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张勇首次披露淘宝移动变革:要信年轻人,要做“造风者”

张勇 2019年05月05日

最近,在清华大学2019全球经济管理学院院长论坛上,阿里巴巴集团CEO张勇用英文演讲首次披露淘宝移动变革,并提及对创新、创造的思考以及“造风者”的四大特征:1、始终面向未来寻找机会;2、不追赶风口,而是创造风口;
3、造风者永远来自更年轻一代;4、伟大的企业必须解决社会问题。

今天谈创新和企业家精神。如果回顾阿里巴巴过去20年的发展历史,就是一系列创新以及孵化创新的过程。创新和企业家精神都来源于真正的商业实践。如何找到当中的基本规律,这非常有探讨价值。

第一个基本特征,永远面向未来寻找机会。

大家都知道,阿里巴巴成立于1999年,互联网当时还是新事物。我们的创始人马云去了西雅图,第一次接触到互联网和电脑。他在网上搜索“啤酒”,看到了世界各地的啤酒品牌。所以他就想到,为什么不能回到中国,利用互联网帮助中国企业寻找全球贸易的机会?那时中国刚刚加入WTO,中国企业刚刚打开国门,都想要寻找更多出口到海外的贸易机会。

这是一切的开始。思考如何用新事物来解决未来的问题,给客户创造机会,这就是创新的开始。

但这些还不够。每一天,我们都能发现很多大大小小的机会,但基于真实的商业经历,我想强调一点:当我们仔细审视这些机会时会发现,很多并不是真正的机会。如何判断这些机会的优先级,如何识别和把握真正的机会?

我的观点是:机会不只关乎现在,还关乎未来。我们不必把视野局限于今天的机会,如果你能看得到的机会,那么其他人也看得到。

一个真正的企业家不仅能认清今天的机会,还能看得到明天的机会。大多数人今天看不到或者对未来表示怀疑,只有那些看到未来机会的人,迅速行动、先行一步、敢于尝试,去解决明天的问题。他们才是真正的创新者。

在阿里巴巴,我们有个关于阿里云的很有名的故事。2009年我们开始投入资源做阿里云,当时很少有人相信云计算,即便在阿里内部也有很多争论。管理团队聚在一起讨论,“未来会怎么样”?没错,在2009年也许不是大规模发展云计算的好时机,但未来呢?一旦思考未来愿景,目标就会清晰,数据会成为新经济的能源。如何通过数据创造价值?我们达成共识:我们需要计算力。如何低成本高效地获得计算力,云计算就是答案。

今天说到大数据和云计算的时候,人们总是放在一起讲。但我们看来这两者是不同的,大数据是大量的数据,如何从大数据中创造价值?需要计算力。你可以有很多算力,但如何以合理高效的投入获取数据的价值,反哺商业?这就是我们思考云计算的起点。

很多人会问,当时你真的相信这一天的来临吗?有关于云计算的清晰蓝图吗?我的答案是,并没有。我认为这些都关于愿景,我们相信这一切会发生,我们相信如果世界全面进入数字化时代,数据会成为新经济的能源。我们相信云计算会成为商业的基础设施,通过处理数据、令数据产生价值,驱动未来商业的成长。

这就是我分享的第一点——关于如何思考明天的问题,不仅关注现在更认清明天的机会。

第二点我想要分享的是,当你拥有了远大愿景和清晰目标,如何执行?

创新不只关于大局,创新也关乎细节,关乎如何解决用户痛点。所以我们常说,如果我们能识别用户痛点,就能发现机会。问题的关键是,如何去解决用户痛点?在竞争激烈的商业领域,聪明的企业家很多,如何不但能发现机会和痛点,还能给出合适的解决方案?我在阿里巴巴的经历告诉我,一定要用不一样的方式去思考,这是创新的关键。

尤其在这个新经济世界,经济和商业的运行规律都在发生本质变化。如果所有人都看到这一点,都朝这个方向走,你真的能把握住机会吗?必须与众不同地去思考。

在阿里巴巴早期发展阶段有一个例子,就是我们和eBay的竞争。2003年,eBay已经进入了中国市场,他们实力很强,占据了90%的市场份额。我们意识到,当时所谓90%的份额其实依然很小。回到我讲的第一点——关于明天,明天的市场会非常之大,远比2003年的大。当时的eBay的确非常成功,我们也做了许多调查研究,最终发现,他们的商业模式很高效。当我们思考自己的商业模式时,必须另辟蹊径。

具体而言,当时eBay是竞价模式,通过拍卖产品用最好的价格达成合理交易。这个过程发现一个痛点。竞价意味着没有交流,只是交易。我们看到在中国,互联网是新生事物,线上购物对大多数人来说都很新鲜,人与人之间缺乏信任,如果消费者和卖家之间不交流,会觉得交易很危险。如何鼓励他们交流、让他们能够交流,从而令交易更简单?我们从一开始就在购物流程中,引入了基于PC端的在线聊天功能。今天对平台上所有的卖家和消费者来说,它已经不仅是交流工具,更是一个客户服务工具。

这就是如何另辟蹊径去看待创新。我经常和团队说,不要试图寻找完美的解决方案。尤其在竞争激烈的商业领域,如果竞争对手强劲,他往东走,你唯一胜出的机会就是往西走。在这个快速变化的世界,我们总说不要错过趋势。移动互联网时代来了,人们说不要错过移动互联网,今天所有人又都在讨论5G和IoT。实际上今天创新越来越频繁,变化越来越迅速,我跟团队说,的确需要努力不错过任何一班列车,但当你已经落后的时候,就不要去追赶这趟车了,为什么不转而去寻找下一班车?为下趟车做好准备,比追赶前一班车更为重要。比起复制他人、努力追赶其他人的步伐,这才是创新。

在阿里巴巴,首先我们是一个造梦者,我们需要梦想,需要对明天充满愿景。同时我们要做一个造风者。我们不仅不做跟风者,还要思考如何创造未来,不是追逐上一班列车,而去思考如何创造下一班列车。这是我在阿里巴巴的商业经历中体会的乐趣。

第三条基本特征,就是如何相信年轻人。

我们谈到愿景、谈到梦想时,我们需要造梦者。我们在讨论未来的时候,我们需要造风者。他们在哪里?我认为所有的造梦者、造风者都来自年轻一代。为什么不给他们一些机会和空间,去尝试新事物呢?

在阿里巴巴历史上,我们经历了许多重要时刻,其中之一是6年前移动互联网的崛起。大概在2012年2013年,所有人都在谈论移动互联网,以及移动互联网改变的商业世界。如何基于此变革我们的业务?我们讨论了很多,但移动互联网的变革速度比所有人想象得要更快,一夜之间完全改变了人们的生活。

但在2013年,我们的核心平台淘宝仍停留在PC时代。我们尝试了很多,让拥有多年淘宝经验的人去升级平台,最后意识到这不对,因为这些人即便非常年轻,但他们在过去10年是跟着淘宝一起成长起来的,有很多基于PC端的传统思维。

最后我决定任用年轻人,一点淘宝经验都没有的年轻人,他们天然在移动互联网时代成长起来。现在6年之后,这个人已经是淘宝天猫的总裁了,今年也只有35岁。

所以我认为,新机会需要新一代去把握,即便我们有很多有经验的优秀人选。这对我也一直是最大的挑战。当我和团队讨论时,我总是先倾听,有时我提醒自己,不要立刻评论。作为CEO,一旦评论就意味着做出判断。不要急着下判断,给人们一点时间去尝试,也许会得到惊喜。当然,也可能因此付出试错的成本,甚至成本昂贵,但这值得。在真实的商业和创新中,最大的成本是机会成本,如果你不尝试,你永远不知道什么是对的,什么是错的。

所以当大多数人讨论创新的时候,总会说,要想想市场真正需要什么,然后出一个商业计划,按照这个商业计划来执行。我的经历告诉我,现实可能并非如此。你需要有商业计划,需要进行市场调查,需要理解消费者,但真的一旦开始执行,一切都关乎纠错。你可能犯很多错误,关键在于你如何高效地修正这些错误。人总会犯错,不要怕犯错。

给年轻人犯错的机会,他们会找到通向目的地的方案。这是第三条从经历中学到的原则。

最后想聊聊企业家精神。

今天谈到创新、谈到创业公司时,大多数人都关心商业机会,以及如何掌握抓住这些机会的技能。但我认为,要想成为一个真正的企业家、做一个伟大的公司,我们必须要为整个社会解决问题。放眼整个世界,你会发现,越能为社会解决大的问题,越可能创造伟大的公司。

当然我们可以从解决一些小问题开始。10年前,饿了么在上海诞生,一开始它只是源于为大学生提供高效的送餐服务,今天饿了么已经成为阿里巴巴本地生活服务的重要部分。如今我想几乎所有校园都在用外卖服务,不仅如此,无论在办公室还是在家,人们都习惯叫外卖。

因此,如果能认清整个社会的痛点,真正担起社会责任,不仅为自己更为整个社会思考和提供解决方案,才能成为一位真正的企业家。换句话说,真正的企业家,不仅为自己而存在,更在为整个社会做出贡献。

在阿里巴巴我们经常说,阿里巴巴之所以成为阿里巴巴,主要源于我们的使命驱动。20年前,创始人马云立下了“让天下没有难做的生意”的使命,我们一直保持这个使命。我们不仅为自己做生意,而要帮助更多中小企业更好地做生意。我们也是这样看待企业家精神的——企业家精神关乎担当,关乎责任,不为自己,而是为了整个社会。

 

主要观点整理:

1.关于造风者:

在阿里巴巴,我们首先要做造梦者(Dream Maker),我们需要梦想,需要对明天充满愿景。我们同时也要做造风者(Future Shaper),不仅不跟风,还要创造未来。不要试图追赶上一班车,而要思考如何创造下一波风口。

2.关于面向未来:

机会不仅关乎现在,更关乎未来。一个真正的企业家不仅能把握今天的机会,也能看到未来的机会。大多数人看不到或对未来保持怀疑,只有那些洞察未来的人,先行一步,勇于尝试并解决未来问题。他们才是真正的创新者。

3.关于相信年轻人:

新机遇需要新一代去把握。不要轻易下判断,留一点时间给年轻人去尝试,结果也许会很惊喜。当然可能会付出试错成本,但真正的商业创新中,不尝试,永远不知道什么是对的。给年轻人犯错的机会,相信他们会找到通向目的地的路径。

4.关于创新:

有些创新自下而上,特别由技术驱动的创新。另一种则是商业模式的创新,作为领导者要身体力行,成为商业战略的设计师。领导者不创新,不能期待下面人创新。

5.关于价值与估值:

关注价值而非估值。有些人去创业,靠PPT拿到一轮轮融资,烧钱获得规模。本质问题在于,这个过程是否创造了价值?如果答案是Yes,用户会跟随你。如果没有,他们就会离开你。

6.关于企业家精神:

谈创新,大多数人都关心商业机会,或抓住机会的技能。要成为一个真正的企业家,成就一个伟大公司,必须要为整个社会解决问题。越能为社会解决大的问题,越有机会成就伟大公司。洞察痛点,担起真正的社会责任,不仅为自己更为整个社会思考解决方案,由此才能成为一位真正的企业家。

When people ask me to talk about this topic (of innovation), I think actually it’s good to tie back to Alibaba’s history and what has happened in the past 20 years at Alibaba. I think we are one of the good examples about hot to elaborate about how to look at innovation, how to incubate innovation. But, as Dean Bai said in his remarks, I totally agree that when we look at innovation, we always look at from the real products, and when we talk about entrepreneurship, it grows from the real business, from real products. But how do you find the general principles. I think it’s a very good thing to elaborate on and explore. I think that’s why Tsinghua CEMS invited me to come here, and I also want to share with you my personal thoughts about innovation and entrepreneurship.

First of all, I find from my personal experience at Alibaba that innovation is always coming from looking for the opportunity for future society. Everybody knows Alibaba was founded in 1999, and the world tried a new thing, called the Internet. And our founder, Jack Ma, famous Jack Ma, paid a visit to Seattle. It was the first time he saw the internet on a PC. He searched and found some beers, globally. Then he had an idea. Why not go back to China and help Chinese businesses use this Internet to get trading opportunities all over the world. If people can search the Internet, people can find things globally. So why can’t we show all the Chinese products online, so China can have more exporting opportunities. Because, at that time, it was just the beginning of the WTO for China. China just opened its door and joined the WTO’s big family, and Chinese exporters wanted more opportunity to go outside China. So, that’s the beginning. I think to think about the opportunity, how to use something new to resolve today’s problem, to give the opportunity to a particular group of clients is the beginning of innovation.

But that isn’t enough. Every day, we can find many opportunities. And some small, some big. But I want to emphasize from my real experiences, that when we look at all the opportunities, many of them are not true opportunities. But how do you prioritize this? How do you identify some real ones to do this? Then, my experience tells me it’s not only about today’s opportunities. It’s about tomorrow. We don’t always have to look at today’s opportunities. And yes, this is good and what the market needs. If you can see it, many other people can see it. A real entrepreneur, they may identify some opportunities not only for today, but also for tomorrow. Some people cannot see it or believe it today, but only the first-mover who sees this opportunity, then they go ahead and try new things and try to resolve the issues for tomorrow.

At Alibaba, we have a very famous story about Alibaba Cloud. We started to invest a cloud business in 2009. At that time, few people believed in cloud. Even in the organization, in the Alibaba family, we had a lot of debate. Our first-class engineers and team leaders thought, why do we need a cloud? We have such a good buisnesss in wholesale, retail, Taobao, Tmall. Why do we need a cloud? But when the leadership team came together, what we discussed was ‘what about tomorrow?’ Yes, maybe today, in 2009, it’s not the right time to have a big cloud business, but how about tomorrow. Then, we shared the vision that tomorrow, data will become the energy of the new economy. But how can you create value from the data. Then, we had a consensus that if we wanted to create value from data, we needed computing power. How to get the big computing power, but with efficient cost? Then, maybe the world needs cloud computing. So, today, when most people talk about cloud computing and big data, people see them together. But I would say these are two different things. Big data is big data, but how do you create value from big data? It’s all about computing power. Sure, you can have a lot of computing power, but how about the cost. Can you have a reasonable cost to computing the data and create value and feed back to your real business? So, that was the starting point when we thought about cloud. If people asked me, do you really believe this? Do you have a very clear picture of the future, at that time? My answer would be, ‘no!’

I think it’s all about the vision. We think it will happen. If the world will go to the digital world, do we really believe that? We believe? What does ‘digital world’ mean? Which means data will be the energy of the new economy. Do you believe that? We believe that. If that’s the case, that brings us to the next question: How do you utilize that data? Then, cloud computing will become a utility, to computing the data, creating value from the data and growing the future business. That’s all about how to think about tomorrow’s problem and identify the opportunity, not only from today, but from tomorrow. So, that’s my first learning from my Alibaba life. That’s my so-called first general principle.

The second one I want to share with you is when you have a vision, a very clear goal, how you execute. Innovation is not only about the big picture. It’s about detail. Innovation is about how you resolve the pain point of the real customers. So, we always say that if we can identify the real pain point of the customers, then you have opportunity. But the key thing is how can you resolve this? And especially, again, in the market, there are a lot of smart entrepreneurs, a lot of smart business there. How can you not only identify the opportunity and identify the pain point, but also how can you find the right solution. Especially in a very intensive competition landscape. My learning from my Alibaba life is that we should think differently. I think thinking differently is the key of innovation, especially in this new economy world. And people all believe this is a fundamental change of how to run a business. It’s a revolution of the whole society. If everybody sees this and goes to that direction, can you really capture that opportunity? You have to think differently.

One early example in Alibaba history is a famous Alibaba vs. Ebay competition. At that time, eBay was already in China. And they were very powerful. They occupied 90% of the market. But, we realized this 90% of the pie, at the time, was very small. And we believed, that this also ties back to my first point, about tomorrow, ‘how about tomorrow?’ Tomorrow the pie should be very, very big - much, much bigger than it was in 2003. But, at that time, when we looked at eBay, they were so successful that our team did a lot of research, and found they have a very efficient way to do their marketplace business. But when we think to start our business, we think we should go the other way. What does ‘the other way’ mean? It means eBay, actually, at that time, they are doing a bidding business. They are an auction business. Because this auction business is more like secondhand trading, people bidding on the site to get the best price, and they get the deal. But we realize there is a pain point there. In China, when we go to this area, if they are doing this bidding and what bidding means is no talk, only bid, only action – no conversation. But we believed, that in China, the Internet was a new thing. And online shopping is a new thing to most of the people at that time. So, how can customers trade on the Internet without communication between buyers and sellers. It’s very dangerous. There was a lack of trust. So, how do you encourage people to communicate? How do you enable them to communicate, to facilitate the trading, became our thinking. So, that’s why, from the very beginning, we introduced live chatting, at that time, PC live-chatting, in the shopping process. Today, all the sellers on the platform, all the buyers…Here, many of the students, the participants are customers, or even our sellers, and you use this live-chatting tool not only as a communications tool. It’s more like a customer-service tool. I think we have to think differently about competition, about innovation. If our competitors go, I always share with my team, don’t try to find a perfect solution, especially in a very competitive landscape. If you have a strong competitor, if they go east, then the only chance you have is to go west. In this very fast-changing world, we say, don’t miss the train. When mobile Internet comes, people say don’t miss the mobile Internet. Then, today all people are talking about 5G, about IoT, but all of us realize that the revolution comes more and more frequently and change comes more and more often. So, I shared with my team, we try not to miss one train, but don’t try to catch the train if you’re the last one.

In this case, why don’t you turn around and think about what’s the next train. Be well-prepared for the next train. I think it’s much better than working very hard and trying to copy other people’s models and follow other people to take the train. That’s why, at Alibaba, we start with my first point, ‘we need to be a dream-maker. We need a dream. We need to think about tomorrow. We need a great vision to think about tomorrow.’ The second point I share with you, at Alibaba, we say ‘we want to be a future-shaper.’ So, we are not trying to be a follower, but how do you shape the future, create the next trend, rather than just follow the next trend. That’s a very, very interesting learning from my real life.

The third general principle I learned from my life at Alibaba is how to trust young people. When we talk about this great vision, this dream, we need a maker. When we talk about the

shape, we need a shaper, when we talk about the future, we need a shaper. So, where are they? I think all the makers, all the shapers, come from the young generation. Why don’t we give them some flexibility, some space to try new things. In Alibaba’s history, we have a lot of very important moments. One of the moments we experienced about six years ago was mobile. And as I said, when mobile internet came, in about 2012 or 2013, all the people were discussing the mobile internet. And also, mobile-driven internet shopping. But how do you upgrade your business? We talked a lot, and suddenly, everyone realized the mobile transition would come a lot faster than anyone imagined. Overnight, the price of smartphones was reduced to under RMB1000. Everybody had a smartphone, everybody could get a very fast 4G connection, and the mobile internet changed the whole life of the customers.

But at that time, Taobao, our leading platform, was still PC-driven. That was 2013. Then, we had a lot of trials. We tried to mobilize the best-in-class team, with a lot of Taobao experience, and do this upgrading. Finally, we realized that it wasn’t good. Because all of these people, even though they are very young, were very young at that time, were very experienced, they grew up together with Taobao in the previous 10 years, they still had a lot of legacies. Legacies of thoughts. They thought of things from the PC, oh because this a shopping journey, this is a consumer journey, I have to define it like this. I need a search. I need a category tree, so people can find things like that, like people used to on a PC. Then, finally, I decided to trust some young people. Young people without any Taobao experience. Young people generated and who grew up and worked on mobile phones. Today, this guy has become the president of Taobao, six years later, and now, is only 35 years old.

I would say new opportunities need new people. Maybe we have a lot of people with good experience, including me. This is always the challenge for me. When I have discussions with my team, I always listen first. Sometimes, I remind myself to not comment right away. If I, as the CEO of the company, I comment, it means you’ve made a judgment. Why not not comment in a hurry. Just give people some time to try. Maybe they will give you some big surprise. Yes, you have to pay some costs. People will say, ‘yes, this is very expensive.’ But I would say the biggest cost in the real business, in innovation, is the opportunity cost. If you don’t try, you’ll never know what’s right and what’s wrong. So, when we talk about innovation, we always say let’s have a think about what the market needs, what is the opportunity. Then, we have the business plan, then we follow the business plan. My experience tells me that that’s not true. Day One, you do need a business plan. Day One, you do need to market survey, you do need to understand the customer. When you start to execute, it’s all about correction. You make a lot of mistakes. But the key thing is how efficiently you can correct this mistake. It’s not about how to make mistakes. Nevertheless, you have to make some mistakes. So, give young people some opportunities to make mistakes. Then, they will find the right way to get to the destination. That’s my third learning, my third general principle: ‘Learn from real experiences.’

Last, but not least, I’d like to talk about entrepreneurship. I think today, when we talk about innovation, when we talk about start-ups, I think most people care about the business opportunity, the skill set. How are we able to capture this opportunity? But I would say, if we want to be a real entrepreneur, to be a great business, we have to resolve problems throughout the whole society. If you look around the world, you can find that the bigger the problem you can solve for all of society, the greater your business. Yes, maybe we can create, maybe resolve some small issues, just like in Shanghai, on a campus, about 10 years ago, there was a start-up food-delivery business. Now, this business, Ele.me, became part of Alibaba. This food delivery business resolved a problem on campus about how to get the food box. You need food delivery. Now, I think on every single campus in China, all the students need this food-delivery business. But that’s not all. Yes, the whole society and all citizens, they need some lunch boxes, and in the office and at home. So, how do you think about the issues, the pain points of the whole society? If you can identify this and do it, not only for ourselves, but with some real social responsibility, I think you can be a great businessman. And you can be a real entrepreneur. And not only for you, yourself, but for the whole society. So, that’s why Alibaba, I always say, that why we can become what we are today is because our main driver is our mission. Jack and the founding team at Alibaba set a great mission for us at Alibaba 20 years ago, which is ‘make it easy to do business anywhere.’ So, we do our business always following this mission. We are not doing this business for ourselves. We are doing the business to enable, to facilitate, other business people to do business in an easier way. That’s how we think about entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is about ownership, about responsibility. Not only for his own business, but for all of society. That’s some pieces of the thoughts I want to share with you. It’s such a big topic, and we could take a whole day to discuss it. But I also want to take this opportunity to listen to all the others’ comments. Thank you.

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