The GOOD news is that he also adds, “Technology should always give people new opportunities, not remove them.” So, what lessons can we learn from Jack Ma so that robots can never take over our jobs? I mean, think about it, it’s not every day someone gets to star in his own movie and eliminate the competition with the likes of Donny Yen and Jet Li. And no, Gungfu Panda was not amongst the sterling cast of oriental pugilists.
After college, Ma applied for 30 jobs in his home city of Hangzhou, China. He was rejected from every one of them. At KFC, 24 people applied for the job, says Ma, and while 23 were hired — he wasn’t one of them. The same thing happened when he tried to be a cop. This time four of five applicants were hired, all except Ma. He even lost out on a job to his cousin. “We waited for two hours [in a] long queue to be the waiter for the four-star hotel in my city, on a very hot day,” he says. “My cousin’s score was much lower than mine, [but] he was accepted and I was rejected!”
Was Jack Ma rejected because he wasn’t “good enough”? What if KFC really did hire Jack Ma? I mean can you imagine him frying chicken in the back kitchen or taking your order at the counter? What would the world be like without Alibaba or Alipay which allows you to pay at KFC by smiling?
Rejection hurts but like Jack Ma says he learnt from the multiple failures. He learnt that all the “nos” were really leading him to a “yes”. The closed doors opened up an opportunity for him to introduce the world to China and Chinese businesses to the world through the internet.
All the unfairness in his life helped him to uncover his unfair advantage which he harnessed to become one of the most influential and powerful businessmen in the world. In his words, “To achieve big success, solve big problems.”
All simply because Jack Ma was destined to solve a bigger problem than frying chicken or issuing speeding tickets, jobs that are being taken over by robots.
Moral of the story? Robots can never take over your job if you discover the problem you were born the solve. In fact, consider this: is there a possibility that robots are here to liberate us from being a mechanical muscle or mechanical mind?
But to liberate us to do what?
The world is now facing bigger problems in the last ten years than it has ever faced in the last century, poverty, terrorism, climate change, violence and unemployment. Global change cannot come about because of a singular government or one man. You, my friend are a missing piece of the puzzle. You hold the key to a problem you were born to solve.
I believe that you were born for such a time as this. Never have we as a generation been so blessed with modern technology available to us at our fingertips. Now’s the time to uncover your unique Purpose and marketplace mission so that you will never be at the risk of losing your job because you will be too busy solving bigger problems, whether at your workplace or marketplace.
What problem are you born to solve that even robots can’t?
The wisdom we have that robots don’t and the innovation we can accomplish through robots is what will help us succeed in the 4IR.
That is our unfair advantage as a human race and why robots can never replace us.
You have an unfair advantage that can help you solve the bigger problem you were born to solve.
To achieve big success, solve big problems.
There will be a shortfall of 85 million high-skilled workers. However, according to the World Economic Forum, experts advise us to no longer define our jobs as roles or profession but rather as a bundle of skills. Complex problem-solving skills will be most in demand but what is it that only you can do that others can’t, including robots?
Instead of thinking about skills first, may I suggest we reverse engineer the equation. There are only 3 things we can learn from Jack Ma in order to stay relevant in a fast-changing AI landscape. It starts by asking the right, strategic questions:
1. What problem am I born to solve? (What problem do you solve and why are you the best person to do it?)
2. Who am I? What is my unfair advantage or USP that attracts my niche audience or tribe?
3. How do I become the solution? What will the process entail and how will success look like?
Join me in ‘Breaking the Code of You’ Marketplace Mission Series as I share more stories about how inspiring entrepreneurs harness technology to stand out in the marketplace as leaders.
In their stories that I will also share in my upcoming book, “Breaking the Code of You: Discover the Problem You Were Born to Solve”, you’d be able to understand the type of problems they are born to solve as I break their code and find out what makes them great at who they are. And I hope that will inspire you to embrace your own USP and the problem you were born to solve. And it’s increasingly clear that we have to harness AI as an ally and tap into its power for greater impact.
That’s what you are here for.