CBS: How Jack Ma Went from Failed Student to International Business Tycoon

‘My parents didn’t want me to take examinations again ... they believed I would fail again’

LOGAN: “Unlike many successful Chinese entrepreneurs, Jack Ma never studied in the U.S. He also had no status, money or connections. The only other way to get ahead in China was education and he failed the college entrance exam twice.”
MA: “My parents did not want me to take examinations again.”
LOGAN: “Because they didn’t want you to fail again?”
MA: “Yeah, they believed I would fail again.”
LOGAN: “How did that affect you?”
MA: “That’s a good question. Nobody ever asked me that before. That really affected me a lot. I failed for the first time, and then I asked for looking for jobs. I went to interview jobs for about ten or 15 times and all reject by people.”
LOGAN: “Why did everyone reject you?”
MA: “I was not the standard, that normal people like --”
LOGAN: “Because you were small?”
MA: “Normal. I was small.”
Logan: “And skinny?”
Ma: “Skinny, not handsome and, terrible, the way I talk. And they probably just don’t like it.”
LOGAN: “Ma made it into college on his third try and became an English teacher. With no computing or engineering background, he’s an unlikely tech titan, but he says he was captivated by the Internet from the moment he first saw it in 1995 when he came to the U.S. as a translator.”
MA: “I never touch keyboard before. I was never using computer before. And I say, ‘What is Internet?’ He say, ‘Jack, you know, search whatever you want on the Internet.’ I say, ‘How can I search? What does search mean?’ He said, ‘Just type.’ I say, ‘I don’t want to type. Computers so expensive in China, I don’t want to destroy it.’ He said, ‘It’s not a bomb. Just type.’ So, I typed the first. Word called ‘beer.’ At that time, very slow, come on the American beer, Japan beer and the German beer, but not China beer. So, I was curious. And I type, ‘China.’ No China. No data. Came back to Hangzhou with $1 in my pocket, scared, worried. And I came back and I said, ‘I want to do something called Internet.’”
 

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