Alibaba is probably the biggest success story of the recent times. Adding my interest in e-commerce sector in general, this book got on my must read list. I got my hands on the e-version of the book and finished it within a working week!
The book chronicles the rise of Alibaba, from an apartment building to a company that challenges corporate goliaths E-Bay and Amazon. The author was one of the early employees at the company and had an inside view of the company from its beginnings.
From his vantage point (he was handling PR for the company), the author writes about the successes and to a lesser degree the failures of the company.
There are many interesting anecdotes about the early days of the company like the whole fight with ebay, and the guerrilla tactics used against it; the challenges posed by Yahoo’s early investment in the company.
Reading the book makes one feel that history is repeating itself on in India, albeit 10 years later, and instantly one starts pegging who would be the Alibaba from India? Probably many, given the complexities in the geography and the economic disparities in this wonderful country.
At the end of the book, the author has included 40 lessons he took away from Jack Ma and Alibaba. Here’re a few of my favorites:
- Today is tough but the day after tomorrow is beautiful. But most companies die tomorrow evening and can’t see the sunshine on the day after tomorrow.
- Endure the struggle
- It’s more important to be the best not the first
- Find opportunity in crisis
- Learn from competitors but never copy them
This is like a semi-autobiographical narrative of the author’s life in alibaba. While it serves as a quick entertaining read, I wish there was a depth into the mind of Jack Ma.
I felt the author was very lenient on the company and has highlighted all positive things alone. The book nowhere seems balanced perception of the company.
Also, one thing that has kept me intrigued for long is – why did Jack Ma chose the name Alibaba. Alas! I am still intrigued and unaware.
Overall, a good basic book for anyone interested in the story of the rise of alibaba.