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**One of six of The Wall Street Journal's "Best Business Books of 2015"** In September 2014, a Chinese company that most Americans had never heard of held the largest IPO in history – bigger than Google, Facebook and Twitter combined. Alibaba, now the world's largest e-commerce company, mostly escaped Western notice for over ten years, while building a customer base more th **One of six of The Wall Street Journal's "Best Business Books of 2015"** In September 2014, a Chinese company that most Americans had never heard of held the largest IPO in history – bigger than Google, Facebook and Twitter combined. Alibaba, now the world's largest e-commerce company, mostly escaped Western notice for over ten years, while building a customer base more than twice the size of Amazon's, and handling the bulk of e-commerce transactions in China. How did it happen? And what was it like to be along for such a revolutionary ride? In Alibaba's World, author Porter Erisman, one of Alibaba's first Western employees and its head of international marketing from 2000 to 2008, shows how Jack Ma, a Chinese schoolteacher who twice failed his college entrance exams, rose from obscurity to found Alibaba and lead it from struggling startup to the world's most dominant e-commerce player. He shares stories of weathering the dotcom crash, facing down eBay and Google, negotiating with the unpredictable Chinese government, and enduring the misguided advice of foreign experts, all to build the behemoth that's poised to sweep the ecommerce world today. And he analyzes Alibaba's role as a harbinger of the new global business landscape—with its focus on the East rather than the West, emerging markets over developed ones, and the nimble entrepreneur over the industry titan. As we face this near future, the story of Alibaba—and its inevitable descendants—is both essential and instructive.


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**One of six of The Wall Street Journal's "Best Business Books of 2015"** In September 2014, a Chinese company that most Americans had never heard of held the largest IPO in history – bigger than Google, Facebook and Twitter combined. Alibaba, now the world's largest e-commerce company, mostly escaped Western notice for over ten years, while building a customer base more th **One of six of The Wall Street Journal's "Best Business Books of 2015"** In September 2014, a Chinese company that most Americans had never heard of held the largest IPO in history – bigger than Google, Facebook and Twitter combined. Alibaba, now the world's largest e-commerce company, mostly escaped Western notice for over ten years, while building a customer base more than twice the size of Amazon's, and handling the bulk of e-commerce transactions in China. How did it happen? And what was it like to be along for such a revolutionary ride? In Alibaba's World, author Porter Erisman, one of Alibaba's first Western employees and its head of international marketing from 2000 to 2008, shows how Jack Ma, a Chinese schoolteacher who twice failed his college entrance exams, rose from obscurity to found Alibaba and lead it from struggling startup to the world's most dominant e-commerce player. He shares stories of weathering the dotcom crash, facing down eBay and Google, negotiating with the unpredictable Chinese government, and enduring the misguided advice of foreign experts, all to build the behemoth that's poised to sweep the ecommerce world today. And he analyzes Alibaba's role as a harbinger of the new global business landscape—with its focus on the East rather than the West, emerging markets over developed ones, and the nimble entrepreneur over the industry titan. As we face this near future, the story of Alibaba—and its inevitable descendants—is both essential and instructive.

30 review for Alibaba's World: How a Remarkable Chinese Company is Changing the Face of Global Business

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Mckay

    "I see a lot of US companies sending professional managers to China. They are making their boss in the US happy, but not the Chinese customer." Every tech giant needs a book, and this is the first book that seems to offer a reasonable picture of Alibaba. Unlike most tech-business-history books (Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal, The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That is Connecting the World, Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! and "I see a lot of US companies sending professional managers to China. They are making their boss in the US happy, but not the Chinese customer." Every tech giant needs a book, and this is the first book that seems to offer a reasonable picture of Alibaba. Unlike most tech-business-history books (Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship, and Betrayal, The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That is Connecting the World, Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! and The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon), this book is written by somebody who was an employee at Alibaba rather than a journalist, which makes the book a much more enjoyable read. This gives Erisman the ability to reach beyond the narratives of disgruntled employees and mostly avoid the rumors and gossip that make it into most official accounts. Erisman also sidesteps an uncomfortable phenomenon whereby western authors whitewash their interactions with Chinese counterparts in order to maintain good relations after publishing (Such as On China). Most interesting is background on the battle between Alibaba and Ebay, how Alibaba won the publicity war only to be beaten at its own game by Qihoo 360 in the domestic market. Also, having just finished Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!, this was a great counterpoint to the Yahoo perspective, showing Alibaba's worries about operating in the Chinese as a joint venture (who bought whom?), and ultimately failed attempts to rescue Yahoo! China.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Girish Mathrubootham

    Good read. Lacked key insights and lessons learnt. Would have been great with insights from Jack himself.Still a decent book to understand doing business in China.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Suraj Thakkar

    I wish this book had more examples of how the engineering and sales team worked to take Alibaba where it is today. The author of the book was one of the senior managers at Alibaba working closely with Jack Ma and handling the PR work at Alibaba. He has described the Alibaba journey from a very high level mostly talking about the differences in chinese management style and the western management style . There are couple of chapters on the famous ebay vs Alibaba rivalry which i enjoyed. The initia I wish this book had more examples of how the engineering and sales team worked to take Alibaba where it is today. The author of the book was one of the senior managers at Alibaba working closely with Jack Ma and handling the PR work at Alibaba. He has described the Alibaba journey from a very high level mostly talking about the differences in chinese management style and the western management style . There are couple of chapters on the famous ebay vs Alibaba rivalry which i enjoyed. The initial 5-6 chapters are more about the author instead of Alibaba. The last 2 chapters where the author gives information about the rest of the businesses and websites which alibaba is involved in and the learnings from his overall journey are really inspiring. PS: i finished this one as an audiobook and it was not bad :)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    This is a story about Alibaba, and its relationship with EBay, Yahoo and Google and the Chinese bureaucracy. Erisman provides an insider view and information about the world’s largest e-commerce site. From its start in Hong Kong to its present day dominance of the online China trade. Erisman went to work for Alibaba in its early days. Erisman was a Chinese speaking American public relation expert. Erisman tells the story of Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and how he built the company into the gi This is a story about Alibaba, and its relationship with EBay, Yahoo and Google and the Chinese bureaucracy. Erisman provides an insider view and information about the world’s largest e-commerce site. From its start in Hong Kong to its present day dominance of the online China trade. Erisman went to work for Alibaba in its early days. Erisman was a Chinese speaking American public relation expert. Erisman tells the story of Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and how he built the company into the giant it is today. The book is well written and is written in an engaging style making it easy to read. The book is well researched and will probably find its way onto the book shelf of the average college business student. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. George Newbern did a good job narrating the book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Abhinav

    Honest and immensely readable account of the Alibaba success story. 3.5 to 4 stars. Recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Zak

    This book is a quick read. It gives a good overview of the Alibaba universe and its beginnings, but everything seems a bit "on the surface"...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Deepthi

    An oversimplified telling of Alibaba's story

  8. 4 out of 5

    Igor

    I guess I just needed a 'light' reading compared to more dense books I am used to read. Part of the Alibaba's and Jack Ma's history

  9. 5 out of 5

    Saifuddin Salim

    Pretty good read, I would rate it more if there are more insight on how Alibaba came about. Despite that, Porter Erisman done a wonderful job, telling the story of his's Alibaba story, with a pretty balance of telling the bad and the good side of Alibaba. From what I can tell, I believe Porter does do gives a honest impression of such phenomenon and his relationship with Alibaba. Note: this book is centered more on Porter Erisman side of the story and not Jack Ma, I think is which better than he Pretty good read, I would rate it more if there are more insight on how Alibaba came about. Despite that, Porter Erisman done a wonderful job, telling the story of his's Alibaba story, with a pretty balance of telling the bad and the good side of Alibaba. From what I can tell, I believe Porter does do gives a honest impression of such phenomenon and his relationship with Alibaba. Note: this book is centered more on Porter Erisman side of the story and not Jack Ma, I think is which better than he write a story centered around Jack Ma which he is not and end with bland impression. With this Porter was able express his feeling and emotion throughout the story, give a human empathy side of things. It like reading a life journal or a diary, get to experience the drama of the up and down of Porter Erisman journey with Alibaba. Some of the chapter is short damn (not even one page), hinting: the freedom of the structure of story which really compartment the events and story into solid chapter and paragraphing. One chapter that was pretty neat was the 'Alibaba and the Forty Lesson' chapter. It the book a some kind summary chapter right at the end of the book that not just summarize the whole book in a chapter but give headings to each lesson that can be learnt in each chapters of the book with clear emphasis. As such, I pretty enjoy this book but it lack ending and insight which wasn't a a concern for me as long it entertain m. I'm good

  10. 4 out of 5

    Yeshwanth nag M

    "Today is tough. Tomorrow is tougher. The day after tomorrow is beautiful. But most people die tomorrow night and don’t get the chance to see the sun rise the day after tomorrow." This quote characterises a former English school teacher turned entrepreneur - Jack Ma's simple yet powerful philosophy - Optimism. Porter Erisman gives us an insider glimpse of how a startup called Alibaba grew in 15 years, from 0 to a $220 Billion company , changing, rather creating the Chinese ecommerce market. Pers "Today is tough. Tomorrow is tougher. The day after tomorrow is beautiful. But most people die tomorrow night and don’t get the chance to see the sun rise the day after tomorrow." This quote characterises a former English school teacher turned entrepreneur - Jack Ma's simple yet powerful philosophy - Optimism. Porter Erisman gives us an insider glimpse of how a startup called Alibaba grew in 15 years, from 0 to a $220 Billion company , changing, rather creating the Chinese ecommerce market. Personally, I felt that the China of 15 years ago seem to be the India of today. Powerful insights as well as Jack Ma'isms from Erismans perspective, makes this an inspiring & a compelling read to all entrepreneurs.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sambasivan

    Jack Ma has created a remarkable company in a short span of time. He is one of the most under rated global entrepreneurs today. An English teacher, who says that he cannot understand computers must have had a great native intelligence to have created such a formidable company that successfully shut down its competitor ebay in China, got into the big league after acquiring Yahoo of China and now one the way to becoming the most valuable company in the world. Beware Apple. The author, who had work Jack Ma has created a remarkable company in a short span of time. He is one of the most under rated global entrepreneurs today. An English teacher, who says that he cannot understand computers must have had a great native intelligence to have created such a formidable company that successfully shut down its competitor ebay in China, got into the big league after acquiring Yahoo of China and now one the way to becoming the most valuable company in the world. Beware Apple. The author, who had worked in Jack's team gives a good insider view of the culture of the company. The forty lessons that he learned during his tenure with the company and provided at the end of the book are quite instructive. An excellent book with practical learnings for one and all.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Raph

    I started reading this book with an intention that the practical steps Alibaba took to be successful will be shared. (They were not). The book is more if a memoir of the author at Alibaba. The book is still interesting and not boring. The author argues that the Cina government had no influence in Alibaba's growth. While thay may be true the Alibaba might have succeeded because the Chinese government was a barrier to other international Bussinesses like eBay. Ofcourse the author does not highligh I started reading this book with an intention that the practical steps Alibaba took to be successful will be shared. (They were not). The book is more if a memoir of the author at Alibaba. The book is still interesting and not boring. The author argues that the Cina government had no influence in Alibaba's growth. While thay may be true the Alibaba might have succeeded because the Chinese government was a barrier to other international Bussinesses like eBay. Ofcourse the author does not highlight that. His version of the story is that David(alibaba) defeated goliath (ebay). Ebay's own version would be nice. All in all a good, fast read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ankit Agrawal

    The story of Alibaba's (and its founder Jack Ma's) evolution from a company in an apartment to the behemoth it is today. Written by a former Vice President of the company in charge of its PR who went through the whole cycle. Key management takeaways include the importance of cultural context in deciding business strategy, the importance of long term and visionary thinking, an insight into the tactical maneuvers- clean and dirty- that are a part and parcel of corporate battles and the tightrope w The story of Alibaba's (and its founder Jack Ma's) evolution from a company in an apartment to the behemoth it is today. Written by a former Vice President of the company in charge of its PR who went through the whole cycle. Key management takeaways include the importance of cultural context in deciding business strategy, the importance of long term and visionary thinking, an insight into the tactical maneuvers- clean and dirty- that are a part and parcel of corporate battles and the tightrope walk it takes to navigate a tricky political and bureaucratic landscape in emerging markets.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Garima Mamgain

    It's ironic that I read a book on Jack Ma when Jack Ma would famously never read a book on any company to ensure he never lets their strategies seep in !! That apart I loved the book. It's a fast read and full of insights on a company which I personally knew very little about. However, this isn't a neutral view - criticism of Jack Ma is almost missing in the book. A must read for anyone intrigued by the Global Chinese firm.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Arnab Padhi

    I picked the book for a little motivation and to know how Alibaba came into existence but Alas the book doesn't talk about that. It talks about how the author managed his stay in the company and at certain instances illustrates the ideologies of Jack Ma. The only notable feature of the book is "the forty points" or suggestions which the author donates to the reader. If you are looking Alibaba and its history right from its inception then this book won't give such insights.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Swapnil Tembe

    A perfect book for entrepreneurs who are in China or otherwise. But the book soon after the start diverts from the main idea and becomes a sort of brand promotion exercise. But you just can't ignore the brilliance of the man behind Alibaba. His ideas are powerful and simple. The author not being an author could not produce a literal genius but overall surely it is a good read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sony Mathew

    All about Alibaba's history and Jack Ma's vision, ambition and confidence. All the up's and down's of the company have also been portrayed as it is. Porter has presented all the facts and figures in a very nice and not at all boring way. Indeed the story of Alibaba is amazing as it rose from humble beginnings to the most valued company in the world.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jingwei Shi

    One of the best books about Alibaba. It portrays Alibaba from an insider point of view. Many of the strengths and weaknesses of Alibaba were well explained. A definite must read for anyone who wants to learn more about Alibaba.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    A bit simplistic, but still great at providing insights to Jack Ma - who is unapproachable to many non-Chinese. A fast read, but don't expect anything particularly deep or insightful.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amrith

    Excellent account (more an overview than an in-depth book) of the Alibaba story. Makes for an interesting read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bobby Punnen

    Once you read this, you will feel every entrepreneur is followings Jack's school of thoughts. A must read

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shagufta

    I loved it! My youtube review of the book can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjoA3... I loved it! My youtube review of the book can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjoA3...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Scott Holstad

    This was a pretty good book, especially considering it's five years old, because a heck of a lot has happened since then, both in global business and in Alibaba's tremendous growth to the point of literal world dominance. And if you're unfamiliar with Alibaba -- and I suspect most Westerners probably are -- you shouldn't be and pretty soon you won't be even if you wanted to because that company is poised to take over and virtually demolish Amazon, Google, Samsung, Apple -- just about everyone. T This was a pretty good book, especially considering it's five years old, because a heck of a lot has happened since then, both in global business and in Alibaba's tremendous growth to the point of literal world dominance. And if you're unfamiliar with Alibaba -- and I suspect most Westerners probably are -- you shouldn't be and pretty soon you won't be even if you wanted to because that company is poised to take over and virtually demolish Amazon, Google, Samsung, Apple -- just about everyone. They've been a Chinese online retailer for over 20 years, started in Jack Ma's apartment, he disappeared from view for years as the company grew (no, of course I don't think the CCP was "helping out"...!), and suddenly, he reappeared several years ago for the company's IPO on Wall Street, which turned out to be the BIGGEST DAMN ONE IN HISTORY, instantly making Jack Ma the richest man in China and in the top 10 in the world. If you are unaware of this, I recommend you look it up because it's pretty amazing. And like some of the other companies I mentioned, Alibaba has been busy diversifying, and to compete with the big boys, and now I believe they're in more countries in the world than any other company -- approaching 200 I think. And just one example -- cloud technology and cloud computing have been "the wave of the future" for more than the past 15 years and, naturally, some large corporations have come to dominate that industry. Most people know that AWS -- Amazon's cloud company -- is the largest in the world, followed distantly by I believe Google. Oracle, Intel, IBM, etc., are also up there. But guess which company just in the past 3-4 years has moved up to #3 on the list? Yep, Alibaba. And helped by AWS's horrible security problems of the past couple of years and the huge data breaches that they're experiencing and are being reported around the world on a routine basis, Alibaba is poised to take over the #1 slot any time. And that's just one example. I had never heard of the company until I wanted a great little phone made in East Asia but not available in North America. Guess where I bought it and had it shipped to me? Yep, through Alibaba. The Alibaba CTO America is actually one of my contacts with the company. But there's always this -- they're Chinese expanding into Western, and especially US, territory and because they're basically resellers of millions of electronic products like Samsung and Huawei phones, etc., it's no secret or surprise to assume pretty confidently that they not only have the Chinese government's backing, but like virtually all regional or global Chinese companies, there's virtually always an expectation on the part of the CCP that these companies WILL serve in some fashion to "spy" on others, to obtain IP, to report back to Beijing, and don't take my word for it -- research it for yourselves. It's basically impossible for any Chinese company to do business OUTSIDE of China without government approval typically contingent on their doing some work on behalf of the government. Why do you think the US has been trying everything to outlaw Huawei products in this country while trying to persuade our European allies to do the same. Which they're not doing. I'm betting Alibaba will reach that point in the next 2-3 years and then it will be darn interesting to see what happens then. In the meantime, this is a great starter resource for those unfamiliar with the company, because not only is it an interesting story, but it's something we owe to ourselves to educate ourselves on. Recommended.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Arti

    I found the book to be enlightening - but then I have had limited personal exposure to China's business environment (and Alibaba) and it made for an interesting read… The book has been written by an insider (Porter) - an employee working in marketing and public relations - he captures the journey of Alibaba thru inside stories and presents a view into its culture and way of working… he even presents an insight into the vision and the beliefs that have led to their growth… but the story fails to b I found the book to be enlightening - but then I have had limited personal exposure to China's business environment (and Alibaba) and it made for an interesting read… The book has been written by an insider (Porter) - an employee working in marketing and public relations - he captures the journey of Alibaba thru inside stories and presents a view into its culture and way of working… he even presents an insight into the vision and the beliefs that have led to their growth… but the story fails to bring out the real experience that the founder probably had on this journey (but then to be fair no other person can do justice in capturing the struggles, the challenges and the unwavering belief that a founder has or the sacrifices that he makes to test unknown waters at every stage). I found it inspiring that a school teacher had not just the belief but the determination and courage to put his vision of e-commerce into action - I would love one day to read an autobiography that Jack Ma writes - as that will have so many experiences and learnings that could benefit all of us… its a story that reminds us that each one of us can create great things - if only we dream - and dream big - and follow that dream… and that the only way to build something great is to endure a lot of struggles (he quotes - Today is touch, tomorrow is tougher but the day after tomorrow is beautiful - if you can survive till then!) The biggest lesson that one draws from the story is the opportunity that exists to create new markets… it shows that what worked in the developed world may or may not work in emerging markets and that blindly following the leaders from the west will only limit the potential… Alibaba's success is primarily due to its focus on China's requirements and then extrapolating that to other emerging markets… It is unfortunate that we in India look to Amazon, whereas our challenges, requirements and opportunities are much closer to Alibaba. We can also learn from Jack Ma's long term approach and get out of the quarter-to-quarter planning modes… his claim of building a company that lasts 102 years (3 generations) shows amazing foresight and probably helps to change everyone's mindset to achieve long term vision. Combined with a focus on customer (and not investors) it has helped Alibaba to build products and services that customers want and not simply follow the investment hype - a simple reminder to all of us. Porter ends the book with a summary of 40 lessons that he learnt from his experiences at Alibaba - and i would say that there is nothing that stands out as being unique to Alibaba… most of these are simple ideas that we know (or should know) from our own life experiences… I picked a few that touched me more than the others - esp. as some of these are easier to overlook in our day-to-day struggles - never underestimate yourself, never copy competitors (you will just die), its more important to be best than first, prepare for a storm before it comes (prepare in the good times), don't dwell on mistakes, don't judge by snapshots (you will always find problems) but overall trends and most importantly don't be dragged down by deep analysis or plans - simply trust your gut instinct

  25. 5 out of 5

    Meeta Lee

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Alibaba – Changing the face of Global Business The e-commerce giant Alibaba’s interesting story is captured in Alibaba’s World by Porter Erisman, who was one of the first western employees at Alibaba. Erisman was instrumental in Alibaba’s international expansion and served as the vice-president at the company from 2000 to 2008. This international best seller has been selected by the Wall Street Journal as one of the “Best Business Books” of 2015. Porter has portrayed an insider’s picture of the wo Alibaba – Changing the face of Global Business The e-commerce giant Alibaba’s interesting story is captured in Alibaba’s World by Porter Erisman, who was one of the first western employees at Alibaba. Erisman was instrumental in Alibaba’s international expansion and served as the vice-president at the company from 2000 to 2008. This international best seller has been selected by the Wall Street Journal as one of the “Best Business Books” of 2015. Porter has portrayed an insider’s picture of the world’s largest e-commerce site, from its modest beginnings in Hong Kong and rural China to its present-day dominance of the online China trade. Alibaba wanted to become the Amazon of China, had a turbulent start because of the dotcom bubble burst but eventually turned out to be the second most valuable internet business after Google. Today, it is a symbol of the rise of the Chinese consumer. Another interesting aspect of this book is that it is filled with anecdotes and stories about the mysterious Ma who was an English teacher and had twice failed his university entrance exams, and the first time he saw the internet in Seattle he used it to search for “beer”. A small guy with a huge ambition, Ma’s desire to grow a China-based Internet company was engrained in a sense of service to his countrymen as well his own desire to become very wealthy. Erisman details the story of how Jack Ma and Jerry Yang, the Taiwan born founder of Yahoo became friends and ultimately joined forces to defeat EBay in China, no small undertaking, given the size and scope of EBay’s worldwide operations. There’s a witty moment where the sensitive, confrontational Google leaders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, meet Jack Ma, Porter Erisman, and a few other members of Alibaba’s leadership in a cluttered conference room in a hotel in a mainland China hotel. The Google guys failed to understand Alibaba’s business model. The only conclusion that Erisman and his team could draw was that eventually Google would try to swallow them up. In the concluding part of the book, “Alibaba and the 40 Lessons” Erisman talks of his learnings from his stint at Alibaba, and briefly explains the theory behind each of them. Each one of them is very interesting especially the one about “Don’t change rabbits” which talks about not losing focus and “The most important guanxi is with your customer” which focuses on relationships with customers. This book has been written in a very direct and simple style and is an easy read. Before joining Alibaba, Erisman worked with Ogilvy & Mather in Beijing. He is the writer/director of Crocodile in the Yangtze, an independent documentary memoir about the rise of Alibaba and Jack Ma and the eight years that he spent with the organisation. Currently he is into a lot of speaking engagements and also working on his next book on the e-commerce boom in the emerging markets.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Chris Raastad

    Easy Read, Great Story, Jack Ma is one of kind, Not so much usable knowledge Jack Ma was English Teacher who started off making $20 a month. He and his team of founders started the company in an apartment in Ghounzouh China. His greatest asset was his incompetency in technology, “any Alibaba feature must pass the Jack Ma test”. The man had a dream, to build company 102 years, to bring China to the internet, and to inspire a new generation of Chinese entrepreneurship. Despite all odds, an unlikely Easy Read, Great Story, Jack Ma is one of kind, Not so much usable knowledge Jack Ma was English Teacher who started off making $20 a month. He and his team of founders started the company in an apartment in Ghounzouh China. His greatest asset was his incompetency in technology, “any Alibaba feature must pass the Jack Ma test”. The man had a dream, to build company 102 years, to bring China to the internet, and to inspire a new generation of Chinese entrepreneurship. Despite all odds, an unlikely man with a quirky personality succeeded. It wasn’t smooth sailing, but by 2015 Alibaba group had the largest IPO in history. “An IPO is just filling up at the gas station for the long journey ahead.” He’s just getting started. Alibaba’s World is told from the eyes of Porter Erisman, the PR turned Vice President of Alibaba. He was the only one of “experienced managers” hired in Hong Kong to really understand the Chinese culture and stay with the company for 8 years. A recurring motif is the constant attempt of Western Companies to dump money into establishing in China while failing to understand the Chinese Market, which is completely different. Alibaba did more than build for its customers, it defined the market. Alibaba was so long in Western obscurity and this book shows how after years in the shadows it jumped into the spotlight. Success highlights include the battle and triumph over ebay, the awkward meeting with Googlers, the $1B partnership with Yahoo, the IPO of Alibaba.com, and the IPO of Alibaba group. The challenges include getting off the group, dealing with the China Government, premature venture to Silicon Valley, round of layoffs, and a series of criminal mismanagement incidents after the company got bigger and outside managers creeped in. Highlights of the Alibaba and the Forty Lessons * Dream Big - Really Big * Remember: the bigger the problem, the greater the opportunity * Today is tough, but the day after tomorrow is beautiful * It’s more important to be the best than to be the first * Buy an umbrella when it’s not raining * Find an opportunity in crisis * Put yourself in position for luck * Entrepreneurs don’t complain about problems, they solve them * Don’t disregard the “Tech Dummies" * Gather the entire team once a year (sounds really familiar...) * Spread the wealth (options) * Don’t judge a growing company by a snapshot — look at overall trends * Allow for sabbaticals * Be sure to hire the right people at the right time * Honor and respect the work of people that came before you * Move first, ask for forgiveness later * Love the government, but don’t marry it * The most important relationship is your customer

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eustacia Tan

    This was one of the books that I got at the Popular fair last year. I was interested in this because I don’t know much about the Chinese Internet despite black zemi being all about the internet. Alibaba’s World was written by Porter Erisman, who worked at Alibaba from 2000 to 2008, when it was growing from startup to the juggernaut that it is today. The book focuses mainly on the competition with eBay China and the acquisition of Yahoo! China. At the end, there’s a brief overview of the company a This was one of the books that I got at the Popular fair last year. I was interested in this because I don’t know much about the Chinese Internet despite black zemi being all about the internet. Alibaba’s World was written by Porter Erisman, who worked at Alibaba from 2000 to 2008, when it was growing from startup to the juggernaut that it is today. The book focuses mainly on the competition with eBay China and the acquisition of Yahoo! China. At the end, there’s a brief overview of the company and 40 lessons for the reader. The book is mainly about Alibaba’s history, which was focused mainly on China (they even pulled out their Silicon Valley Office pretty early on), so I think the tagline “how a remarkable Chinese company is changing the face of global business” isn’t very accurate. You won’t really learn the how, although you’ll definitely be able to trace the growth of the company. What I thought was interesting about my reaction to the book is that I didn’t get the “this company is AMAZING” response that I got when I read biographies of Google (incidentally, Jack Ma met the founders of Google. The meeting did not go well and if you believe this account, it’s Google’s fault). This is despite the fact that the book is highly complimentary towards Jack Ma. While I think that Alibaba’s achievements are amazing, I wasn’t convinced that they’re doing good. I think part of the reason is because the book doesn’t go much into business ethics (and their stance to counterfeit goods was... standard) and part of the reason is that they don’t seem interested in challenging China’s censorship laws, which I have a pre-existing bias against. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all in the “all speech should be allowed camp”, but I think that China is way too excessive. Perhaps this is from the Google meeting, where Jack Ma appeared to be uninterested in getting better search results, unlike the Google People’s (even if they were portrayed as unfriendly). But I digress. If you’re interested in learning more about Alibaba, I think this is a good read. It’s not a comprehensive look at the company, but it’s a good, easy to read introduction. And seeing Alibaba’s growing dominance, it may be a good idea to learn more about it. This review was first posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile

  28. 5 out of 5

    Arnab Mukherjee

    Source- One of my colleagues suggested me this book and as Jack Ma has started fascinating me due to success story of Alibaba, it was no brainer to choose this book. Review- The book has been written by Mr. Porter, one of the first foreign employees of Alibaba. Porter working in Branding & Media Relation function plucked most of the incidents from public events. So, the good thing is you will read about Jack's charismatic character & oratorial skills. The not so good thing is that you will get ve Source- One of my colleagues suggested me this book and as Jack Ma has started fascinating me due to success story of Alibaba, it was no brainer to choose this book. Review- The book has been written by Mr. Porter, one of the first foreign employees of Alibaba. Porter working in Branding & Media Relation function plucked most of the incidents from public events. So, the good thing is you will read about Jack's charismatic character & oratorial skills. The not so good thing is that you will get very less visibility what Jack was thinking and doing behind the doors. The book is a good documentary script and the writer has already created the same. The flow of the book is also good. The most concerning point in my opinion is the author took a sabbatical when Alibaba was not doing great and joined later when the path to IPO was visible. So, you will miss a lot of struggles of Alibaba and how Jack conquered those. The book doesn't disappoint to highlight how normal but superhuman Jack is. The stories shows Jack is a person of emotion, integrity but well versed with the strategies of running business.The part where the clash of Alibaba and eBay is described is the best part of the book. Also, the book gives you an idea how gigantic Alibaba is across diversified Field of operations. I become very interested about knowing more about Jack & would love to read more perspectives about him from different minds. The book has successfully planted the seed for that.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jitin Nair

    Well, it was my first book on China's entrepreneurs. It gave me insiders look on the greatest business story to come out of China; Alibaba and Jack Ma. I had two books on my mind before choosing this book. Alibaba: The house that Jack Ma built and this one. I chose this because of an insider's take on how a relatively unknown firm grow into the behemoth it is today. From the dramatic yet simple mannerisms of Jack Ma to the very out-of-the-blue flamboyant IPO of Alibaba, the story is engrossing. Well, it was my first book on China's entrepreneurs. It gave me insiders look on the greatest business story to come out of China; Alibaba and Jack Ma. I had two books on my mind before choosing this book. Alibaba: The house that Jack Ma built and this one. I chose this because of an insider's take on how a relatively unknown firm grow into the behemoth it is today. From the dramatic yet simple mannerisms of Jack Ma to the very out-of-the-blue flamboyant IPO of Alibaba, the story is engrossing. From the initial fights within itself to fighting internet giants like Ebay and Yahoo!, how Alibaba came to dominate China and rest of the world in B2B market place and along with it s various subsidiaries like Aliexpress, Alipay, Taobao and Tmall.com Alibaba has captured the imagination of the whole nation. It has also facilitated to connect the small and medium entrepreneurs connect with the global buyers is another aspect as to how it has played a vital cog in China's growth story. His vision and hard work has shown millions of Chinese how even they can achieve immense success in a David vs Goliath story. It has become inspiration to other growing e-comm companies in developing countries like Indonesia's Tokopedia.com and India's Flipkart.com, that even they can beat the silicon valley supergiants. It was an interesting read, and I am pretty sure my intrigue for China and Alibaba has grown even more

  30. 4 out of 5

    Standardchin

    Surprisingly insightful, and goes a long way in helping Westerners understand the context that enabled Alibaba story. Unlike a lot of other books written about this topic, Erisman has an unfussy style that doesn't strain to underscore the importance of the events (unlike the mythic tone of Duncan Clark's version), making it an extremely easy read. It's also clear that Erisman is very attuned to Chinese culture, making him the ideal person to break down some of the company's peculiarities. His wi Surprisingly insightful, and goes a long way in helping Westerners understand the context that enabled Alibaba story. Unlike a lot of other books written about this topic, Erisman has an unfussy style that doesn't strain to underscore the importance of the events (unlike the mythic tone of Duncan Clark's version), making it an extremely easy read. It's also clear that Erisman is very attuned to Chinese culture, making him the ideal person to break down some of the company's peculiarities. His willingness to cover Alibaba's missteps and internal struggles only help to illustrate how much the company has grown since its founding, and how its mission and values served as the company's true north star. Only criticism is that it is a relatively short book, and it speeds through some of the more crucial moments in the latter chapters. Wished there was a bit more depth and detail to some of the other key actors, like the 18 co-founders or Joe Tsai, who is a constant throughout the events, but remains an enigma in terms of personality.

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