I was had the privilege of being invited to one of the most exclusive lectures of the year — Alibaba Founder Jack Ma at the De La Salle University. The 50 year old tech and business magnate pretty much lit up the auditorium non-stop with wisdom-filled mic bomb after mic bomb. Here are the top 5 takeaways that I personally had that I wanted to share with the Unbox community.
On what it takes for the PH to Go Cashless
Jack Ma shared that they will continue to be on investment mode in the Philippines for the next 5 years. In this time period they will focus on the following key efforts:
- Build a Mobile Payments and Cashless System: massively roll-out QR code payment systems with businesses and incentivize users to use their smartphones as their wallets.
- Online Delivery Max of 72 Hours: they will continue to invest in Lazada so they can build a nationwide logsitics network so you can get anything you buy online within 72 hours.
- Lazada as the Premiere Online Marketplace: train and enable small businsses and aspiring entrepreneurs to go online and do e-commerce over brick and mortar stores.
- Cross Border Business: You can buy anything in Asia via Lazada and have it delivered to your doorstep within 72 hours. To do this they’re trying to get governments to significantly reduce cross border taxes.
I’m excited to see all of this become reality in the next few years. I was recently able to try QR payments myself and it was ridiculously easy and convenient versus bringing paper bills, coins, and even credit cards. I look forward to the day where all stores accept mobile payments via QR.
On the Slow Internet of the Philippines
One of the most viral quotes of Jack Ma during the event was how he tried PH Internet when he arrived in Manila and that it was “no good”. This line of his pretty much took over Twitter for a few hours. One incident that didn’t make the news though was that during the panel discussion, Go Negosyo Founder and Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion pointed out that both telco heads of Globe and Smart were present in the audience.
The good news though is that he said that Internet in China was much worse when they were starting out. He reiterated the need for the government to keep working with the private sector to improve services.
*Disclosure: I work for PLDT.
On Online Businesses Dominating
One great insight that he shared was how the technology revolution has shortened dramatically and that this will cause massive disruption in the market. It used to be that it took 30 years for massive technology revolutions to cause massive disruption and changes. Fast forward today and this period has contracted to just 3 years. This means that every 3 years something comes out that just turns the world in a new direction. This opens up a lot of opportunities in the market and the incumbent market leaders should always be on their toes and lead the innovation, not resist it.
Humanity is the Killer App
In his Q&A with students, Jack Ma shared that EQ and LQ is more important than IQ. To be able to work with others, build alliances, and infect others with your vision is far more critical than technical skills and academic know-how. As someone who has managed multiple teams in the past, I couldn’t agree more with him. Emotional Intelligence is what separates winners from everyone else.
“Technology doesn’t make the world change. It’s the dream behind those technologies.” – Jack Ma
Thank you De La Salle University for the invitation! It was truly one of the most inspiring lectures I have ever been to.