After a slightly slow start it was interesting to hear of his conversion from a believer in the power of large corporations (while an employee of B&Q, I think it was) to his belief in the power of small business. He gave the example of B&Q’s minimum size order policy meaning it missed out on some of the opportunities created by the Alibaba global SME market-place.
He was also asked about the issue of pollution (including carbon emissions, I assume) in China and immediately identified an opportunity to use Alibaba.com to improve the efficiency of freight transportation in China.
Speaking about founder Jack Ma’s statement about having no technology, no money, and no plan, David interpreted these as three virtues: having to match technology to customer needs, keeping entrepreneurial, and staying flexible.
Alex Bellinger, the presenter, explained that Alibaba.com IPO’d last year raising around $1.5 billion and shortly afterwards was valued at around $26bn (yes billion). So, I am not really sure it counts as a small business. And it’s exceptional in many ways, but for me it highlights the possibilities and opportunities of the new global, internet-enabled economic landscape. This is also the landscape in which sustainability opportunities lie.
And it’ll be interesting to see how they use their money and newly found confidence. Alibaba_local?