When Jack Ma gives you a piece of advice on which business to run, you better take it. As of June, this year, the Chinese magnate and investor is worth $35.6 billion, and it would be safe to say that he has learned a few tricks over the years. Didn’t he take over the world with Alibaba, the conglomerate he co-founded?
One individual lucky enough to have had Jack Ma share his wealth of knowledge on business with them was Arianna Huffington. The year was 2015, and the author and entrepreneur was a speaker at an Alibaba women’s conference hosted by Ma.
The Huffington Post
By then, Huffington had published fourteen books, in addition to having had a news website running for a decade and counting. You must know of The Huffington Post, right? If it hadn’t clicked yet, the author owned the eponymous site.
During her speech, Huffington drew lots of her content from her latest book Thrive, which is all about relieving stress and improving wellbeing. The speech intrigued the Alibaba co-founder, as Huffington would come to realize later.
It was while at dinner that evening that the author had an interesting conversation with Ma, with the magnate advising her to leave her news website and start another company, one based on everything she had to say from her speech and her book.
He opined that stress was already a crisis in many parts of the world, his line of thought being that people would appreciate an organization that helped them fight this menace. And to even make the idea more appealing to Huffington, he promised to invest in the company if she ever decided to heed to his advice.
Naturally, this conversation left Huffington dazzled. Can you imagine a heart-to-heart with Jack Ma that ends in the man pledging his support to you? You’d totally be swept off your feet!
For the author, it was this and then some. Much as she appreciated his offer, it hadn’t really clicked into place in her mind. As she would later reveal on CNBC, she thought that Ma was crazy.
However, upon deeper analysis, she came to the realization that he was absolutely right. As she put it, she noticed that whenever she put up articles on stress, work performance, the importance of sleep, and the like, they attracted more traffic than pieces on the happenings in politics.
The World Was Ready
It was then that it dawned on her that the world was ready for the conversation about stress, and put steps into place to do something about it. A year later, she stepped down as The Huffington Post’s chief editor, and went on to launch Thrive Global.
Just as Ma had suggested, the media company focuses on the overall wellbeing of employees, offering its services to various corporations. With how stressful it can be to work for these huge companies, you better believe that the people at Thrive Global are hardly ever out of work.
By the way, Jack Ma and Joseph Tsai (Alibaba co-founder) did invest in the company, although the amount the two put in was never disclosed. Thus far, Thrive Global has worked with the likes of JPMorgan, SAP, and Accenture.