The Other I

October 7, 2017

The Intelligence of Love

Filed under: Just Stuff — theotheri @ 8:08 pm

I read a post a couple of days ago that I can’t stop thinking about.  It’s about Jack Ma, the founder of the hugely successful Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba.

So what? I thoughtat first.  He’s another Bill Gates who founded Microsoft, or Steve Jobs of Apple Computer fortune, or Jeff Bezos of Amazon or Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.  Or, or, or…  It’s not really a short list.

But Jack Ma grew up in China, not in a privileged family, but as a poor boy.  He failed university entrance exams twice, and despite dozens of attempts, could not get a job.  Now he’s worth 29 billion dollars, and people are listening to him.  What he’s saying might not be all that surprising if he were a religious leader or even a university professor.  But coming from a very rich man who is talking, not about how to make it to heaven, but how to build a successful business in this age of high tech and computerization, it’s extraordinary.

Last month he addressed the Bloomberg Global Business Forum in New York City attended by heads of state and global business leaders discussing the challenges of economic growth.

So what did this poor boy who’d failed university entrance exams recommend?

Something he calls “LQ,” the Quotient of Love.  Not mathematical genius, not even emotional intelligence.  But love.  Love, he argued, should be a leading influence in decisions about hiring, promotions, customer needs, and he gave a lot of concrete examples, if you are interested.  Ma argues that only humans, not robots or other techniques using advanced artificial intelligence, can love.  Only we can add that human touch that makes all the difference.  Any of us who have been stuck at the other end of an automated telephone answering system with its mechanical directions to “press 1 if …” and so on, or has been on the other end of a phone call from some distant country trying to sell something, would agree.  Sometimes a spontaneous laugh from the real live person on the other end of the communication makes all the difference.

Ma recommends LQ be taught in schools along with mathematical and verbal skills.    Sounds like a good idea, but that doesn’t sound like the full solution to me. How can LQ be taught?    I doubt it can be done using traditional methods of testing and teaching.  I do think people sometimes learn life-changing skills from their teachers, but I strongly suspect it can be taught only by those who show it in vivo to the student.

Where did Jack Ma himself learn how to apply the Quotient of Love?  I doubt it was in school.   Did he learn it in his family?  did he have a mother or father who were examples of the LQ?  does he have brothers or sisters, neighbours, or other relatives from whom he got examples?  This was China, so I doubt it was from an overtly religious source.  Nor does that surprise me.  My own experience is that love is not necessarily in evidence in many religious strongholds.

If I were not already retired, I would be tempted to carry out some research to try to identify some of the variables that increase LQ, whether in business, family, or communities.  Maybe Jack Ma would even be willing to fund it!


  1. any ideas?


    Comment by karen peterlin — October 7, 2017 @ 8:18 pm | Reply

    • Yes! What is love? I have a million ideas and twice that many questions. I bet you do too!


      Comment by theotheri — October 9, 2017 @ 3:27 pm | Reply

  2. Wish we get answers from him.


    Comment by tskraghu — October 7, 2017 @ 10:57 pm | Reply

    • I’d love to have the chance to interview him, wouldn’t you? I just had an interaction with a customer care representative who was helping me sort through some technical problem with our air purifier, and thought afterwards that solving my problem was helpful. What really mattered was that I was treated not just like a customer but like a human being, and we even managed a laugh together. What I’d really like to ask Jack Ma, though, if he thinks the operation of love within a company is fundamentally different from love within a family or neighbourhood. And does it necessarily lead to economic success? Doesn’t the kind of success he has achieved require creativity, opportunity, and may a bit of good fortune?

      Liked by 2 people

      Comment by theotheri — October 9, 2017 @ 3:24 pm | Reply

      • I suppose a business requires opportunity, creativity and a dash of good fortune to be successful. The ‘love’ could be the magic ingredient that adds purpose and pleasure to the endeavors. The question I would like to add to your list is how do u get others in the org to feel likewise from their heart. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by tskraghu — October 9, 2017 @ 11:58 pm | Reply

        • Ah yes, I totally agree with your question. It’s critical. I suspect Jack Ma is a gifted and creative leader, but I doubt he has the background to appreciate the complexity involved for others wanting to apply his Love Quotient.

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Terry Sissons — October 11, 2017 @ 8:51 am

  3. Love this Terry….thank you!
    And another book you might like….same theme….”God’s Hotel” by Victoria Sweet….I think it is Victoria…FABULOUS!
    About medicine, today’s and yesterday’s….as in Hildegard’s time. Without the technology but with care, love, protection.
    And the impact of that in one particular hospital in San Francisco, Laguna Honda…laid low by efficiency experts and insurance needs and the tenor of our times. It is a wonderful book and I think you’d like it.
    But love is the need like the Beetles said…All you need is love….well, mostly love.
    Love to you!


    Comment by tbastasch — October 8, 2017 @ 2:28 pm | Reply

    • I’ve looked God’s Hotel up on Amazon. Looks like a really good read. And if the message is that care and love are as critical to medicinal treatment in real life as the right pill, I’ll join in shouting it from the roof tops, wouldn’t you?


      Comment by theotheri — October 9, 2017 @ 3:31 pm | Reply

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