Chinese Internet giant Jack Ma, founder and CEO of Alibaba, received Asia Society's Asia Game Changer of the Year award in a ceremony last night at the United Nations in New York City. The award was granted in recognition of his philanthropic contributions and innovative vision.
"I never thought that I would have a chance in my life to be at the United Nations," Ma said, who recounted his company's rise from humble beginnings (it once took him five months, he said, to borrow 500 dollars). "Small is beautiful, small is powerful," Ma told the audience, adding that he was there to represent "all the small guys."
Drawing on his early years as a teacher, Ma said that that as an educator, "You believe knowledge will change people's lives," and explained that for him, the title CEO is an acronym for "Chief Education Officer" of his company.
Ma's remarks included a call to independence and nonconformity. "When everyone says yes," he told the audience, "wait for one minute. When everyone says no, wait for one minute. Think about it carefully. If you look at the world in a different way, you might do in a different way."
In closing, Ma revealed what he called the "secret code" of Alibaba: "Keep your dream alive, because it might come true one day."
Watch the video above for Ma's complete remarks in last night's ceremony.