November 22nd, 12 PM. Our long waiting finally came to a close. Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, entered the room where 38 entrepreneurs and nextgen efounders from all over South and Southeast Asia were waiting anxiously for him and wondering whether the moment would really come to meet the legend.
For me, it was a rare emotional moment, I reckon I still feel the stir throughout my body. I admire a few people for their determination and tenacity, for their self-confident and hunger to prove that you could be equal to your dream, and look up to during my moments of doubt and trying. Alibaba Founder is one of them.
In a black jacket and a trouser, he looked simple. However, it took little effort to see the resilience and grit in his face. We stood up and clapped our hands when he entered the room and then sat down. The next one hour was a journey into life-changing learning on entrepreneurship, struggles, how you can survive and build a great business, not any business though, business as consequential as Alibaba. It was the best education I received so far on building things from scratch, more so because I was learning from someone who built a company that employees 70,000 people with 768B USD yearly GMV in just 20 years. In less than one lifetime.
I’m writing about my experience at Alibaba’s eFounders Fellowship program 2018, a two-week long program for entrepreneurs and innovators from South and South East Asia that provides first-hand exposure to ecommerce and digital innovations, access to business leaders across Alibaba and China, as well as an opportunity to connect with like-minded, leading entrepreneurs in your region. The program, which took place at Alibaba Headquarters, China, was a life-changing experience for me.
Here are the top 5 lessons I have learned from my time at Alibaba and Jack Ma as an eFounder Fellow.