwise we would all be clones.

cifo's picture

The great equalizer emerges when the SHTF.

I just watched The Road:



Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

Anyone who amasses a fortune before 35 usually believes they are superior and forget all the people who helped them and all the people they stepped on along the way.

MarsInScorpio's picture

Just ask Zuckerberg, who stole his way to success . . .


bbq on whitehouse lawn's picture

They all do. Lieing, cheating and stealing is the name of their game. For criminals laws are more profitable when broken. For what is a profit? but a loss to another, that loss be it large or small but its still thieft of potential and possabilities. Over time those losses create a world with less potential and less possability.

Its about what you want to be, as much as what you want to do.
As well as how much of your limited time you want to commit to the endever of coupons that others sell to you at no cost to themselves.

Integrity, has a cost but no price can be placed on it. When this young man grows older perhaps he will see value rather then price.

To be rich in money involves costs that are foolish, immoral, and distructive. To walk the road of money requires you to love it more then anything else. So the question should be: What do you love?

Max Hunter's picture

If a person is happy, truly happy, love and are loved, then they couldn't be living any better..

Bangalore Equity Trader's picture

Listen Hunter. That is so "BEAUTIFUL". I cry now, give me a minute alone.

Wolferl's picture

There´s a word for guys like Jack Ma: "Sociopath".

MeMadMax's picture



What if you don't want to be "rich"...


There are other forms of being "rich" than the money version....


The real question is: Do you want to be happy?

Wait What's picture

Jack Ma is a state-sactioned CEO puppet. he's happy because he's been allowed to be the face of chinese wealth.

"self-made" and "against the odds" is the propaganda the Chinese authorities want the world to believe to give their increasingly restless population some aspirational goals, to give them a role model reflective of 'the common man.' 'if he can do it, so can you' for all those tiny, malnourished chinese citizens desperate for something other than the misery of their daily grind.

Anyone who's ever been to Guangzhou or Shanghai knows you're not getting anywhere with a business unless you're paying bribes, courting political leadership, and toeing the line the party wants you to.

It's true in every 3rd world country, whether you're talking about Russian oligarchs, Chinese billionaires, or American 'social media' entrepreneurs. all 3rd world in the practice of their political economy, all predictable in terms of who they want to be the face of a class by way of allocation of resources.

does anyone here really think NSA data collection and social media haven't been in bed together from the start? or that BABA doesn't have the same type of relationship with the Chinese gov't?

The9thDoctor's picture

Jack Ma didn't build that.

He should have been a community organizer instead, lol!

r00t61's picture

"Behind every great fortune, there is a great crime."


Stackers's picture

I kind of have to agree with Jack. I think it just came across bad in the translation.

I have always said that success is 95% drive, ambition and work ethic, 4% luck, 1% knowledge. My old man was working in a gas station at 19 with a baby girl and retired a multi-millionaire at 58 with no college education. He also worked 12-15 hours a day, 6-7 days a week and took massive amounts of personal financial risk and a freakishly weird habit of spending less then he made year after yaer.

So Close's picture

This guy is a survivor!!!!  Took his company through the DOT com crash.  Beat EBAY in China where they spent 250M trying to kill his company, made it through the 2008 crash.  Knows his prioriteis and lives by them.  Customers, employees, stock holders.

old naughty's picture

make it fast; make it big...run like hell (freezes soon) !

The Doofus's picture

Holy shit.  I must be a complete loser.  I'm almost 50-year-old, and I don't have a pot to piss in.  I blame the Bilderbergers.  Somebody please shoot me.

Wait What's picture

more like 40% connections, 25% effort/drive/ambition, 25% intelligence. and 10% serendipity.

people really underestimate the value of knowing people with access to substantial resources when building any kind of profit making enterprise. maybe it all just gets lumped into 'drive/ambition/etc,' but it gives the impression to the kids just starting out that 'effort and dedication' don't involve living on a family member's couch (TASR) or giving celebrity BJs just to get an IPO(The Honest Co).

the business world is ruthless, and pithy statements like "95% drive, ambition and work ethic" don't adequately capture the nuances of the herculean efforts it sometimes takes to succeed. then again, making a lot of money is easiest when you are born with a lot already, so sometimes it doesn't take much.

Chris Rofot's picture

This. Greenie for saving me 5 minutes of typing on my cell.

Real Estate Geek's picture


If a person is happy, truly happy, love and are loved, then they couldn't be living any better.

. . . unless that person also had a jet.  And a yacht.  And maybe a stable of Czech mistresses.  (Mistri?)

Four chan's picture

just another state sponsored, wall street financed megalomaniac.

Wait What's picture

beat me to it, cuz i was being too long-winded.

CheapBastard's picture

I have had similar experiences as Jack. When I was a Little Bastard I gathered 9 friends and told them about my plans to be a Billionaire. They nixed my idea telling me things like, “you don’t know anything about Billionairing” and “you’ve never been a Billionaire before so how now…” and “you’re Father wants you to become an allergist, not a Billionaire,” and so on. They were very negative. One even scoffed at me saying I'll never be anything more then a Cheap Bastard just like my Dad, but maybe a little cheaper.


All negative they were, except the Bagel guy down the street who said, “Little Bastard, if you want to be a Billionaire then go ahead and just try it. If things don’t work out you can go back to be just a Cheap Bastard.”  And I did try … and try … and try.



Unfortunately, I fell a little short of the Billionaire mark but succeeded in becoming one damn good Cheap SOB … which is as close as I get to becoming like Jack Ma.

Lore's picture

Ma seems to be an interesting mix of sycophancy and psychopathy. He's only successful to the extent that The Party permits it.  Piss off the wrong people or groups, and he will be taken down.  Similarly, his disregard for others reflects his reptilian brain structure.  Watch your back, Jack.  Sharks eat their own.

That said, he is right about the socialization of mediocrity. It was one of the most distasteful attributes of the Occupy movement.  Exploitation by oligarchy would be more difficult if more people made an effort to cut through their mind-forged manacles (h/t William Blake). There's a reason why America boomed in the 1950s.  People were encouraged to believe that they could accomplish whatever they set out to do.  Nowadays, western culture is oppressed by government standardization and statist collectivism, ironically the same methods employed to varying degrees by eastern governments. Totalitarians are threatened by creative genius. It undermines their self-superiority. So the first to be targeted by dictators are creators and innovators, through no fault of their own. Taken to an extreme, the only outlet for creativity against control freaks is uprising.

deflator's picture

 When a country is on the upslope of growth there are tremendous opportunities for people to go from rags to riches but still not everyone.

I disagree with the notion that everyone can be a millionaire/billionaire if you do what I/they did meme.

There isn't enough resources on planet Earth for 7 billion people to live like Jack Ma, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, etc.

I agree with his general sentement that you can't be pessimistic about your prospects even if you are getting kicked in the balls every day. You still have to give it all that you have and if an opportunity presents itself, take it!

Lore's picture

That's defeatist / conformist programming, not you talking.  Can you really say in good conscience that you have taken meaningful steps to make your life extraordinary?  Your post suggests not.

The 'Sustainability' con was pushed out by oligarchical collectivists for the express purpose of suppressing individual potential, to keep everyone in their place.  Modern central banking is likewise designed to impose an external measure on self-worth.  The Battle For The Mind is OLD.

deflator's picture

 Taken at face value, Jack Ma's and other wealthy elites comments that poor people are poor and not wealthy like them while accurate, is every bit political rhetoric as anything coming from the "collectivists." 

 Whenever I hear a Jack Ma or Warren Buffet making suggestions how poor people can become successful, I simultaneously take their comments at face value while reading between the lines for the underlying politics.

Whenever Jack Ma and other wealthy elites lash out at the poor, I think it is because in the back of their mind they feel compelled to rationalize the great wealth that they have accumulated seemingly out of thin air. 

Lore's picture

I think we're on the same page. Wealth is empowering, a measure of self-esteem, even self-superiority. But there is an immaturity to Mr. Ma's self-actualization. Some of the wealthiest people I know apparently place greater value on personal qualities. 

lordylord's picture

Just heard a quote from this guy.  "If you want to help society, you HAVE to work with government".  Go back to china and take your cheap chinese goods with you.

Ying-Yang's picture

Ali Baba lived in great honour and splendour till he was visited by the terminator of delights and the separator of companions.

Why he named his company Alibaba?


The Big Ching-aso's picture

If you're dead at 35 it's because you lacked ambition to get the absolute best health care money can buy. It's good to be rich bitchez.

Ok ok so Joan Rivers may put a crinkle, I mean wrinkle in that.

fallout11's picture

Or Bill Gates, who also stole his way to success, as has been documented in both book and film.

Agent P's picture

Are you saying he didn't build that?

petolo's picture

No matter what endeavor, 50% will be above average, 50% will be below average. Cooperation trumps competition .

petolo's picture

No matter what endeavor, 50% will be above average, 50% will be below average. Cooperation trumps competition,......usually.

The Big Ching-aso's picture

Hey I would've been more impressed if he had opened the only still-standing chain of Chinese laundry mats in Ferguson.

Bangin7GramRocks's picture

He better buy a private army with that money because I would break his skinny back over my knee like a twig. What a sickly looking piece of shit.

Cheduba's picture

I hope to any greater powers out there that it doesn't come down to cannibalism.