Jack Ma, the founder and Chairman of the e-commerce giant Alibaba, says he hires people who are smarter than him. Ma, a history teacher who went on to form the single largest e-commerce retailer with a current market cap of around $400 billion, considers personality and leadership qualities as the prime factors before offering a job in his company. "When I hire people, I hire the people who are smarter than I am. People who four, five years later could be my boss. I like people who are positive and who never give up. Personality is also a vital factor," Ma said, during an interaction at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland.
He also offered some piece of advice for students and young people looking for jobs. "When you graduated and are looking for your first job, don't necessarily look for a big name, look for a great boss," Ma said, adding that one should always stay in their first company for at least three years.
In times of intense competition among tech companies in the world, Ma, believes companies need not be "evil" as it's not enough to achieve success. "Do good things for the future and young people-the technology has a lot of potential here," he said, adding one should never worry about competition in the business world.
Rejecting the notion that great things can only be achieved by those who have a good education, Ma said the founders of Alibaba didn't come from great universities but they were ready to learn.
Jack Ma co-founded Alibaba back in 1999, which has now become a globe-spanning commercial behemoth. Talking about his initial failures and fears, he said he had doubts but believed "someone, if not us, would win". "There are no experts of tomorrow, only of yesterday," he said.
Explaining the current education system and ways to make the young more creative, he said: "Machines have chips, but human beings have hearts... education should move in this direction." He said developing nations need four things to leapfrog - entrepreneurs, education, e-infrastructure, and e-governance.