第一封信:长期主义

亚马逊1997年上市,第一封信是1998年4月发表的。

第一封信的中英文对照:

To our shareholders:
致我们的股东:

Amazon.com passed many milestones in 1997: by year-end, we had served more than 1.5 million customers, yielding 838% revenue growth to $147.8 million, and extended our market leadership despite aggressive competitive entry.
1997年,Amazon达到了几个里程碑:到年底为止,我们一共服务了超过150万消费者,带来1亿4780万的收入,提升838%。尽管竞争激烈,依然拓展了Amazon的市场领先地位。

But this is Day 1 for the Internet and, if we execute well, for Amazon.com. Today, online commerce saves customers money and precious time. Tomorrow, through personalization, online commerce will accelerate the very process of discovery. Amazon.com uses the Internet to create real value for its customers and, by doing so, hopes to create an enduring franchise, even in established and large markets.
然而,这只是互联网的第一日(Day 1)。若我们做得好,也只是Amazon的第一日。今天,电子商务(Online Commerce)节省了消费者的金钱和宝贵的时间。明天,透过个性化服务,电子商务将会加速人们发掘新事物的过程。 Amazon持续利用互联网带给消费者价值,希望即使是在成熟的大型市场中,也能建立一个近乎特许的市场领先地位。

We have a window of opportunity as larger players marshal the resources to pursue the online opportunity and as customers, new to purchasing online, are receptive to forming new relationships. The competitive landscape has continued to evolve at a fast pace. Many large players have moved online with credible offerings and have devoted substantial energy and resources to building awareness, traffic, and sales. Our goal is to move quickly to solidify and extend our current position while we begin to pursue the online commerce opportunities in other areas. We see substantial opportunity in the large markets we are targeting. This strategy is not without risk: it requires serious investment and crisp execution against established franchise leaders.
我们目前有机会以头部玩家的身分,整合我们的资源,寻求与新的电子商务用户建立关系的机会。电子商务的竞争格局持续快速发展。许多头部玩家来到线上,并提供可观的优惠补助,投入相当大的精力和资源来提高知名度、提升流量和销量。我们的目标是快速巩固与拓展我们现今的市场地位,同时开始寻求其他领域的电子商务机会。在我们的目标市场,我们看到相当大的机会。这个战略不是没有风险:它需要大量的投资和清晰明快的执行,以应对目标市场既有的领先玩家。

It’s All About the Long Term
这一切关乎长期

We believe that a fundamental measure of our success will be the shareholder value we create over the long term. This value will be a direct result of our ability to extend and solidify our current market leadership position. The stronger our market leadership, the more powerful our economic model. Market leadership can translate directly to higher revenue, higher profitability, greater capital velocity, and correspondingly stronger returns on invested capital.
我们深信,衡量成功的根本标准是我们为股东创造多少长期价值。我们拓展和巩固市场领先地位的能力,将会直接成为我们的长期价值。我们的市场领先地位越强大,我们的商业模式就越强大。市场领先地位可以直接解读为更高的收益、更强的获利能力、更快的资本周转速度,和更高的资本投资回报。

Our decisions have consistently reflected this focus. We first measure ourselves in terms of the metrics most indicative of our market leadership: customer and revenue growth, the degree to which our customers continue to purchase from us on a repeat basis, and the strength of our brand. We have invested and will continue to invest aggressively to expand and leverage our customer base, brand, and infrastructure as we move to establish an enduring franchise.
我们的决策始终反映了这个重点。衡量我们的市场领先状况,我们用的是最具代表的指标:消费者增长和收益增长、消费者重复购买次数,以及我们的品牌力量。我们过去持续投资于扩大客户群、品牌和基础设施,随着我们的市场领先地位日益巩固,我们还将继续积极投资于此。

Because of our emphasis on the long term, we may make decisions and weigh tradeoffs differently than some companies. Accordingly, we want to share with you our fundamental management and decision-making approach so that you, our shareholders, may confirm that it is consistent with your investment philosophy:
因为我们重视长期胜于短期,经过权衡取舍,我们也许会做出与某些公司不一样的决定。因此,我们想要和你分享我们的基本的管理和决策方法,让身为我们股东的你,可以确认它与你的投资理念一致。

We will continue to focus relentlessly on our customers.
我们将会持续致力于服务客户。
* • We will continue to make investment decisions in light of long-term market leadership considerations rather than short-term profitability considerations or short-term Wall Street reactions.
* • 我们将会持续根据长期市场领先地位做投资决策,而不是短期获利能力或是华尔街的短期反应。

* • We will continue to measure our programs and the effectiveness of our investments analytically, to jettison those that do not provide acceptable returns, and to step up our investment in those that work best. We will continue to learn from both our successes and our failures.
* • 我们将会持续衡量我们的计划和投资的有效性,舍弃仅能提供低回报的投资,加大表现最好的投资。我们将会持续从成功和失败中学习。

* • We will make bold rather than timid investment decisions where we see a sufficient probability of gaining market leadership advantages. Some of these investments will pay off, others will not, and we will have learned another valuable lesson in either case.
* • 当获得市场领先地位的可能性足够大时,我们将会做大胆的投资决策。有些投资会获得回报,有些则不会。无论是否获得回报,我们将会从投资中学习。

* • 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.
* • 当被迫在优化会计报表和最大化未来现金流的现值之间做选择时,我们会选择现金流。

* • We will share our strategic thought processes with you when we make bold choices (to the extent competitive pressures allow), so that you may evaluate for yourselves whether we are making rational long-term leadership investments.
* • 在允许的情况下,当我们做大胆的决策时,我们会和你分享我们决策过程中的思考,这样一来你就能评估我们是否在做合理的长期投资决策。

* • We will work hard to spend wisely and maintain our lean culture. We understand the importance of continually reinforcing a cost-conscious culture, particularly in a business incurring net losses.
* • 我们将理性花费金钱并维持我们的精益文化。我们了解强调注重成本的文化是多么的重要,尤其是在一间净亏损的公司里。

* • We will balance our focus on growth with emphasis on long-term profitability and capital management. At this stage, we choose to prioritize growth because we believe that scale is central to achieving the potential of our business model.
* • 我们将会在长期获利能力增长和资本管理之间取得平衡。在此阶段,我们优先考虑增长,因为我们认为规模对商业模式至关重要。

* • We will continue to focus on hiring and retaining versatile and talented employees, and continue to weight their compensation to stock options rather than cash. We know our success will be largely affected by our ability to attract and retain a motivated employee base, each of whom must think like, and therefore must actually be, an owner.
* • 我们将会持续注重聘雇与留用有才能的员工,以股票选择权而非现金来衡量他们的贡献。我们知道成功将奠基于我们是否能吸引人才,并建立一个积极进取的人才库。因为每个员工都必须像个老板一样去思考,因此员工本身必须就是Amazon的老板,这就是为什么我们提供员工股票选择权。

We aren’t so bold as to claim that the above is the "right" investment philosophy, but it’s ours, and we would be remiss if we weren’t clear in the approach we have taken and will continue to take.
我们不敢大胆地声称以上内容就是「正确」的投资哲学,但它的确是我们的经营哲学。如果我们不清楚自己奉行并坚守了怎样的哲学,我们就是失职的。

With this foundation, we would like to turn to a review of our business focus, our progress in 1997, and our outlook for the future.
在此基础上,我们回顾一下我们的业务重点,1997年的进展以及未来展望。

Obsess Over Customers
一切为了消费者

From the beginning, our focus has been on offering our customers compelling value. We realized that the Web was, and still is, the World Wide Wait. Therefore, we set out to offer customers something they simply could not get any other way, and began serving them with books. We brought them much more selection than was possible in a physical store (our store would now occupy 6 football fields), and presented it in a useful, easy-to-search, and easy-to-browse format in a store open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. We maintained a dogged focus on improving the shopping experience, and in 1997 substantially enhanced our store. We now offer customers gift certificates, 1-Click(SM) shopping, and vastly more reviews, content, browsing options, and recommendation features. We dramatically lowered prices, further increasing customer value. Word of mouth remains the most powerful customer acquisition tool we have, and we are grateful for the trust our customers have placed in us. Repeat purchases and word of mouth have combined to make Amazon.com the market leader in online bookselling.
从一开始,我们的重点一直都是向消费者提供价值。我们意识到,Web以前是,而且现在依然只是全球范围的等待(World Wide Wait)。因此,我们着手为消费者提供无法在别处得到的东西,并开始向他们提供书籍。我们带给他们远超实体店面的书籍选择(Amazon商店的书籍可以占满6个足球场),在一年365天,每天24小时开放的商店中,以实用、易于搜索和浏览的方式展售书籍。我们执着于改进消费体验,并于1997年大幅改进商店。我们现在向消费者提供礼券、一键购物,以及更多的评论、内容、浏览选择和推荐功能。我们大幅降低价格,进一步向消费者提供更多价值。口碑仍是我们最强大的获客手段。对于消费者的信任,我们很感谢。重复购买和口碑,两者结合造就Amazon在书籍电商领域的市场领先地位。

By many measures, Amazon.com came a long way in 1997:
从许多方面来看,Amazon在1997年取得了长足的进步:

* • Sales grew from $15.7 million in 1996 to $147.8 million — an 838% increase.
* • 消费额增长838%,从1996年的1570万,提升到1亿4780万。

* • Cumulative customer accounts grew from 180,000 to 1,510,000 — a 738% increase.
* • 消费者账户数增长738%,从18万,提升到151万。

* • The percentage of orders from repeat customers grew from over 46% in the fourth quarter of 1996 to over 58% in the same period in 1997.
* • 1996年第四季度,由旧用户购买产生的订单,占整体订单的46%,1997年第四季度则提升至超过58%。

* • In terms of audience reach, per Media Metrix, our Web site went from a rank of 90th to within the top 20.
* • 从受众触及的角度而言,Amazon的网站排名从90名,提升到前20名。

* • We established long-term relationships with many important strategic partners, including America Online, Yahoo!, Excite, Netscape, GeoCities, AltaVista, @Home, and Prodigy.
* • 我们与以下重要战略伙伴建立长期关系:美国在线(America Online)、雅虎(Yahoo!)、入口网站Excite、网景(Netscape)、地球村(GeoCities)、搜索引擎AltaVista、零售商@Home和在线服务商Prodigy。

Infrastructure
关于基础建设

During 1997, we worked hard to expand our business infrastructure to support these greatly increased traffic, sales, and service levels:
为了支撑起这些大幅增加的流量、销售和服务水平,在1997年,我们努力拓展基础建设:

* • Amazon.com’s employee base grew from 158 to 614, and we significantly strengthened our management team.
* • Amazon的员工从158人提升至614人,我们大幅加强管理团队。

* • Distribution center capacity grew from 50,000 to 285,000 square feet, including a 70% expansion of our Seattle facilities and the launch of our second distribution center in Delaware in November.
* • 配送中心从5万平方英尺提升至28万5千平方英尺,其中包含我们西雅图工厂扩建70%空间,以及我们位于特拉华州(Delaware),11月要启动的第二个配送中心。

* • Inventories rose to over 200,000 titles at year-end, enabling us to improve availability for our customers.
* • 到了年底,存货将超过20万种,消费者将会有更多选择。
* • Our cash and investment balances at year-end were $125 million, thanks to our initial public offering in May 1997 and our $75 million loan, affording us substantial strategic flexibility.

* • 得益于1997年5月的首次公开募股,以及7500万美元的贷款,到年底,我们的现金和投资余额为1亿2500万,为我们提供了极大的战略灵活性。

Our Employees
关于员工

The past year’s success is the product of a talented, smart, hard-working group, and I take great pride in being a part of this team. 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.
一个才华洋溢、聪明且勤奋的团队,造就了过去一年的成功,身为团队的一份子,我感到很自豪。在招聘中树立高标准,一直是而且将继续成为Amazon成功的最重要元素。

It’s not easy to work here (when I interview people I tell them, “You can work long, hard, or smart, but at Amazon.com you can’t choose two out of three”), but we are working to build something important, something that matters to our customers, something that we can all tell our grandchildren about. Such things aren’t meant to be easy. We are incredibly fortunate to have this group of dedicated employees whose sacrifices and passion build Amazon.com.
在Amazon工作并不容易(当我面试时,我告诉面试者「你可以长期、努力或聪明地工作,但在Amazon你三项都要具备),我们正在努力打造一些对消费者来说很重要的东西,那些是值得告诉孙子孙女的东西。这样的事必然不容易。我们非常幸运地拥有一群敬业的员工,他们的奉献精神和热情造就了Amazon。

Goals for 1998
关于明年目标

We are still in the early stages of learning how to bring new value to our customers through Internet commerce and merchandising. Our goal remains to continue to solidify and extend our brand and customer base. This requires sustained investment in systems and infrastructure to support outstanding customer convenience, selection, and service while we grow. We are planning to add music to our product offering, and over time we believe that other products may be prudent investments. We also believe there are significant opportunities to better serve our customers overseas, such as reducing delivery times and better tailoring the customer experience. To be certain, a big part of the challenge for us will lie not in finding new ways to expand our business, but in prioritizing our investments.
我们仍处于早期阶段,学习着如何透过电子商务提供消费者新价值。我们的目标依然是继续巩固和拓展我们的品牌和消费族群。这要求我们持续在系统和基础建设上进行投资,在我们不断成长的同时,提供杰出的服务。我们计划将音乐加入到我们提供的产品选项中,其他产品则是我们认为须谨慎对待的投资选项。我们认为有很多机会可以为海外客户提供更好的服务,例如减少交货时间和打造更好的消费体验。可以肯定的是,对我们而言,最大的挑战不是寻找拓展业务的新方法,而是对投资进行优先排序。

We now know vastly more about online commerce than when Amazon.com was founded, but we still have so much to learn. Though we are optimistic, we must remain vigilant and maintain a sense of urgency. The challenges and hurdles we will face to make our long-term vision for Amazon.com a reality are several: aggressive, capable, well-funded competition; considerable growth challenges and execution risk; the risks of product and geographic expansion; and the need for large continuing investments to meet an expanding market opportunity. However, as we’ve long said, online bookselling, and online commerce in general, should prove to be a very large market, and it’s likely that a number of companies will see significant benefit. We feel good about what we’ve done, and even more excited about what we want to do.
与Amazon成立之初相比,我们现在对电子商务的了解增加许多,但是我们还有很多东西要学习。尽管我们很乐观,但我们必须持续警惕并保持紧迫感。为实现Amazon的长期愿景,我们将面临的挑战与障碍包括:与积极、有能力且资金充裕的对手竞争;巨大的增长挑战和执行风险;产品和地域扩张的风险;以及为了满足不断扩大的市场所需的大量投资。然而,正如我们前面早已说过的,在线图书销售和整个电子商务应该是一个非常大的市场,并且很可能会有许多公司从中受益。我们认为我们所做的事情是好事,而且对于我们想做的事情感到更加兴奋。

1997 was indeed an incredible year. We at Amazon.com are grateful to our customers for their business and trust, to each other for our hard work, and to our shareholders for their support and encouragement.
1997年确实是令人难以置信的一年。Amazon对客户的信任、员工的辛勤工作,以及股东的支持和鼓励充满感谢。

Jeffrey P. Bezos
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Amazon.com, Inc.
杰夫·贝佐斯
Amazon创始人暨CEO

我的观点

很明显,贝索斯是一个长期主义者。就凭这24封信,每一封都会提到第一封的这个内容,他是在提醒投资者,他是一个长期主义者。

贝索斯开始就说,电子商务其实还是一个新的东西,但是他相信电子商务会给消费者带来价值。还说了具体的方向,那就是透过个性化服务,电子商务将会加速人们发掘新事物的过程。

亚马逊现在的目标就是增长,利用增长来占领市场。市场越大就意味着更高的收益、更强的获利能力、更快的资本周转速度,和更高的资本投资回报,也就是给投资者的汇报更多。

然后还说了,口碑仍是亚马逊最强大的获客手段。重复购买和口碑,两者结合造就Amazon在书籍电商领域的市场领先地位。对于亚马逊来讲,最大的挑战不是寻找拓展业务的新方法,而是对投资进行优先排序,这其实就是说,投资选择的问题,方法他们已经有了。

其实开始亚马逊以卖书来打电子商务确实是一个非常好的办法,因为书属于没有差异的东西,而且很好存储,不会过期,每个人都会有需求。开始的时候,批量进货会有低价,然后以低于本地商店的价格来卖,确实带来了很多的尝鲜的用户。

对于长期主义,我是有一定的体会的。

其实并不是每一件事情都值得用长期主义的策略去做,要坚持长期主义就需要我们付出的行动是否真的会带来指数级的回报。还有就是在这个过程中,是否可以做到抵抗诱惑,放弃一些东西。能够做到长期主义的人,其实都是少数人。

以我的经验,开始的时候多想想困难,其实反而容易坚持下来。最好是在坚持长期主义这个过程中,要做到享受过程,不然真的很难拒绝诱惑。

第一封信:长期主义”的一个响应

亚马逊致股东信解读 – Pxiaoer's Blog进行回复 取消回复

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