Crocodile in the Yangtze – How Jack Ma Built Alibaba From Nothing

Real life stories about famous people like Steve Jobs are inspiring.  In China, Jack Ma’s real life story is too also inspiring.  Nobody knows what will the future hold for Jack Ma, but it’s already truly inspiring and amazing to see how Jack Ma has built his Alibaba company in his apartment to the size of Alibaba today which has tens of thousands of employees.  I got to know about Jack Ma’s amazing real life story thus far through Crocodile in the Yangtze documentary which was written and directed by Porter Erisman — a man who once worked for Jack Ma’s Alibaba company.  How Jack Ma from nothing built a company that went to war against Ebay, a truly super large company, in his own country, China, to bringing the competition to Ebay’s doorstep in America is definitely not something everyone can just wake up one day and say I can do that too.  So, check out how Jack Ma had done such an amazing feat through the video right after the break.  Enjoy!

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Can Somebody Form A Company Through Social Networking Only?

Social Network - Copertina

Social Network - Copertina (Photo credit: marcomassarotto)

I have a fresh idea or perhaps an idea for an out of this world startup company, but even I think this idea might be too crazy to conceive and explore in the real world.  Let me pose this idea in a form of a question OK?  Since today world is so connected through the Internet, people profess their love for everything digital, is it possible to form a true company/business through social networking only?  That is, people do not need to live in one city, meet up for face to face interview, fill out applications through offline medium, get pay through offline payment systems, form meeting/conference within the same office, have face to face communication, exchange ideas through offline tools and face to face meetings, and so on.  I think you get the gist!  The thing is, had any real company/business started their business from the ground up through social networking only?  The thing is, can this form of practice of starting up a business through social networking only be practical and effective?  This whole process of forming a business through social networking only might be a bad idea too since there might be zero to very little real human contact (as in physically meeting up) between the employees and employers.  Nonetheless, this idea is intriguing to me since I don’t think there is a company out there that was formed from the ground up through social networking only — and keep it that way.  Can you imagine what if Google was started out this way?  Of course, we know Google had started out just like any traditional business…  What do you think about this very idea?

Advertising On The Internet Might Not Be A Good Thing?

Internet technology has made it very easy for people to advertise their businesses, but I have to wonder is it a good idea to do so?  Of course, we all know the Internet is never going to sleep, because too many machines are willing to take the places of the ones that will go to sleep — tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, but the data keep on churning through the Internet pipes.  Since the Internet is always up and wide awake, it has always been the general understanding that it’s a good idea to advertise to the folks who are behind the machines that keep the Internet wide awake since its inception.  The idea is golden, but can the machines and the algorithms that are behind the things that make advertising on the Internet possible be smart enough to discern fake clicks and malware ads and phishing ads — so everyone can be safe and not sorry for using the Internet as the medium of advertising?

Here are the scary examples of why advertising on the Internet can be dangerous!  This one is specifically targeting the small business owners who advertise their businesses on the Internet.  Imagining someone hates a company or the owner of such company so bad, therefore he or she decides to use proxies of machines that have been programmed to generate fake clicks to bankrupt the company or the owner of such company — meanwhile he or she might also make some advertising commissions in the process as the Internet advertising company might not know those clicks are fake and so the payment of advertising commissions will be posted.  The second scenario is specifically targeting everyone who uses computer.  Imagining bad guys will submit innocent looking ads to the Internet advertising companies, but after a certain time the ads might point to either dangerous websites or the same websites but now are with dangerous contents; even worse such web destinations the ads point to might contain malware and computer viruses and phishing scams.

There might be more insidious scenarios that bad guys can exploit through the Internet advertising machines (i.e., advertising companies) that I might not have on the top of my mind, therefore such scenarios will not be mentioned here.  Nonetheless, the two examples I’d mentioned of (dangerous scenarios that are involved with the Internet advertising machines) are good enough to raise suspicion about the naiveties of advertising on the Internet.  The two examples also show that all parties might be suffering when bad guys are scheming.  This means the advertising agencies might see their reputations ruin if they can’t stop the bad guys from spreading malware and computer viruses and trojans and phishing scams through their ads.  This means the normal Internet users might get infect with computer viruses and trojans and malware and being scammed with phishing schemes.  This means the regular business owners might find their companies spend stupendous amount of money and yet not many real clicks are being generated, leading to much costly advertising budgets and losing focus of their core businesses.

I’m sure some best Internet advertising companies on the web might have ways to combat problems that I allured to in this article/post, but the effectiveness of weeding out all relative problems might be doubtful.  This is why I think offline advertising strategies might still be better than online advertising (i.e., advertising on the Internet) in some circumstances.  I guess it’s all depending on your advertising budget to start out with, and if you can afford fake clicks and other unaccounted Internet problems that are the baggages for advertising on the Internet, then I guess you might not lose the focus of generating attractions for your business.  Otherwise, I guess you might want to start with offline advertising first before venturing onto online advertising.  Of course, there are offline advertising machines (i.e., magazines, newspapers, local newspapers) that might be charging unreasonable fees, therefore you should not succumb right away to such leeches.  You can always spend good amount of time (i.e., if you have time to spare) to investigate and find the right offline advertising mediums/firms that can give you the right kind of advertising deals.

In the end, when come to advertising online and offline for small businesses, you might have to experiment or plan out carefully so you will be able to know the right advertising recipe for your small business.  Sometimes, Internet avid users but are the small business owners themselves might know how to use social networks to generate enough buzzes and attractions, therefore they move their businesses to great profits without spending much time and money on advertising.  In my opinion, word of mouth advertising sometimes can still be the best thing that has ever existed in regarding to how generating buzzes and profits for a business.  This is why some people think social networks might provide somewhat a similar medium to word of mouth advertising.  I think they might be right, but why the might be?

I think social networks tend to promote unreliable friending (i.e., friends who know each other only online but not in real life), and so my train of thoughts is that this sort of online only bonding might not generate enough force/will to convince people to see things in certain ways (i.e., how the Internet ads want the Internet users to feel).  Of course, I neglect to mention the positive effect of social networks, because I think it’s quite obvious.  Social networks allow many more real friends to expedite their daily contacts through online chat and text and discussion when they are not having time to meet up personally (i.e., face to face), and this might just generate the kind of force/will to move ideas, products, and businesses.

In conclusion, I guess it might be wise to end this article/post with just one line.  To advertise or not to advertise on the Internet, that’s the question!

(Yes, I know, twisting Shakespeare’s famous quote from Hamlet for the conclusion of the post above might not be a creative thing to do, but tis only quote I can think up to make my post even more flashy, so cheer!)