iAsk x China Daily | Was it the best choice to leave Alibaba?

本文章刊登在CHINA DAILY-艾问专栏

卫哲,1970年出生于上海,1993年上海外国语大学毕业,学的是翻译,受当时电影《华尔街》影响,对投行特别感兴趣。那时深沪股市刚成立不到两年,很多地方都需要借鉴国外的资料。

Wei Zhe (David Wei) was born in 1970 in Shanghai. In 1993, he graduated from Shanghai International Studies University with a degree in Translation. He was very interested in investment banking from watching the movie “Wall Street”. Back then, the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges have been established for less than two years, and a lot of areas needed to use foreign theories and practice as references.

终于有一天,卫哲争取到了万国证券的实习机会,干了不到两个月,就被中国证券教父管金生点名要走了,原因是他做事太讨人喜欢。

And finally one day, Wei Zhe go tan internship opportunity at Wanguo Securities. After two months of his internship, he was appointed to work for Guan Jinsheng, the godfather of China’s securities industry, because of his pleasant and outstanding working style.

后来他成为普华永道高级经理,东方证券投资银行总部总经理,2002年出任百安居中国区总裁,带领管理团队,在五年中发展成中国最大的建材零售连锁超市,2006年11月正式加盟阿里巴巴,担任阿里巴巴公司总裁。

Later, he was a senior manager of KPMG, the general manager of the investment banking division at Orient Securities. In 2002, he was appointed as the president of B&Q China. Under his leadership, B&Q became the biggest home-improvement retailer in China in 5 years. On November 2006, he joined Alibaba Group as the CEO of Alibaba.com.

故事一:

Story No.1:

访问卫哲之前,去百度搜索“卫哲”,排在前面的依然是“阿里CEO卫哲引咎辞职”的数篇报道。每每提到卫哲,阿里巴巴注定是个绕不开的话题。

Before interviewing David, we searched “Wei Zhe” on the internet. The top stories are still reports about “The CEO Alibaba Wei Zhe took the blame and resigned”. Alibaba is an inevitable topic for Wei Zhe.

卫哲

2006 年 11 月,在马云的盛邀下,卫哲出任阿里 CEO。卫哲说,他不是要创立这个企业,而是带领它逐渐壮大,走向世界。一年后,卫哲带领阿里巴巴在香港主板上市,并在之后的几年时间里,将阿里的营业收入从2006年的13.6亿元增长到2010年的55亿元。

On November 2006, Jack Ma invited Wei Zhe to take the CEO position of Alibaba.com. Wei Zhe said, he did not found this company, but he wanted grow with it, and brought it out of China to the world. One year later, Wei Zhe brought Alibaba. com to be listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Exchange. In the subsequent years, Alibaba’s revenue increased from 1.36 billion RMB in 2006 to 5.5 billion RMB in 2010.

在马云眼中,卫哲是最勤奋、最努力的一个人,无论曾经,还是现在,马云从未改口卫哲是一位好兄弟、一个好人,他是真的非常喜欢卫哲。

For Jack Ma, Wei Zhe is the most diligent and hard-working person. No matter in the past or now, Jack Ma has never changed his mind about Wei Zhe and called him “a good brother, a good person”. Jack is really fond of Wei Zhe.

但喜爱不代表对错误的纵容。2011年,阿里B2B平台上的商家欺诈问题大规模爆发,卫哲主动辞去阿里巴巴CEO职位,选择了离开。

However, being fond of someone does not mean tolerating one’s mistake. In 2011, when it was released that the merchants on Alibaba’s B2B platforms were selling fakes, Wei Zhe resigned the CEO position and chose to leave.

艾问卫哲:离开阿里是最好的选择吗?

Was it the best choice to leave Alibaba?

卫哲艾诚:2011年,为什么离开阿里巴巴?

Gloria Ai: Why did you leave Alibaba in 2011?

卫哲:离开,七年前已经报道很多了,真的很少有人相信,所报道的就是最真实的,那我再重复一遍。真的是为了捍卫阿里巴巴的价值观,当今天中国很多互联网公司出现了很多问题,产品质量、服务质量,甚至影响到用户生命安全的很多问题。今天没有CEO再辞职,那可能社会一直不能原谅这个公司。

Wei Zhe: There were lots of articles about me leaving Alibaba seven years ago. People rarely believed what was reported was the truth, so I will restate it here once again. It was really to protect the value of Alibaba. Nowadays, many internet companies in China experience problems regarding product quality or service quality, or even problems affecting customers’ life and safety. If the CEO does not resign, then maybe the society will never forgive this company.

阿里巴巴当时所面临的诚信和各方面的问题远远没有到死人的程度,从绝对影响的金额来说也是很小,但我相信,就是在阿里巴巴历史上会留有一笔的事件,不断在警醒今天的景贤栋、今天的张勇,还真的叫Don’t be evil,不作恶。真的要把诚信的底线坚守住,价值观的底线坚守住。

The problems back then Alibaba faced regarding trust and other issues were not that severe, and the monetary amount affected was also quite insignificant. However, I believe, this was an important milestone for Alibaba’s history. It still keeps reminding the people who are leading Alibaba today, Jing Xiandong and Zhang Yong, “Don’t be evil.” It is important to keep the bottom line, to be trust worthy and hold on to the fundamental values.

艾诚:那您辞职的这个决定是不是一个最好的选择?

Gloria Ai: Then was the decision to resign the best choice for you?

卫哲:我对人生走过的每一步,我觉得都是最好的选择,不后悔。阿里巴巴有今天,我相信当时马云的这个选择也是对的,因为2012年以后,就开展了整个阿里系,包括淘宝大量的自查自纠,抓出了这么多问题。

Wei Zhe: Every step I made in my life was the best choice for me. I do not regret. Alibaba is very successful today, so I believe Jack Ma also made the right choice back then. Because after 2012, the whole Alibaba group, including Taobao started a round of internal inspection process and they found many problems.

所以我觉得离开以后,能够触动整个阿里集团内部这么大规模的“Self-Cleaning”,自净门户的行动,才会有后面整个阿里集团的第二次上市,才会有整个平台,跟这么大几万亿的交易额,我不能说阿里绝对没有问题。但还能够保持一,增长;二,不出现重大的社会问题,可能11年的这个决定,还是有一定的作用。

So I believe, only because of my departure that triggered this large-scale “Self-Cleaning” inside of Alibaba Group, the whole Alibaba Group was able to go public listed again, to have the whole platform and trillions Yuan worth of transactions. I cannot say that Alibaba is perfect right now, but firstly, it is still growing, and secondly, it has not caused any significant social problems. Maybe the decision back in 2011 was helpful in this regard.

故事二:

Story No. 2:

2011 年,离开阿里的卫哲成立了嘉御基金,进入风险投资领域,马云和李泽楷一同入股,为其站台。

In 2011, Wei Zhe left Alibaba and founded Vision Knight Capital, entering the venture capital industry. Jack Ma and Richard Li Tzar Kai were both his investors.

作为嘉御基金的掌舵人,卫哲始终围绕着互联网、电子商务、零售这三个熟悉的行业进行投资。

As the commander of Vision Knight Capital, Wei Zhe has always been investing in the three areas he is familiar with – internet, E-commerce and retail.

嘉御基金

卫哲说,“我们是免费咨询开路,再创造投资机会,不去追随。我们在投资之前,愿意先提供服务,包括在战略上、运营上、人才人力资源上。把管理咨询和战略咨询放在投资前,这是我们一直坚持的,市场上非常独特的打法。”

Wei Zhe says: “We provide free consultations to break the ice, then we create investment opportunities, and we do not follow others. Before investing in a company, we are willing to provide services first, including strategies, operations, and human resources. Putting management consulting and strategy consulting before investment is what we have been insisting on doing, and is also something very unique on the market.

秉持着他自己的策略,嘉御基金已经成功投资了几十个项目,并成功退出了包括 PPS、91 助手等项目。

Vision Knight Capital has successfully invested in dozens of projects following its unique strategy and successfully exited projects such as PPS or 91 assistant.

不喜欢和别人抢项目,不喜欢为融资者“雪中送炭”,喜欢为创业者提供咨询服务,喜欢说服不差钱的创业者做“plus轮”融资,从企业家转型投资人的卫哲总给人一种另类投资者的印象。

Does not like to compete with others for deals, does not like torescue the founders with “desperation funding” , likes to provide consulting services to founders, likes to convince well-founded entrepreneurs for additional “plus round” of financing, the entrepreneur turned investor, Wei Zhe always gives people an impression of an alternative investor.

艾问卫哲:你投资的套路好使吗?

Does your investment thesis work?

艾诚、卫哲

艾诚:你在投企业的时候,先做免费的企业顾问,看我能给你提供很多帮助,然后我再投你?

Gloria Ai: So when you invest in a company, you first provide free enterprise consultation, to see how much help you can provide, and then you invest in this company?

卫哲:对,别人是说我投了你再给你做增值服务,你投了万一不做呢?万一做得不好呢?所以我们的方法是你先试试看,反正免费试用。互联网就是先免费。

Wei Zhe: Yes, other people say I will first invest in you and then I will provide some additional services. What if one just invests and afterward does not provide any additional help? What if the additional help isn’t useful? So our way is to ask you to try first, trying is for free. In the internet business, most things are free at first.

艾诚:这套好使吗?
Gloria Ai: Does this work?

卫哲:越来越好使。经济不好的时候好使,成功案例多了好使。一个行业中有一个企业被你辅导好了,那整个行业口碑都非常好,我可以说过去6、7年来是越来越好使。

Wei Zhe: It works better and better. It works well when the economy is bad, and when there are many success cases. If there is one firm in the industry which you mentored turned out well, it helps to gain a good reputation among the whole industry. I could say that, for the past 6-7 years it is getting better and better.

我们经常说不以结婚为目的,先谈恋爱比较纯洁,就你并不冲着拿我钱,我也冲着不见得要投你,这时我们做咨询,双方的动机都特别纯,愿望都一样。

We often say that one should date because they want to date, not because it is time for marriage. Similarly, you should not just focus on getting money from me, and I also do not necessarily have to invest in you. At this point, we just do some consult ation work together, both of us have no other motivations and just the same wishes.

故事三:

Story No. 3:

卫哲对企投家有着自己的描述,“我经常比喻说,企投家是一辆车里边坐在副驾驶位置的人,他既不应该继续去操控方向盘,那是企业家,也不应该坐在后排座椅上,那是投资家。要做好一个企投家,就想想你坐在副驾驶位置上,一个好的副驾驶应该给予司机(企业家)很多指导,但也要永远想清楚,在副驾驶位置上,你不要再去碰那个方向盘。”

Wei Zhe has his own understanding about the entrepreneur-turned-investor: “I often make an analogy that, the entrepreneur-turned-investor is a person who sits in the passenger seat. Neither should he try to control the wheel – that is the task of the entrepreneur, nor should he sit in the back – that is the seat for the investors. To be a good entrepreneur-turned-investor, just think about you are sitting in the passenger seat. A good front-seat passenger should give the driver (the entrepreneur) a lot of guidance, but he should also be clear that being in the passenger seat means he should not touch the wheel again.


在前两期《艾问企投家》的节目中,何伯权把企投分为两端,十年乐百氏,十年天使投资人,他给自己的人生划定了清晰的路线;傅盛则是在将猎豹移动带上市之后,从容开启了投资之路,企投并行,回报丰厚。

In the first two episode of “iAsk Entrepreneur-turned-investor”, He Boquan divided his entrepreneur-turned-investor journey into two parts – 10 years as an entrepreneur with Robust, 10 years as an investor, he drew a clear roadmap of his life; Fu Sheng started his investing career after bringing Cheetahs Mobile to the stock market, with a rewarding career being an entrepreneur and an investor at the same time.

艾问卫哲:如何判断企投的时机?

How to judge the best timing to become an entrepreneur-turned-investor?

艾诚:您怎么理解企投家这个概念?

Gloria Ai: How do you understand the notion of entrepreneur-turned-investor?

卫哲:我经常比喻说企投家,是一辆车里边坐在副驾驶位置的人,他既不应该继续去操控方向盘,那是企业家,也不应该坐在后排座椅上,那是投资家。

Wei Zhe: I often make an analogy that, the entrepreneur-turned-investor is a person who sits in the passenger seat. Neither should he try to control the wheel – that is the task of the entrepreneur, nor should he sit in the back – that is the seat for the investors.

要做好一个企投家,就想想你坐在副驾驶位置上,一个好的副驾驶应该给予司机(企业家)很多指导,但也要永远想清楚,在副驾驶位置上,你不要再去碰那个方向盘。

To be a good entrepreneur-turned-investor, just think about you are sitting in the passenger seat. A good front-seat passenger should give the driver (the entrepreneur) a lot of guidance, but he should also be clear that being in the passenger seat means he should not touch the wheel again.

艾诚:您是企投家吗?是哪一种?

Gloria Ai: Are you an entrepreneur-turned-investor? Which kind?

卫哲:我是。如果我们把一个企业的成长,比喻为幼儿园、小学、中学、大学。我们比较擅长的是中学,跟我妈妈做了一辈子中学老师可能有点关系。她是一个非常优秀的中学老师,但她辅导不了我小学的功课,就像一个幼儿园老师非常优秀,也教不好大学一样。术业有专攻,那我们就给自己选择了一个中学阶段的企业,作为我们辅导、提升、咨询和投资的阶段。

Wei Zhe: I am. If we compare the growth stages of a firm to the stages of life, from kindergarten to primary school, high school, and college. We are good at the high school stage, this could be because my mum was a high school teacher. She was a very good high school teacher, but she could not help me with my primary school homework, just like an excellent kindergarten teacher cannot teach college. Every subject hasits own experts. We pick the firms who are at the high school stage to mentor, consult and invest in them.

艾诚:企投的时机其实很难选,什么时候对于一个企业家和一家企业,是说我除了经营主业之外,可以投资了?

Gloria Ai: It is hard to pick the right time to become an entrepreneur-turned-investor. As for an entrepreneur and a company, when would be a good timing to say, aside from running the main business, it is also time to invest in other companies?

卫哲:我给很多企业的建议,说企业做所谓的战略投资,你是不是行业前三?第一,你自己的行业还没做到行业前三,你对自己行业没信心,你为什么要分散精力?第二,经常说企业做战略投资,赋能别人,你都不是行业老大,你怎么赋能别人?你想搭别人船吧?那别人又问了,我为什么让你搭我的船?

Wei Zhe: I give advices to lots of companies, and tell them before they consider strategic investments, they should first ask themselves whether they are already the top 3 of their industry. Firstly, if you are not yet the top three of your segment, if you arenot confident about your own segment, why splitting your attention and get distracted? Secondly, often people say companies can do strategic investments to empower others, but if you are not at the top of your industry, how can you empower others? Or do you want to leverage others’ power? Then why would the others let you?

现在做商业都喜欢打造“爆款产品”,投资整天想着去投一个超级明星的企业。所以你想不出巴菲特是哪个项目,哪个公司一战成名的,可能我们也是这个风格。所以我们并没有去定位嘉御基金,要去找下一个阿里巴巴。下一个阿里巴巴是撞着的,不是找到的。

Right now, people in business all want to make a “best-selling-product”, and invest in some unicornfirms. However, you cannot remember which project or company made Warren Buffet famous. Maybe we have a similar style as him. So we do not want to position Vision Knight Capital to find the next Alibaba. The next Alibaba may bump into you by accident, but it cannot be found.

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艾诚、卫哲