贝索斯致股东信(1998)

qimoe 发布于 2 个月前

致我们的股东、客户和员工们:

过去的三年半真给力!我们累计服务了620万客户,并用10亿的营收收官了1998;我们在美国开卖了音乐、视频和礼品,我们的网站在英国和德国也上线了。并且我们刚刚开启了Amazon.com Auctions(译者注:二手市场)的服务

我们预计接下来的三年半会更了不起。我们致力于打造一个让数千万用户可以随意选购流连忘返的线上平台,只有他们想不到,没有他们买不到。如果我们按照我们的计划好好执行,这真的是英特网的新生,尤其是Amazon.com的新生。鉴于之前的种种经历,虽然很难相信,但我们认为我们面临的机遇与挑战将前所未有。我们必须有意识而谨慎的做出选择,这些选择甚至会显得大胆乃至离经叛道。虽然有的能成,但肯定也会有很多最后会被证明是错误的决策。

回顾1998

埋头服务客户让我们在这一年有了长足的进步:

* 销售额从1997年的1.48亿达到了6.1亿美金——313%的增长

* 累计客户数量从150万增长至620万——也是大约300%的增幅

* 尽管客户量大量增长,回购率却只从去年四季度的58%增至了今年同期的64%

* 我们主打的品类扩张——音乐,在第一季度之后就领跑了市场

* 我们利用Amazon的品牌和技术做的Amazon.co.uk和Amazon.de在英国和德国第四季度的营收就是第三季度的4倍,直接吞噬了他们的线上图书市场

* 在开售音乐之后,11月我们又开始卖视频(译者认为是指光盘)和礼品。我们成为了线上最大视频零售平台

* 98年第四季度25%的销售来自于英国、德国、音乐、视频和礼品,都是我们最新推出的服务

* 我们显著提升了用户体验,推出的服务包括申请了专利的一键购入、礼品键(Gift Click)、全店销售排行榜和即时推荐。

1998年的收入和客户增长以及持续到19年的好成绩很大程度归功于我们基础设施的扩张。敲黑板,划重点:

* 在1998我们的员工数从600人增至2100人,并且同去年一样,我们再一次加强了管理团队的实力。

* 我们在英德建立了物流中心和客服中心,并且在1999年初在内华达的Fernley建设了高度机械化的物流中心,占地大约32.3万平方公尺。这个新建的物流中心几乎让我们的仓储能力翻倍,使得我们可以进一步缩短送达时间。

* 我们的库存从年初的9百万美金上升到了3千万,这让我们的客户随时可以买到他们喜欢的商品,而我们也可以直接从生产商采购从而节约了成本

* 我们的现金和融资(cash and investment balance)自我们在1998年5月发行垃圾债(High yield debt)和99年初发行可转债(convertible debt)之后,达到了大约15亿美金。这为我们提供了很有利的财务支持和战略弹性。

用户们

我们致力于打造世界上最以客户为中心的公司。我们深信我们的客户是充满洞察力又富有智慧的;我们也深信品牌的形象是来自于我们真正做到的事情。我们的客户告诉我们他们选择并推荐Amazon.com是因为我们多样的商品、易用的界面、超低的价格和优良的服务。

译者注:我最喜欢下面这一段

但是我们丝毫不能倦怠。我反复提醒我们的员工每天都要保持敬畏,不是畏惧竞争对手,而是敬畏我们的客户。是我们的客户成就了今天的亚马逊,是他们和我们建立了强烈的连结,所以我们有绝对义务对他们负责。他们会忠诚于我们,直到另一家公司提供比我们更好的服务。

我们必须在每一个动作都做到不断的改进、不断新的尝试以及不断的创新。我们喜欢做引领者,这是刻在我们的DNA里的,这是件好事,因为正是这段基因让我们不断成功。持续的在创新和改善用户体验上的投入让我们变得与众不同,我们为此感到无比骄傲。我们相信我们在98年的成果反映了我刚刚所说的:我们的音乐、视频,还有英国和德国的网店,他们就如同我们在美国的书店,都是最好的证明。

努力干,好好享受,并创造历史(Work Hard, Have Fun, Make History)

要是没有超凡的同事们,我们是决不可能在这个日新月异的互联网世界里达成如此成就的。创造历史之困难,真是实至名归,哪怕是创造那么一点点历史。我们现在拥有2100个动力十足又聪明肯干的员工,他们都把我们的客户放在首位。正如我去年所说,招人的高标准一直以来都是,未来也将一直是Amazon.com成功的最重要因素之一。

在招聘的通气会上,我们让负责招聘的人在给offer之前好好考虑以下三个问题:

你崇拜他吗?* 想想那些你们崇拜的人,你们一定能从他们身上学到东西。就我个人而言,我一直努力只和我敬仰的人一起工作,我也建议我的同僚们在这个方面和我一样苛刻,毕竟生如夏花(Life is definitely too short to do otherwise. 虽然我翻译的十分有诗意,但还是放出原句,因为写的太好了)

他们的加入会拉高这只团队的平均水平吗?* 我们要尽力减少熵增(We want to fight entropy)。我们的标准必须持续提高。我要让大家能在五年后回想起今天,然后感到庆幸:“我去,还好我五年前来了,现在招人的标准都这么高了?”

他们在什么方面是超级明星(superstar)?* 很多人都有自己的特长和兴趣,这些特点能使我们的工作环境更有意思,即便它们和工作毫无关系。我记得有个姑娘是1978年全国拼字大赛的冠军,你要是在走廊抓住她,让她拼写一发“onomatopoeia”肯定特好玩儿!

1999新年目标

我们相信电子商务整体在未来有非常好的前景,并且1999年将会是非常重要的一年。尽管Amazon.com已经确立了领先地位,竞争依旧会无比残酷。我们将疯狂投入打造能够支持几十亿级别体量公司的基础设施,他们将能够高效高质量的服务数以千万计的用户。尽管这种级别的投入将面临着等量齐观的各种连带风险,但是我们坚持认为只有打造出最好的端对端服务的用户体验,才能在长期为股东们提供实质上最低风险的价值回报。

综上,我们在99年的如下计划将不会让你们感到意外:

仓储能力——我们要打造一个能够满足所有用户需求的平台,并且能够快速在海量库存中提货。

系统能力——我们将会扩展我们的系统能力,让其能够支持我们的高速扩张。我们的系统小组有个重要的任务:扩大团队;重新组织系统来支持数十亿级别的营业额和数千万级别的用户量;为新品类和未来的创新预埋系统级的支持;提升执行效率和质量。在做这些改进的同时,还需要保证现有的十亿营业额800万用户的生意24*7不出任何岔子

品牌承诺——Amazon.com相较于大零售集团还是一个年轻的小公司,我们必须确保在现在这个关键时期建立广泛而强有力的客户关系。

扩大产品和服务的品类——在1999年,我们将持续扩展我们现有产品版图的覆盖度,并提供更多品种的产品。Amazon.com Auctions(译者注:二手平台)是我们最新推出的服务。如果您还没试过这个服务,我建议您立刻马上打开我们的网站点进Auctions的标签页。作为我们的客户,你可以同时参与竞拍和售卖;作为一个卖家,你将能够让你的产品直接面对800万资深网上购物的买家。

“板凳实力”(Bench Strength)和流程——新产品、新服务、新区域、新收购、新模式的融入让我们的商业模式变得异常复杂。我们得在建设团队,确定流程,宣传和员工培训上加大投入。以这种方式稳健发展是我们计划中最具挑战的一条。

Amazon.com在过去几年经历了大踏步的前进,但我们要学的东西真是太多了。我们依旧乐观,但也保持警惕和一定程度的紧张感。我们面临着挑战和阻碍,其中包括强大对手的竞争;企业自身变大带来的更高的决策风险;以及与增长相匹配的大量资源投入。

在这封信中我最想说的其实都在去年的信里。去年的信里详细记载了我们企业长期的战略。鉴于我们有很多新股东(去年我们印了13000封致股东信,今年会印至少20万封),我们将去年的信附在了文后(译者注:我就不附了,请自行翻我的笔记)。我推荐您读一下“一切都围绕长期价值展开(It’s All About Long Term)”那个章节。或许您应该多阅读几遍来确认我们是您想要投资的那种公司。我们当时说了,我们不认为我们的哲学是对的,但这就是我们的想法!

各种感谢,给我们的客户和股东,以及所有在我身边每天努力工作和充满激情的老黄牛们,是他们打造了这个牛逼又长寿的公司。

Jeffery P. Bezos

(Vinchent翻译)


英文原文

To our shareholders, customers, and employees:  

The last 3½ years have been exciting. We’ve served a cumulative 6.2 million  customers, exited 1998 with a $1 billion revenue run rate, launched music, video, and gift  stores in the U.S., opened shop in the U.K. and Germany, and, just recently, launched  Amazon.com Auctions.  

We predict the next 3½ years will be even more exciting. We are working to  build a place where tens of millions of customers can come to find and discover anything  they might want to buy online. It is truly Day 1 for the Internet and, if we execute our  business plan well, it remains Day 1 for Amazon.com. Given what’s happened, it may be  difficult to conceive, but we think the opportunities and risks ahead of us are even greater  than those behind us. We will have to make many conscious and deliberate choices,  some of which will be bold and unconventional. Hopefully, some will turn out to be  winners. Certainly, some will turn out to be mistakes.  

A Recap of 1998  

Heads-down focus on customers helped us make substantial progress in 1998:  

• Sales grew from $148 million in 1997 to $610 million – a 313% increase.  • Cumulative customer accounts grew from 1.5 million at the end of 1997 to 6.2  million at the end of 1998 – an increase of over 300%.  

• Despite this strong new customer growth, the percentage of orders placed on the  Amazon.com Web site by repeat customers grew from over 58% in the fourth  quarter of 1997 to over 64% in the same period in 1998.  

• Our first major product expansion, the Amazon.com music store, became the  leading online music retailer in its first full quarter.  

• Following their October launch under the Amazon brand and with Amazon.com  technology, the combined fourth-quarter sales in the U.K. and German stores  nearly quadrupled over the third quarter, establishing Amazon.co.uk and  Amazon.de as the leading online booksellers in their markets.  

• The addition of music was followed by the addition of video and gifts in  November, and we became the leading online video retailer in only 6 weeks.  • 25% of our fourth-quarter 1998 sales was derived from Amazon.co.uk,  Amazon.de, and music, video, and gift sales on Amazon.com, all very new  businesses.  

• We significantly improved the customer experience, with innovations like 1- ClickSM shopping, Gift Click, store-wide sales rank, and instant recommendations. 

1998’s revenue and customer growth and achievement of continued growth in 1999  were and are dependent on expansion of our infrastructure. Some highlights:  

• In 1998 our employee base grew from approximately 600 to over 2,100, and we  significantly strengthened our management team.  

• We opened distribution and customer service centers in the U.K. and Germany,  and in early 1999, announced the lease of a highly-mechanized distribution center  of approximately 323,000 square feet in Fernley, Nevada. This latest addition  will more than double our total distribution capacity and allows us to even further  improve time-to-mailbox for customers.  

• Inventories rose from $9 million at the beginning of the year to $30 million by  year end, enabling us to improve product availability for our customers and  improve product costs through direct purchasing from manufacturers.  

• Our cash and investment balances, following our May 1998 high yield debt  offering and early 1999 convertible debt offering, now stand at well over $1.5  billion (on a pro forma basis), affording us substantial financial strength and  strategic flexibility.  

We’re fortunate to benefit from a business model that is cash-favored and capital  efficient. As we do not need to build physical stores or stock those stores with inventory,  our centralized distribution model has allowed us to build our business to a billion-dollar  

sales rate with just $30 million in inventory and $30 million in net plant and equipment.  In 1998, we generated $31 million in operating cash flow which more than offset net  fixed asset additions of $28 million.  

Our Customers  

We intend to build the world’s most customer-centric company. We hold as  axiomatic that customers are perceptive and smart, and that brand image follows reality  and not the other way around. Our customers tell us that they choose Amazon.com and  tell their friends about us because of the selection, ease-of-use, low prices, and service  that we deliver.  

But there is no rest for the weary. I constantly remind our employees to be afraid,  to wake up every morning terrified. Not of our competition, but of our customers. Our  customers have made our business what it is, they are the ones with whom we have a  relationship, and they are the ones to whom we owe a great obligation. And we consider  them to be loyal to us – right up until the second that someone else offers them a better  service. 

We must be committed to constant improvement, experimentation, and innovation  in every initiative. We love to be pioneers, it’s in the DNA of the company, and it’s a  good thing, too, because we’ll need that pioneering spirit to succeed. We’re proud of the  differentiation we’ve built through constant innovation and relentless focus on customer  experience, and we believe our initiatives in 1998 reflect it: our music, video, U.K. and  German stores, like our U.S. bookstore, are best of breed.  

Work Hard, Have Fun, Make History  

It would be impossible to produce results in an environment as dynamic as the  Internet without extraordinary people. Working to create a little bit of history isn’t  supposed to be easy, and, well, we’re finding that things are as they’re supposed to be!  We now have a team of 2,100 smart, hard-working, passionate folks who put customers  first. Setting the bar high in our approach to hiring has been, and will continue to be, the  single most important element of Amazon.com’s success.  

During our hiring meetings, we ask people to consider three questions before making  a decision:  

Will you admire this person? If you think about the people you’ve admired in  your life, they are probably people you’ve been able to learn from or take an  example from. For myself, I’ve always tried hard to work only with people I  admire, and I encourage folks here to be just as demanding. Life is definitely too  short to do otherwise.  

Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re  entering? We want to fight entropy. The bar has to continuously go up. I ask  people to visualize the company 5 years from now. At that point, each of us  should look around and say, “The standards are so high now -- boy, I’m glad I got  in when I did!”  

Along what dimension might this person be a superstar? Many people have  unique skills, interests, and perspectives that enrich the work environment for all  of us. It’s often something that’s not even related to their jobs. One person here  is a National Spelling Bee champion (1978, I believe). I suspect it doesn’t help  her in her everyday work, but it does make working here more fun if you can  occasionally snag her in the hall with a quick challenge: “onomatopoeia!” 

Goals for 1999  

As we look forward, we believe that the overall e-commerce opportunity is enormous,  and 1999 will be an important year. Although Amazon.com has established a strong  leadership position, it is certain that competition will even further accelerate. We plan to  invest aggressively to build the foundation for a multi-billion-dollar revenue company  serving tens of millions of customers with operational excellence and high efficiency.  Although this level of forward investment is costly and carries many inherent risks, we  believe it will provide the best end-to-end experience for customers, and actually offer  the least risky long-term value creation approach for investors.  

The elements of our 1999 plan may not surprise you:  

Distribution capacity − We intend to build out a significant distribution infrastructure  to ensure that we can support all the sales our customers demand, with speedy access to a  deep product inventory.  

Systems capacity − We’ll be expanding our systems capacity to support similar  growth levels. The systems group has a significant task: expand to meet near term  growth, restructure systems for multi-billion dollar scale and tens of millions of  customers, build out features and systems for new initiatives and new innovations, and  increase operational excellence and efficiency. All while keeping a billion dollar, 8  million customer store up and available on a 24x7 basis.  

Brand promise − Amazon.com is still a small and young company relative to the  major offline retailers, and we must ensure that we build wide, strong customer  relationships during this critical period.  

Expanded product and service offerings − In 1999, we will continue to enhance the  scope of our current product and service offerings, as well as add new initiatives.  Amazon.com Auctions is our most recent addition. If any of you have not tried this new  service, I encourage you to run – not walk – to www.amazon.com and click on the  Auctions tab. As an Amazon.com customer, you are pre-registered to both bid and sell.  As a seller, you have access to Amazon.com’s 8 million experienced online shoppers.  

Bench strength and processes − We’ve complicated our business dramatically with  new products, services, geographies, acquisitions and additions to our business model.  We intend to invest in teams, processes, communication and people development  practices. Scaling in this way is among the most challenging and difficult elements of  our plan. 

Amazon.com has made a number of strides forward in the past year, but there is still  an enormous amount to learn and to do. We remain optimistic, but we also know we must  remain vigilant and maintain a sense of urgency. We face many challenges and hurdles.  Among them, aggressive, capable and well-funded competition; the growth challenges  and execution risk associated with our own expansion; and the need for large continuing  investments to meet an expanding market opportunity.  

The most important thing I could say in this letter was said in last years’ letter, which  detailed our long-term investment approach. Because we have so many new shareholders  (this year we’re printing more than 200,000 of these letters – last year we printed about  13,000), we’ve appended last year’s letter immediately after this year’s. I invite you to  please read the section entitled It’s All About the Long Term. You might want to read it  twice to make sure we’re the kind of company you want to be invested in. As it says  there, we don’t claim it’s the right philosophy, we just claim it’s ours!  

All the best and sincere thanks once again to our customers and shareholders and all  the folks here who are working passionately every day to build an important and lasting  company.  

Jeffrey P. Bezos  

Founder and Chief Executive Officer  

Amazon.com, Inc.