第二封信: 客户至上

在第一封信中,贝索斯提到了要痴迷于用户,要增长就要打造口碑,因为口碑和复购让亚马逊的图书业务上成为领导者。在第二封信 ,他继续强调客户至上。

第二封信中英文对照:

To our shareholders, customers, and employees:
致我们的股东、消费者和员工:

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 http://Amazon.com Auctions.
过去三年半非常精彩刺激。在美国市场,我们启动三个项目,音乐、影片和礼物商店。海外市场部分,我们在英国、德国启动Amazon服务,最近,我们上线了Amazon二手拍卖服务。我们一共服务了620万名消费者,并在1998年达到10亿美元运行率。

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.
我们预测下一个三年半只会更精彩。我们致力于打造一个在线平台,成千上万个消费者可以在这里找到任何东西。对于互联网来说,这只是第一天。如果我们业务计划执行的好,这也会是Amazon的第一天。过去比我们想象的精彩,因此我们很难预估未来会发生什么。我们认为未来的机会比过去更多,但风险也比过去更大。我们将需要做出一些大胆而颠覆传统的决定,其中一部分决定会造就我们,另一部分决定则会失败。

A Recap of 1998
回顾1998年

Heads-down focus on customers helped us make substantial progress in 1998:
致力专注于客户,让我们在1998年获得长足的进步:

• Sales grew from $148 million in 1997 to $610 million – a 313% increase.
• 销售额增长313%,从1997年的1亿4800万提升至6.1亿。

• 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%.
• 消费者账户数增长超过300%,从1997年年底的150万,提升至1998年年底的620万。

• Despite this strong new customer growth, the percentage of orders placed on the http://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
• 新用户增长迅猛,而旧用户的再消费订单也有所提升。1997年年底,由旧用户重复购买产生的订单比例为58%,1998年同一时间,此比例提升至超过64%。

• Our first major product expansion, the http://Amazon.com music store, became the leading online music retailer in its first full quarter.
• 我们的主力产品,Amazon音乐商店,完整上线一季后在音乐零售市场取得领先

• Following their October launch under the Amazon brand and with http://Amazon.com technology, the combined fourth-quarter sales in the U.K. and German stores nearly quadrupled over the third quarter, establishing http://Amazon.co.uk and http://Amazon.de as the leading online booksellers in their markets.
• 自十月启动后,Amazon在英国和德国的第四季度销售额,相较于第三季度增长4倍。在英国和德国市场,Amazon成为在线书店的市场领先者。

• 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.
• 在音乐加入服务之后,录像带和礼物也在11月加入。随之而来的结果是,我们在6周之后成为在线录像带零售的市场领先者。

• 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.
• 第四季度的销售额中,有25%是来自全新业务,分别是新开的英国站、德国站带来的销售额,以及新的Amazon服务,音乐、录像带和礼物销售。

• We significantly improved the customer experience, with innovations like 1- ClickSM shopping, Gift Click, store-wide sales rank, and instant recommendations.
• 我们大幅改进消费体验,提供一键购物、礼物卡和全站销售排行和推荐功能。

1998’s revenue and customer growth and achievement of continued growth in 1999 were and are dependent on expansion of our infrastructure. Some highlights:
1998年的营收和用户增长的好表现,要能延续到1999年,将有赖于基础设施的投入。其中包括:

• In 1998 our employee base grew from approximately 600 to over 2,100, and we significantly strengthened our management team.
• 1998年,我们的员工人数从600人提升到2100人,显著的强化我们的管理团队。

• 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.
• 我们设立了英国和德国的配送与客服中心。明年初,将在内华达州弗恩利(Fernley)租用一间高度机械化的配送中心,占地32.3万平方英尺。这将使我们的配送能力提升两倍以上,进一步缩短货物寄送时间。

• 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.
• 库存数量从年初的900万,将于年底进一步提升到3000万。这将使消费者更容易买到他们要的东西,同时由于直接向制造商购买,能进一步压低价钱。

• 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.
• 1998年5月,我们发行了高收益债券。1999年初,我们发行可转换债券。因此,我们的现金和投资余额现已超过15亿美元,为我们提供了充裕的财务实力和战略灵活性。

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.
我们很幸运地受益于一个以现金流和资本效率为导向的商业模式。由于我们没有建立实体商店,因此不用受制于商店里的存货。集中化分销模式使我们能够以3000万元的存货、3000万元的厂房和设备,建立一个10亿元的业务。 1998年,我们的经营活动一共产生了3100万元的现金流,足以抵销固定资产增加额2800万。

Our Customers
关于顾客

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 http://Amazon.com and tell their friends about us because of the selection, ease-of-use, low prices, and service that we deliver.
我们致力于打造世界最以客户为中心的公司。关于客户和品牌,我们认为以下两点是不证自明的:客户敏锐而聪明,品牌印象源自于真实作为。客户告诉我们,他们选择Amazon,而且将Amazon推荐给他们的朋友,是因为品项、易用性、低价和服务。

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.
即使辛苦,我们也不能停下脚步。我持续提醒员工,我们要生于忧患,死于安乐。不是为了竞争,而是为了客户。客户与我们建立关系,我们对他们负有重大责任,是我们的客户使我们业务茁壮。我们相信他们过去是我们的客户,现在是我们的客户,未来也会是我们的客,除非有人提供他们比我们更好的服务。

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.
我们必须致力于改善、实验和创新。我们乐于开拓,这根植于我们的基因。这是一件再好不过的事,因为我们需要开拓才能成功。我们持续不断的创新,专注于客户体验,对此我们感到很自豪。1998年,我们坚持的价值观反映在我们的成绩上:一如我们原有的在线书店业务,我们的音乐、录像带、英国站和德国站,都是同类中最好的领先者。

Work Hard, Have Fun, Make History
努力工作,尽力玩,然后创造历史

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.
如果不是跟一群非凡的人共事,想要在互联网如此变化迅猛的环境中做出成绩,可说是不可能的任务。我们原本就认为创造历史是件不容易的事,在开始做了之后,我们验证了确实如此。现在,我们拥有2100名聪明、努力、热情的团队成员,他们总是把客户放在第一位。树立很高的招募门坎,并持续保持高标准,是Amazon成功的重要元素。

During our hiring meetings, we ask people to consider three questions before making a decision:
招募新成员时,我们会要求决策者把以下三个问题考虑清楚:

• 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.
• 你会敬佩这个人吗?如果你回想自己生活敬佩的人,他们往往是那些你可以学习或借鉴的人。就我自己而言,我总是争取只和我敬佩的人共事,我鼓励员工和我一样高标准。

• 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!”
• 这个人会提升整个团队的效率吗?熵(Entropy)总是倾向增加,而我们想要与之对抗。为了达到这个标准,我们的门坎会持续提高。我会请公司成员想象五年之后的入职门坎,我希望我们所有人在五年后都会说:「门坎现在也太高了吧!兄弟,好险我五年就进入Amazon!」

• 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!”
• 这个人可能会在多大程度上成为明星员工?许多人有独一无二的技能、兴趣和观点,这让我们的工作环境更加丰富。有时候,这跟他们的工作无关。我还记得1978年我曾和一名全国拼字比赛冠军共事,我想这对她的日常工作没有直接帮助,但却让我们工作环境更有趣了!尤其是当我们在大厅遇到她,突然给她一个拼音挑战:「状声词(onomatopoeia)怎么拚?」

Goals for 1999
关于明年目标

As we look forward, we believe that the overall e-commerce opportunity is enormous, and 1999 will be an important year. Although http://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.
当我们把目光放远看向未来,我们相信电子商务的机会是巨大的,而1999年会是一个重要的关键年份。虽然Amazon占据了市场领先地位,但未来的竞争一定会更加剧烈。为了提高运营效率,我们计划大力投资于基础建设,以服务成千上万消费者,使数十亿营收的目标成为可能。虽然这样的前瞻投资所费不赀,亦包含随之而来的许多风险,我们仍相信这样做将提供我们的客户最好的端到端(End-to-end)用户体验,因而给投资人风险最低的长期价值。

The elements of our 1999 plan may not surprise you:
以下是我们1999年的计划,可能难以让你耳目一新:

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.
配送能力−为了确保我们能够支持所有客户的需求,我们必须提升配送效率及产品库存。为此我们倾向于建设基础设施,以建立强大的配送体系。

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 24×7 basis.
系统能力−我们将会扩大系统能力,以支持高水平的增长。系统团队有个重要的任务:扩展系统以满足近期增长需求,重建系统以满足未来数十亿元、用户上千万的业务需求,为新计划开发功能和系统,以及提升运营效率。一切都是为了要确保我们的数十亿元、用户800万的业务,能够全天候运行良好。

Brand promise − http://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.
品牌承诺-相较于大型线下零售商,Amazon仍是一个小而年轻的公司。在这个关键时期,我们必须确保能够建立一个广泛而牢固的客户关系。

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. http://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 http://www.amazon.com and click on the Auctions tab. As an http://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.
拓展产品和系统服务−明年我们将持续提升现有产品和系统服务的规模,同时增加新项目。Amazon拍卖是我们近期的最新项目。如果你们还没试过这项新服务,我建议你赶快试一试。访问Amazon网站,然后展开拍卖分页。作为Amazon的客户,你可以注册为拍卖方或出价方。作为拍卖方的你,可以触及Amazon站上800万用户,他们都是懂得使用在线购物的消费者。

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.
人才储备−我们的业务日益复杂,新产品、新服务、新地区、新收购加入到我们的商业模式中。我们倾向于投资在团队、流程、沟通和人力发展。如何规模化是我们的最大挑战。

http://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.
过去一年,Amazon取得长足的进步,但我们依然有很多东西要学,依然有很多东西要做。我们依然乐观,但我们也知道必须保持警惕,维持一种紧迫感。我们面对许多挑战和障碍,其中包括心态、能力和资金的竞争;增长的挑战和扩张的风险;长期持续的投资。这一切都是为了要迎向不断扩大的市场机会。

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!
这封信最重要的事,我在去年的信已经说过,那就是阐明我们的长期投资哲学。因为我们有许多新的股东(去年我们印了1.3万封致股东信,今年我们印了超过20万封),我们在今年致股东信的结尾副上去年的致股东信。希望你能够阅读「这一切关乎长期」的段落。你也许会想要读第二次,以确保我们的确是你想投资的公司。如同我们曾说的,我们不敢保证长期主义是绝对正确的,我们只是表达那是我们所遵循的!

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.
再次衷心感谢我们的客户,股东和全体员工。我们的员工每天都在热情地工作,以建立一个重要且长久的公司。

Jeffrey P. Bezos
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Amazon.com, Inc.
杰夫·贝索斯斯
Amazon创始人暨CEO

我的观点

1998年,亚马逊的增长是非常迅速的,开始了音乐,影片礼物商店。海外开了英国和德国,还上线了二手拍卖服务。销售额增长三倍,用户增长三倍,员工也增加了三倍,老用户复购率也增加了,新业务加入进来就成为了领导者。这一年是亚马逊疯狂扩展的一年。

他信的重点其实还是关于顾客那一段。贝索斯说亚马逊 打造世界最以客户为中心的公司,他认为客户是聪明的,选择亚马逊是因为亚马逊提供了高价值的服务,希望依靠口碑来扩展。亚马逊想创造历史,就需要以顾客为中心,持续保持高标准。

贝索斯对于招聘的三个问题,我觉得也挺好,后面可以参考。

  1. 你会敬佩这个人吗?
    2.这个人会提高整个团队的工作效率吗?
    3.这个人可能会成为明星员工吗?

创业过程中,团队是最重要的,需要拿非常多的时间用来招聘。

关于顾客至上,我想到了哈佛商学院案例课里面说的顾客效益。

对用户来说,产品的参数、指标、性能,这些信息,都不够直观,他们更想明确地知道,这些东西,到底能解决什么样的问题,给自己带来什么样的作用和价值——也就是“顾客效益”(customer benefits)。

这其实就是双赢的一种思维,需要换位思维,站在顾客的立场上,去看他们可能获得什么样的效益。想要靠口碑来增长,就需要从需求来定义自己,而不是从产品来定义自己,解决那些最本质的,最底层的需求。

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