Having skipped this year’s World Economic forum in Davos, I’ve been hearing reports from friends who attended, and a recurring refrain has been about Jack Ma ending his Alibaba dinner with magic tricks, which he performed himself, and urging everybody to focus on their “love quotient.” You wouldn’t expect Jack Ma, the Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba, to be talking up something called the “love quotient” (or performing magic tricks, for that matter). But then again, that’s partly how he came to be running the world’s largest e-commerce company — by tapping into the zeitgeist and doing the unexpected.

In a Q&A with ImpactVision’s founder Abi Ramanana, Ma was typically wide-ranging. He opened by talking about how we’re in a moment of technology-driven transformation. But this head of a global tech company made it clear that this transformation isn’t entirely a positive thing. “This new technology will create a lot of successful people and interesting careers,” he said, “but honestly every new technology will create social problems.” He then said that in the last century, to be competitive you needed muscle. But this century won’t be about muscle — it will be about wisdom. And love. “If a person wants to be successful, he should have a high EQ,” Ma said, referring to emotional intelligence. “If you don’t want to lose quickly you will need a high IQ — but if you want to be respected you need a high LQ — the IQ of love.” 

It’s a concept I first heard him discuss in an interview with Mary Erdroes at a JP Morgan conference last year: “There is IQ and there is EQ,” he said. “But more important is LQ. You can become a money machine, but what’s the use of that? If you’re not contributing to the rest of the world, there’s no LQ …” 

And as he put it at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum, love is something that “machines never have.” 

As Ma’s very tech-driven company expands, so does his thinking about the importance of what makes us uniquely human. As he said in Davos, “computers can never be as wise as a man.” I’m looking forward to hearing him continue to develop this concept. Or maybe even a “Love Quotient” reality show — a combination of “Shark Tank” and “The Love Boat.” I’d watch. 


  • Arianna Huffington

    Founder & CEO of Thrive

    Arianna Huffington is the founder and CEO of Thrive, the founder of The Huffington Post, and the author of 15 books, including Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. In 2016, she launched Thrive, a leading behavior change tech company with the mission of changing the way we work and live by ending the collective delusion that burnout is the price we must pay for success. She has been named to Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people and the Forbes Most Powerful Women list. Originally from Greece, she moved to England when she was 16 and graduated from Cambridge University with an M.A. in economics. At 21, she became president of the famed debating society, the Cambridge Union. She serves on numerous boards, including Onex and The B Team. Her last two books, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time, both became instant international bestsellers. Most recently, she wrote the foreword to Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive: End Burnout, Increase Well-being, and Unlock Your Full Potential with the New Science of Microsteps.