Choose Both Paths

Joseph Tsai, Alibaba Group
In conversation with: Tom Byers, Stanford University

When scaling a technology startup, your biggest pitfall could be a lost opportunity, observes Joe Tsai, co-founder and executive vice chairman of Alibaba Group. At one point, he shares, Alibaba was embroiled in an intense debate about whether to use an open-source cloud computing solution or develop their own proprietary system. Jack Ma’s solution: do both. If you have sufficient capital, Tsai points out, there are times when it’s important for a company to hedge its bets on competing strategies.