贝索斯致股东信(2007)

qimoe 发布于 2 个月前

致我们的股东:

2007年11月19日是个特别的日子,我们在经历了三年的研发之后,终于把Kindle交付给了用户。

你们很多人肯定以及听说过Kindle了,我们很荣幸它能倍广泛报道。简单来说,Kindle是一台为阅读专门打造的无线设备,支持超过11万本书、博客文、杂志和报刊的阅读。这里所采用的无线连接不是WiFi而是蜂窝网,这意味着你无论在哪都能够使用。你可以直接在kindle上购买书籍,然后它就能自动将书下载下来供你阅读,仅需短短一分钟。没有无线套餐,没有包年合同,没有月租费。Kindle拥有一个如纸书一样的电子墨水屏,即便在阳光下阅读起来也非常舒适。你拿到手就知道那是什么感觉了。它比一本纸书更轻,却能装200本书。到Amazon.com的网站上看看kindle的介绍吧,也看看别人如何评价,这个产品已经收到2000多条评价了。

你大概能够想象,在经历了三年的研发,我们很希望Kindle能够被看好。可是我们还是低估了用户的热情,开售仅5个半小时我们的备货就卖空了,这让我们的供应链和生产团队不得不拼命补货。

我们最开始是想在提升纸质书的体验上下文章的。这个目标不简单,经过了500年的发展,纸质书几乎没有什么变化。在开始设计的最初,我们确认了书最重要的一个特点——“无”(It disappears)。当你读一本书的时候,你不会注意到纸张、墨水、胶水和装订线。所有这些都融化在了作者构建的世界里。

所以我们认为kindle也得这样,能够“不被人注意”,就像一本纸书一样,这样读着就能专注于阅读本身而忘记自己是在一个电子设备上阅读。我们也知道我们不应该拷贝纸书所有的特征,我们不可能比纸书更像纸书。我们必须要增加新的功能,是那种读纸书根本无法体验到的功能。

Amazon.com早期的发展提供了一参考。我们曾经也觉得把网上书店打造的跟实体书店一样是一个非常诱人的想法。也有人反复问我:“你们打算怎么开电子签书会呢?”十三年过去了,我们还是没搞清楚怎么办!可是,我们停止了复制实体书店的想法,转而继承下实体书店的种种优点,然后做了许多实体书店根本干不了的事情。我们没有电子签书会,也没有咖啡茶座,但我们我们可以提供数百万的选择,帮助你通过顾客评论来做出购买决策,并且提供“购买本书的用户还看了”功能帮你探索其他的书。能用这个新媒介完成的事情数不胜数。

我来列几个在阅读纸质书时无法体验的功能,而在kindle上我们做到了。假如你阅读的时候遇到不认识的单词,你可以快速查询;你可以快速搜索你的书籍;你在书边的批注和你的划线段落将会永远保存在云上;Kindle帮你随时记住你读到了哪;如果眼睛累了,你可以放大字体;最最重要的是,只需一分钟,你就可以读到你想读的书。当我看到人们使用这个产品的时候,很显然它能做到的让他们印象深刻。我们对Kindle的愿景是把所有语言的所有的书都电子化,所有书只需要一分钟就可以阅读!

出版社们都拥抱了kindle,我们为此感到很感激。从一个出版社的视角,Kindle有很多优势。书不需要印刷,也不需要考虑库存。所以也不用考虑会不会印多了。最最重要的是kindle让用户们更方便买书了,只要你获得一件东西的难度降低,你就会要更多。

我们人类和工具一同进化。我们改变工具,然后工具改变我们。在几千年前就是合适的工具的出现创造了“书写”,而后者又深刻的改变了人类社会。五百年前,古登堡的发明显著的降低了获得书籍的成本。书籍引出了合作和学习的新方式。而最近这些年,诸如PC、笔记本、手机和PDA等联网设备的发展也改变了我们的生活,它们把我们带入了“碎片化信息时代(infornation snacking)”,在我看来就是更短的注意力带宽(shorter attention span)。我很喜欢我的黑莓手机,它大大提高了我的生产力,但是我可不想用它读一个300页的文件。我也不想在我的PC或者笔记本上读几百页的东西。正如我在上文所说,人们会更多做那些没有障碍、让他们感到舒服的事情。如果工具让碎片化信息获取更容易,我们就会远离真正的阅读(long-form reading)。Kindle就是为了“真正阅读”而打造的。我们希望Kindle和它后续的版本能够逐渐把我们带入注意力带宽更宽的时代,来抵抗碎片化信息获取工具的侵蚀。我知道我的口吻就像一个传教士,但是我是发自真心的。不仅仅是我,我身边很多人都有相似的想法,我觉得有传教士的心态挺好的,这让我们能做出更好的产品。我还得指出,当我们行将决定改进阅读体验的时候,亚马逊并没有现成的团队。总有人会做这件事的,如果我们做的不好,机会就让给了别人。

你的传教士团队们正拼命的追求每股自由现金流和资本的回报。我们只要坚持用户第一就一定能做到。我想你保证未来我们还会有更多创新,我们也不认为这会是一条很好走的路。我们希望Kindle能如它的名字一样,点燃世界上阅读的火焰。

一如既往,我附了1997年的第一封致股东信。你会看到Kindle符合我们的哲学和长期投入的思维。阅读愉快,谢谢谢谢!

Jeffrey P. Bezos

(Vinchent翻译)


英文原文

To our shareowners:

November 19, 2007, was a special day. After three years of work, we introduced Amazon Kindle to our customers.

Many of you may already know something of Kindle—we’re fortunate (and grateful) that it has been broadly written and talked about. Briefly, Kindle is a purpose-built reading device with wireless access to more than 110,000 books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers. The wireless connectivity isn’t WiFi—instead it uses the

same wireless network as advanced cell phones, which means it works when you’re at home in bed or out and moving around. You can buy a book directly from the device, and the whole book will be downloaded wirelessly, ready for reading, in less than 60 seconds. There is no “wireless plan,” no year-long contract you must commit to, and no monthly service fee. It has a paper-like electronic-ink display that’s easy to read even in bright daylight. Folks who see the display for the first time do a double-take. It’s thinner and lighter than a paperback, and can hold 200 books. Take a look at the Kindle detail page on Amazon.com to see what customers think—Kindle has already been reviewed more than 2,000 times.

As you might expect after three years of work, we had sincere hopes that Kindle would be well received, but we did not expect the level of demand that actually materialized. We sold out in the first 51⁄2 hours, and our supply chain and manufacturing teams have had to scramble to increase production capacity.

We started by setting ourselves the admittedly audacious goal of improving upon the physical book. We did not choose that goal lightly. Anything that has persisted in roughly the same form and resisted change for 500 years is unlikely to be improved easily. At the beginning of our design process, we identified what we believe is the book’s most important feature. It disappears. When you read a book, you don’t notice the paper and the ink and the glue and the stitching. All of that dissolves, and what remains is the author’s world.

We knew Kindle would have to get out of the way, just like a physical book, so readers could become engrossed in the words and forget they’re reading on a device. We also knew we shouldn’t try to copy every last feature of a book—we could never out-book the book. We’d have to add new capabilities—ones that could never be possible with a traditional book.

The early days of Amazon.com provide an analog. It was tempting back then to believe that an online bookstore should have all the features of a physical bookstore. I was asked about a particular feature dozens of times: “How are you going to do electronic book signings?” Thirteen years later, we still haven’t figured that one out! Instead of trying to duplicate physical bookstores, we’ve been inspired by them and worked to find things we could do in the new medium that could never be done in the old one. We don’t have electronic book signings, and similarly we can’t provide a comfortable spot to sip coffee and relax. However, we can offer literally millions of titles, help with purchase decisions through customer reviews, and provide discovery features like “customers who bought this item also bought.” The list of useful things that can be done only in the new medium is a long one.

I’ll highlight a few of the useful features we built into Kindle that go beyond what you could ever do with a physical book. If you come across a word you don’t recognize, you can look it up easily. You can search your books. Your margin notes and underlinings are stored on the server-side in the “cloud,” where they can’t be lost. Kindle keeps your place in each of the books you’re reading, automatically. If your eyes are tired, you can change the font size. Most important is the seamless, simple ability to find a book and have it in 60 seconds. When I’ve watched people do this for the first time, it’s clear the capability has a profound effect on them. Our vision for Kindle is every book ever printed in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds.

Publishers—including all the major publishers—have embraced Kindle, and we’re thankful for that. From a publisher’s point of view, there are a lot of advantages to Kindle. Books never go out of print, and they never go out of stock. Nor is there ever waste from over-printing. Most important, Kindle makes it more convenient for readers to buy more books. Anytime you make something simpler and lower friction, you get more of it.

We humans co-evolve with our tools. We change our tools, and then our tools change us. Writing, invented thousands of years ago, is a grand whopper of a tool, and I have no doubt that it changed us dramatically. Five hundred years ago, Gutenberg’s invention led to a significant step-change in the cost of books. Physical books ushered in a new way of collaborating and learning. Lately, networked tools such as desktop computers, laptops, cell phones and PDAs have changed us too. They’ve shifted us more toward information snacking, and I would argue toward shorter attention spans. I value my BlackBerry—I’m convinced it makes me more productive—but I don’t want to read a three-hundred-page document on it. Nor do I want to read something hundreds of pages long on my desktop computer or my laptop. As I’ve already mentioned in this letter, people do more of what’s convenient and friction-free. If our tools make information snacking easier, we’ll shift more toward information snacking and away from long-form reading. Kindle is purpose-built for long-form reading. We hope Kindle and its successors may gradually and incrementally move us over years into a world with longer spans of attention, providing a counterbalance to the recent proliferation of info-snacking tools. I realize my tone here tends toward the missionary, and I can assure you it’s heartfelt. It’s also not unique to me but is shared by a large group of folks here. I’m glad about that because missionaries build better products. I’ll also point out that, while I’m convinced books are on the verge of being improved upon, Amazon has no sinecure as that agent. It will happen, but if we don’t execute well, it will be done by others.

Your team of missionaries here is fervent about driving free cash flow per share and returns on capital. We know we can do that by putting customers first. I guarantee you there is more innovation ahead of us than behind us, and we do not expect the road to be an easy one. We’re hopeful, and I’d even say optimistic, that Kindle, true to its name, will “start a fire” and improve the world of reading.

As always, I attach our 1997 letter to shareholders. You’ll see that Kindle exemplifies our philosophy and long term investment approach as discussed in that letter. Happy reading and many thanks!

Jeffrey P. Bezos

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Amazon.com, Inc.

April 2008