Who would have thought that a seemingly serendipitous event in 1997 would change a person’s life so drastically? Because of this one chance encounter the world has been changed forever.
In 1997 on the Great Wall of China, two men met. The picture shows Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and Jerry Yang the founder of Yahoo.
Jerry Yang founded Yahoo in 1995, which became hugely successful all around the world.
With Jerry’s success, it brought new opportunities to him. Jerry who is an immigrant from Taiwan had never visited China. With his success in tow, he had an opportunity to visit China in 1997. Jack Ma a junior staffer at the economic ministry was assigned to him as a translator.
While Jack was with Jerry, he asked everything about Yahoo and the Internet. Jerry supporting Jacks drive for information answered his questions. The two men built a quick rapport but never kept in touch.
Jack Ma took what he learned and founded Alibaba in 1999. Making his mark in the world a few years later Jerry heard about this new Alibaba. Researching it he found out that the founder’s name was Jack Ma. Remembering his tour guide with the same name, he thought, could it be the same guy? Sure enough, it was.
The two men, not having spoken in seven years, reconnected in 2005.
This resulted in Jerry investing $1 billion in Alibaba for 40% of its stake. This became one of the most lucrative business deals in history. Jack has grown Alibaba to a company with a market cap of $500 billion+, quite an achievement from his humble beginnings in a tiny apartment.
These two Internet entrepreneurs are now two of the most successful people on the planet.