贝索斯致股东信(2001)

qimoe 发布于 2 个月前

致我们的股东:

在去年七月,Amazon.com到了一个重要的阶段。在四年一门心思关注在增长上之后,又用了两年专注在降成本上,我们现在终于可以做到平衡分配资源在增长和控制成本上了。我们在七月的大降价显示了这个变化,20美金以上的书统统打了七折。

这个平衡在四季度展现出成效,我们超额完成了控制成本的目标,同时还加速了增长。所以我们在一月(译者注:2001致股东信是在2002年第一季度末写的)再一次降价:这一年内99美金以上的订单包邮。对成本结构的改善让我们能提供更低的价格,从而拉动更多的增长。增加的营收又能进一步的分摊掉成本,提供更多优惠的可能,完成一个良性循环。顾客喜欢打折,股东也能赚钱,皆大欢喜。希望我们能不断重复这个闭环。

正如我之前提到的,我们四季度超额完成了目标:预计盈利5.9千万美元,预计净利润3.5千万美金。是全世界几千亚马逊员工的不懈努力让我们能有这样的成就,他们应该为自己感到自豪!更多的亮点如下:

* 销售额从2000年的27.6亿增至31.2亿,增幅13%。我们在第四季度完成了第一个“10亿季”,同比增长了23%

* 我们的客户量在2001年突破了250万(2000年200万,1999年140万)

* 2001年全球销售额增长了74%,其中四分之一来自美国之外的市场。英国和德国,作为我们在全球市场中最大的两个分站,首次实现了预计营收利润。我们在日本的分站仅开张了一年就在第四季度达到了年营收运转率(annual run rate)1亿美金

* 数十万小商家和个体户通过我们的平台卖他们的新产品或者转让二手产品,从而创造了可观的收益。在Q4季度这些订单占全美总订单量的15%,大大超过了2000年我们推出“市场(Marketplace)”这个平台时的预期

* 库存周转率(Inventory turns)从2000年的12 增至了2001年的16

* 最最重要的是,我们依然矢志不渝的关注于我们的客户之上,这让我们连续第二年得到了全美消费者满意指数84分的高分。这个分数在任何行业任何公司中都是最高的。

客户至上:我们一如既往的承诺

直到七月,Amazon.com在客户体验上有两个支柱:精选和方便。在七月,如我刚刚所说,我们增加了第三个支柱:不断提供更低的价格。当然了,我们也一直会对前两个支柱保持重视。

在我们的电子产品网店里目前有超过45000种产品(大约是一个大电子城的七倍多的品类);我们的厨房用品翻了两番(你能在中间找到所有好牌子);我们开始卖电脑和杂志订阅;我们还和Target和Circuit City建立了战略合作。

我们提升了使用的方便性,比如有一个叫做“即使订单更新”的功能,如果你不小心买了同一个产品两次,我们会弹出一个提醒(大家都太忙了,经常忘了自己已经买过了这个东西……)

我们大幅提升了用户自助服务的能力。用户现在可以轻易的查找、取消和修改他们的订单。(译者注:此处省略介绍如何查找订单)

我们推出了一个新的功能叫“试读(Look Inside the Book)”,用户可以不仅可以看书的封面,还可以看到封底、目录、引言和正文的一部分的高清大图。他们可以在做出购买决策之前真的“试读”一下。在我们数百万书籍里有超过20万种书支持这项服务。要知道一个大型图书超市,最多也就只有10万种书。

就像上面的几个例子所表明,我们在提升用户体验中做到的最重大改善就是从根源减少出错,这也恰恰帮助了我们管理成本。自公司成立之初,每年我们都在降低出错的概率,而去年,我们在这个方面做的尤其好!从根源减少错误为我们省钱也为用户省时间,两全其美。

我们的用户是我们最重要的资产,我们会继续通过创新和努力工作来滋养这片宝地。

投资框架

在每年的信里(包括这一封),我们都会附上1997年的致股东信,目的是让我们的股东确认他们理解我们是对他们合适的投资标的,同时也提醒我们不忘初心。我想我们做到了。

在1997年的信里我写到:“如果非要在更好看的财报和最大化现金流中做出抉择,我们选择后者”

为什么选择现金流?因为每一股公司的股票都意味着一份公司未来的现金流,所以现金流要比任何其他的指标更合适衡量一个公司股价的长期走势。

(译者注:市场有风险,投资需谨慎!这不代表任何我个人的投资建议,如果想确认这两段的内容,请查看原文)

如我你能搞清楚两件事——一家公司的未来现金流和它的未来将发行的股票数量——你就能搞清楚这家公司当下股票的价值。(你还得知道合理的贴现率,但如果你知道确定的未来现金流,贴现率就相对容易选择了)这并不简单,但你可以通过考察公司过去的业绩,比如查看那家公司的杠杆率和增长性(leverage point and scalaility),来预测它未来的现金流。预测公司未来发行的股票数量需要你能够预测一些指标,比如员工期权(option grants)和其他可能的资本周转(capital transactions)。最终,你预估出这家公司的未来现金流将对你做出是否购买这家公司股票的决策起到关键作用。

鉴于我们希望保持我们的固定成本不变化,尽管这个数值很高,我们相信Amazon.com在未来几年能提供持续可靠的自由现金流。我们2002年的目标反映了这一点。正如我们在2002年一月发布去年第四季度财报时所说,我们打算今年让我们的营业现金流(Operating cash flow)为正,来产生自由现金流(这两者之间的差距是计划资本性支出(planned capital expenditures)中的7500万美金)。我们预计年净收入曲线将会大致和预计年现金流曲线走势一致。

限制股数意味着平均每股对应现金流更高,也就是更高的长期价值。我们目前的目标是在未来五年内将员工股权净稀释率控制在3%。当然在具体的年份,可能会有波动。(译者注:这一块我翻译的可能不好)

永远为了股东的长期利益

正如我说过很多遍,我们深信股东的长期利益和用户利益高度相关。如果我们做的没错,明天用户们会消费更多,我们也会有更多客户,我们的现金流也会更多,相应股东的收益也就更高。为了这个目标,我们要继续提升我们在电商市场上的领先地位,为我们的用户和投资人创造更多的利益——这两者是相辅相成的。

在我们开启2002年时,我很高兴我能够告诉你我对我们的事业充满热情。我们将迎来更多的创新,我们的商业模式也马上就要为我们带来杠杆效应。我将会为此持续和我在全球的同事们共同努力。我很幸运也很感激。我感谢你们的支持和鼓励,以及和我们共赴这一趟旅程。如果你还是我们的用户,那就再谢谢你一遍。

Jeffrey P.Bezos

(Vinchent翻译)


英文原文

To our shareholders:

In July of last year, Amazon.com reached an important way station. After four years of single-minded focus on growth, and then just under two years spent almost exclusively on lowering costs, we reached a point where we could afford to balance growth and cost improvement, dedicating resources and staffed projects to both. Our major price reduction in July, moving to discount books over $20 by 30% off list, marked this change.

This balance began to pay off in the fourth quarter, when we both significantly exceeded our own goals on the bottom line and simultaneously reaccelerated growth in our business. We lowered prices again in January when we offered a new class of shipping that is free (year-round) on orders over $99. Focus on cost improvement makes it possible for us to afford to lower prices, which drives growth. Growth spreads fixed costs across more sales, reducing cost per unit, which makes possible more price reductions. Customers like this, and it’s good for shareholders. Please expect us to repeat this loop.

As I mentioned, we exceeded our goals for the fourth quarter with pro forma operating profit of $59 million and pro forma net profit of $35 million. Thousands of Amazon.com employees around the world worked hard to achieve that goal; they are, and should be, proud of the accomplishment. More highlights from a notable year:

• Sales grew 13% from $2.76 billion in 2000 to $3.12 billion in 2001; we achieved our first billion-dollar quarter on reaccelerated sales and 23% year-over-year unit growth in Q4.

• We served 25 million customer accounts in 2001, compared to 20 million in 2000 and 14 million in 1999.

• International sales grew 74% in 2001, and more than one-quarter of sales came from outside the U.S. The U.K. and Germany, our largest international markets, had a combined pro forma operating profit for the first time in Q4. Open only a year, Japan grew to a $100 million annual run rate in Q4.

• Hundreds of thousands of small businesses and individuals made money by selling new and used products to our customers directly from our highly trafficked product detail pages. These Marketplace orders grew to 15% of U.S. orders in Q4, far surpassing our expectations when we launched Marketplace in November 2000.

• Inventory turns increased from 12 in 2000 to 16 in 2001.

• Most important, we stayed relentlessly focused on the customer, as reflected in a chart-topping score of 84 for the second year in a row on the widely followed American Customer Satisfaction Index conducted by the University of Michigan. We are told this is the highest score ever recorded--not just for any retailer, but for any service company.

Obsess over customers: our commitment continues

Until July, Amazon.com had been primarily built on two pillars of customer experience: selection and convenience. In July, as I already discussed, we added a third customer experience pillar: relentlessly lowering prices. You should know that our commitment to the first two pillars remains as strong as ever.

We now have more than 45,000 items in our electronics store (about seven times the selection you’re likely to find in a big-box electronics store), we’ve tripled our kitchen selection (you’ll find all the best brands), we’ve launched computer and magazine subscriptions stores, and we’ve added selection with strategic partners such as Target and Circuit City.

We’ve improved convenience with features like Instant Order Update, which warns you if you’re about to buy the same item twice (people are busy--they forget that they’ve already bought it!).

We’ve dramatically improved customer self-service capabilities. Customers can now easily find, cancel, or modify their own orders. To find an order, just make sure you are signed in and recognized by the site, and do a regular search on any product in your order. When you get to that product’s detail page, a link to your order will be at the top of the page.

We built a new feature called Look Inside the Book. Customers can view large high resolution images of not only the front cover of a book, but also the back cover, index, table of contents, and a reasonable sample of the inside pages. They can Look Inside the Book before making a buying decision. It’s available on over 200,000 of our millions of titles (as a point of comparison, a typical book superstore carries about 100,000 titles).

As my last example, I’ll just point out that one of the most important things we’ve done to improve convenience and experience for customers also happens to be a huge driver of variable cost productivity: eliminating mistakes and errors at their root. Every year that’s gone by since Amazon.com’s founding, we’ve done a better and better job of eliminating errors, and this past year was our best ever. Eliminating the root causes of errors saves us money and saves customers time.

Our consumer franchise is our most valuable asset, and we will nourish it with innovation and hard work.

An investment framework

In every annual letter (including this one), we attach a copy of our original 1997 letter to shareholders to help investors decide if Amazon.com is the right kind of investment for them, and to help us determine if we have remained true to our original goals and values. I think we have.

In that 1997 letter, we wrote, “When forced to choose between optimizing the appearance of our GAAP accounting and maximizing the present value of future cash flows, we’ll take the cash flows.”

Why focus on cash flows? Because a share of stock is a share of a company's future cash flows, and, as a result, cash flows more than any other single variable seem to do the best job of explaining a company's stock price over the long term.

If you could know for certain just two things--a company’s future cash flows and its future number of shares outstanding--you would have an excellent idea of the fair value of a share of that company’s stock today. (You’d also need to know appropriate discount rates, but if you knew the future cash flows for certain, it would also be reasonably easy to know which discount rates to use.) It’s not easy, but you can make an informed forecast of future cash flows by examining a company’s performance in the past and by looking at factors such as the leverage points and scalability in that company’s model. Estimating the number of shares outstanding in the future requires you to forecast items such as option grants to employees or other potential capital transactions. Ultimately, your determination of cash flow per share will be a strong indicator of the price you might be willing to pay for a share of ownership in any company.

Since we expect to keep our fixed costs largely fixed, even at significantly higher unit volumes, we believe Amazon.com is poised over the coming years to generate meaningful, sustained, free cash flow. Our goal for 2002 reflects just that. As we said in January when we reported our fourth quarter results, we plan this year to generate positive operating cash flow, leading to free cash flow (the difference between the two is up to $75 million of planned capital expenditures). Our trailing twelve-month pro forma net income should, roughly but not perfectly, trend like trailing twelve-month cash flow.

Limiting share count means more cash flow per share and more long-term value for owners. Our current objective is to target net dilution from employee stock options (grants net of cancellations) to an average of 3% per year over the next five years, although in any given year it might be higher or lower.

Relentless commitment to long-term shareholder value

As I’ve discussed many times before, we are firm believers that the long-term interests of shareholders are tightly linked to the interests of our customers: if we do our jobs right, today's customers will buy more tomorrow, we’ll add more customers in the process, and it will all add up to more cash flow and more long-term value for our shareholders. To that end, we are

committed to extending our leadership in e-commerce in a way that benefits customers and therefore, inherently, investors--you can’t do one without the other.

As we kick off 2002, I am happy to report that I am as enthusiastic as ever about this business. There is more innovation ahead of us than behind us, we are close to demonstrating the operating leverage of our business model, and I get to work with this amazing team of Amazonians all over the world. I am lucky and grateful. We thank you, our owners, for your support, your encouragement, and for joining us on this adventure. If you’re a customer, we thank you again!