贝索斯致股东信(2003)

qimoe 发布于 2 个月前

致我们的股东:

学会长线思考既是真正拥有一件东西的前提,也是结果。持有者和租户思维是不同的。我知道有一家人把房子租了出去,住进来的租户没有买一个底座,而是把圣诞树直接钉在了地板上。这大概是权宜之计,但不得不承认这样的租户确实很差劲,因为任何一个房东都不会如此短视。在投资市场里也是一样,很多投资者实在是无比短视的“租客”,他们频繁的交易就好像他们不在“持有”股票而是在“租”股票一样。

我们在1997年的致股东信里强调了我们的长线思维,因为这真的是驱动我们做出具体决定的思考方法。我想以用户体验为例讨论几个我们用这套思维方式做出的具体决定。在Amazon.com,我们总是使用“用户体验”这个词,它包含了我们呈现在用户面前的一切——从产品价格到我们的产品选择;从网页界面到打包送货。我们所建立的用户体验地图是驱动我们这桩生意最重要的一环。

我们设计用户体验的时候,是从长期持有者的角度来思考的。我们试图让我们无论大小所有的决策都在这个框架中形成。

比如,在1995年Amazon.com刚刚上线的时候,我们开发了用户评价的功能。尽管现在看来这已经是标配了,但当时我们确实收到了不少商家的抱怨,基本都是在说我们没搞清楚自己在干啥:“你卖掉东西才能赚钱,可你怎么能容忍这么多负面评价?还让别人怎么买东西?”确实,我自己在Amazon.com上买东西的时候也有时会考虑负面评价。虽然对商品的评价让我们的销量受到了一些影响,但是帮助消费者更好的做出购买决策才是我们公司真正的终极获利点。

另一个例子是我们的“即时订单更新”功能,就是那个可以提醒你下过单的功能。在都市生活繁忙的年轻人可能并不会注意到去年它已经买过这本书或唱片了。在我们刚刚上线这个功能时,我们确实能看到销量受到了影响。可是这有没有让用户获利呢?肯定的。那有没有让股东获利呢?有,但是是长期。

我们提升用户体验所做的最肉疼的决定是免邮和降价活动。减少失误、提高效率,然后把我们省下来的成本让利给用户是一个长期的决定。增长的体量需要一定时间才能体现出效益,但是降价行为总是会立刻影响当下的财务结果。然而从长期看,不断的完成“降成本-降价结构循环”能让我们的商业模式变得更强更有价值。因为我们软件开发的成本相对固定,如果我们浮动的成本也能很好的控制住,而不是在企业增大同比增加的话,最终销售获得的每一块钱付出的成本比例是在下降的。打个比方,像“即使订单更新”这样的功能开发的成本给一百万人用和四千万人用是完全一样的。

我们的定价策略不是企图最大化边际收益百分比,而是薄利多销,在我们最大化用户利益的同时也在长期打造了一个更深的护城河(译者注:此处非直译,可能有错,原文用的是create a much larger bottom line)。比如,我们的珠宝销售一直追求比市场平均的毛利率更低,因为我们知道这在长期能够为股东带来更大价值。

我们有一个努力又具有创新精神的团队,是他们打造了Amazon.com。他们关注客户又着眼长期。从这个时间尺度来看,股东的利益和用户的利益是一致的。

一如既往,我把97年的那封信附在了后面,我认为它依然值得一读。希望大家不要做个“租客”!

Jeffrey P. Bezos

(Vinchent翻译)


英文原文

To our shareholders:

Long-term thinking is both a requirement and an outcome of true ownership. Owners are different from tenants. I know of a couple who rented out their house, and the family who moved in nailed their Christmas tree to the hardwood floors instead of using a tree stand. Expedient, I suppose, and admittedly these were particularly bad tenants, but no owner would be so short-sighted. Similarly, many investors are effectively short-term tenants, turning their portfolios so quickly they are really just renting the stocks that they temporarily “own.”

We emphasized our long-term views in our 1997 letter to shareholders, our first as a public company, because that approach really does drive making many concrete, non-abstract decisions. I’d like to discuss a few of these non-abstract decisions in the context of customer experience. At Amazon.com, we use the term customer experience broadly. It includes every customer-facing aspect of our business—from our product prices to our selection, from our website’s user interface to how we package and ship items. The customer experience we create is by far the most important driver of our business.

As we design our customer experience, we do so with long-term owners in mind. We try to make all of our customer experience decisions—big and small—in that framework.

For instance, shortly after launching Amazon.com in 1995, we empowered customers to review products. While now a routine Amazon.com practice, at the time we received complaints from a few vendors, basically wondering if we understood our business: “You make money when you sell things—why would you allow negative reviews on your website?” Speaking as a focus group of one, I know I’ve sometimes changed my mind before making purchases on Amazon.com as a result of negative or lukewarm customer reviews. Though negative reviews cost us some sales in the short term, helping customers make better purchase decisions ultimately pays off for the company.

Another example is our Instant Order Update feature, which reminds you that you’ve already bought a particular item. Customers lead busy lives and cannot always remember if they’ve already purchased a particular item, say a DVD or CD they bought a year earlier. When we launched Instant Order Update, we were able to measure with statistical significance that the feature slightly reduced sales. Good for customers? Definitely. Good for shareowners? Yes, in the long run.

Among the most expensive customer experience improvements we’re focused on are our everyday free shipping offers and our ongoing product price reductions. Eliminating defects, improving productivity, and passing the resulting cost savings back to customers in the form of lower prices is a long-term decision. Increased volumes take time to materialize, and price reductions almost always hurt current results. In the long term, however, relentlessly driving the “price-cost structure loop” will leave us with a stronger, more valuable business. Since many of our costs, such as software engineering, are relatively fixed and many of our variable costs can also be better managed at larger scale, driving more volume through our cost structure reduces those costs as a percentage of sales. To give one small example, engineering a feature like Instant Order Update for use by 40 million customers costs nowhere near 40 times what it would cost to do the same for 1 million customers.

Our pricing strategy does not attempt to maximize margin percentages, but instead seeks to drive maximum value for customers and thereby create a much larger bottom line—in the long term. For example, we’re targeting gross margins on our jewelry sales to be substantially lower than industry norms because we believe over time—customers figure these things out—this approach will produce more value for shareholders.

We have a strong team of hard-working, innovative folks building Amazon.com. They are focused on the customer and focused on the long term. On that time scale, the interests of shareowners and customers are aligned.

As always, I attach our 1997 letter and believe it is still worth a read. Here’s to not being a tenant!

Jeffrey P. Bezos

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Amazon.com, Inc.

P.S. Again this year, the widely-followed American Customer Satisfaction Index gave Amazon.com a score of 88—the highest customer satisfaction score ever recorded in any service industry, online or off. A representative of the ACSI was quoted as saying, “If they go any higher, they will get a nose bleed.” We’re working on that.