Jack Ma called the head of SoftBank Song the most courageous investor in the world
Former Alibaba CEO Jack Ma praised SoftBank owner Masaeshi Son for his courage in investing. Song considers his courage to be “even too much,” which makes him lose money
Former head of Alibaba and China’s richest businessman Jack Ma said that SoftBank founder Masaesi Son is the bravest investor in the world. He said this during a discussion with Song at a forum in Tokyo. “Too much courage: sometimes I lose money,” Song responded.
The Japanese billionaire did not elaborate on specific failures, which have recently included Uber and the co-working network WeWork. In November, Sohn admitted to making several mistakes with WeWork: overestimating the company’s value, not immediately seeing corporate governance problems and having too much faith in the startup’s co-founder, Adam Neumann. “There was an issue with my own judgment. It’s something I need to think about,” the billionaire noted.
In Tokyo, though, he reiterated that he thought his investment strategy, based largely on instincts and a search for “passion and a twinkle in his eye,” was correct. He recalled that he was one of the first investors in Alibaba, which was founded by Ma. In 2000 SoftBank invested $20 million in it. Now the shares received at that time are worth more than SoftBank itself. Other entrepreneurs Song met at the time did not have “true faith in their hearts,” the Japanese billionaire said. Ma remarked that Son even offered Alibaba $50 million, but he turned it down: it was already too much.
At the forum, Sohn announced a $184 million program to develop artificial intelligence in Japan. The billionaire believes that people should not be afraid that algorithms will cut jobs: “New ones will appear. We will always find something exciting to do.” Ma noted that with the development of artificial intelligence we need to change education: “We used to teach people to memorize more, to count faster, to educate them to be more aware. Now we’re making machines look like people. That is why we need to change education so that our children could be creative, creative and inventive”, – noted the businessman.
Jack Ma voluntarily stepped down as chairman of Alibaba in September. For 20 years he made the company the most expensive in China. Ma, according to the latest Forbes data, is the richest businessman in China. His fortune was estimated at $36 billion. Masaesi Son is the second richest Japanese businessman with $21.6 billion.