This short article is contributed by a Friend of Momentum Works, and he requested to be anonymous. 

We all know by now that Jack Ma’s speech at a the Bund triggered a series of actions that led to the IPO shelving of Ant (and Alibaba price crumbling). Your commentary initially thought that it will not dent Ant, however that conclusion was under the impression that the regulators acted on their own. Now we know that Mr Xi himself authorised this. The Xinhua article was also proof that the actions were coordination by a force above the regulators.

The question becomes – if Jack Ma knew that the consequences of such a speech would be huge, why would he do that anyway?

You might have read the TLD post earlier this year about a Kungfu master that was knocked down within 4 seconds by a gym coach. There is some parallel there.

Jack Ma was advised against making such a speech by his staff, but he went ahead anyway. Over the years his presentation skills have helped him navigate through lots of challenge times – and his speech often lauded by those close to him (and those whose voice he would hear).

This entered a cycle of positive reinforcements – the more you speak, the more people are impressed and tell you how great you are, the more (and the edgier) your speech will become.

Even that speech where he heavily criticised the regulators, he thought he would get away with it.

Until one day, someone more powerful comes to knock you back into your place. In the case of the kungfu master, it was the gym coach.


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