第四封信: 我们依然会越变越好



To our shareholders:

Ouch. It’s been a brutal year for many in the capital markets and certainly for http://Amazon.com shareholders. As of this writing, our shares are down more than 80% from when I wrote you last year. Nevertheless, by almost any measure, http://Amazon.com the company is in a stronger position now than at any time in its past.

  • • We served 20 million customers in 2000, up from 14 million in 1999.
  • • 2000年,我们服务了2000万消费者;1999年,这个数字只有1400万。
  • • Sales grew to $2.76 billion in 2000 from $1.64 billion in 1999.
  • • 2000年,销售额增长至27.6亿;1999年,这个数字只有16.4亿。
  • • Pro forma operating loss shrank to 6% of sales in Q4 2000, from 26% of sales in Q4 1999.
  • • 2000年,预估营业亏损在第四季度下降至6%;1999年,这个数字是26%。
  • • Pro forma operating loss in the U.S. shrank to 2% of sales in Q4 2000, from 24% of sales in Q4 1999.
  • • 2000年,美国市场的预估营业亏损在第四季度下降至2%;1999年,这个数字是24%。
  • • Average spend per customer in 2000 was $134, up 19%.
  • • 2000年,每个用户平均消费金额提升19%,来到134元。
  • • Gross profit grew to $656 million in 2000, from $291 million in 1999, up 125%.
  • • 2000年,毛利润增长至6.56亿元;1999年,这个数字是2.91亿元。
  • • Almost 36% of Q4 2000 U.S. customers purchased from one of our ”non-BMV’’ stores such as electronics, tools, and kitchen.
  • • 2000年第四季度,美国消费者中有36%从我们的「非BMV」商店购买像是电子产品、工具和厨房用品等商品。
  • • International sales grew to $381 million in 2000, from $168 million in 1999.
  • • 2000年,国际销售额增长至3.81亿元;1999年,这个数字是1.68亿元。
  • • We helped our partner http://Toysrus.com sell more than $125 million of toys and video games in Q4 2000.
  • • 2000年,我们帮助销售伙伴玩具反斗城(Toysrus)销售超过1.25亿的玩具和电动游戏。
  • • We ended 2000 with cash and marketable securities of $1.1 billion, up from $706 million at the end of 1999, thanks to our early 2000 euroconvert financing. And, most importantly, our heads-down focus on the customer was reflected in a score of 84 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
  • • 2000年末,得益于年初的euroconvert融资,我们的现金和有价证券从1.06亿增加至11亿美元。 更重要的是,我们对客户的重视与投入,反映在“美国客户满意度指数(American Customer Satisfaction Index)”中,我们获得了84分。
  • • We are told this is the highest score ever recorded for a service company in any industry.
  • • 我们被告知,这是在各行业中有史以来所获得的最高分。

So, if the company is better positioned today than it was a year ago, why is the stock price so much lower than it was a year ago? As the famed investor Benjamin Graham said, ”In the short term, the stock market is a voting machine; in the long term, it’s a weighing machine.’’ Clearly there was a lot of voting going on in the boom year of’99—and much less weighing. We’re a company that wants to be weighed, and over time, we will be—over the long term, all companies are. In the meantime, we have our heads down working to build a heavier and heavier company.
为什么公司今天远比一年前更好,股价会比去年同期低那么多?正如著名的投资者本杰明·格雷厄姆(Benjamin Graham)所说:「短期来看,股市是一台投票机;长期来看,它是一台秤重机。」很显然,1999年繁荣发展时,短期投票者众,而长期权衡者少。我们是一间希望被长期秤量价值的公司,随着时间流逝,我们会证明这点。同时,我们会埋首打造一间越来越重,值得被放上秤重机的公司。

Many of you have heard me talk about the ”bold bets” that we as a company have made and will continue to make—these bold bets have included everything from our investment in digital and wireless technologies, to our decision to invest in smaller e-commerce companies, including http://living.com and Pets.com, both of which shut down operations in 2000. We were significant shareholders in both and lost a significant amount of money on both.

We made these investments because we knew we wouldn’t ourselves be entering these particular categories any time soon, and we believed passionately in the ”land rush” metaphor for the Internet. Indeed, that metaphor was an extraordinarily useful decision aid for several years starting in 1994, but we now believe its usefulness largely faded away over the last couple of years. In retrospect, we significantly underestimated how much time would be available to enter these categories and underestimated how difficult it would be for single-category e-commerce companies to achieve the scale necessary to succeed.

Online selling (relative to traditional retailing) is a scale business characterized by high fixed costs and relatively low variable costs. This makes it difficult to be a medium-sized e-commerce company. With a long enough financing runway, http://Pets.com and http://living.com may have been able to acquire enough customers to achieve the needed scale. But when the capital markets closed the door on financing Internet companies, these companies simply had no choice but to close their doors. As painful as that was, the alternative—investing more of our own capital in these companies to keep them afloat—would have been an even bigger mistake.
在线电商(相对于传统零售)是一个规模化的业务,其特点是固定成本高而变动成本低。这样的业务特性,使得中型规模的电子商务公司难以维持。有了较长远的融资后,http://Pets.com和http://living.com已经尽可能地吸引足够的客户来达到所需的规模。 然而,当资本市场关闭了向互联网公司融资的大门时,这些公司别无选择,只能关门大吉。 和关门一样痛苦的是,另一种选择(将更多的自有资金投资于这些公司以维持其生存)将是一个更大的错误。

Future: Real Estate Doesn’t Obey Moore’s Law.

Let’s move to the future. Why should you be optimistic about the future of e-commerce and the future of Amazon.com?

Industry growth and new customer adoption will be driven over the coming years by relentless improvements in the customer experience of online shopping. These improvements in customer experience will be driven by innovations made possible by dramatic increases in available bandwidth, disk space, and processing power, all of which are getting cheap fast.

Price performance of processing power is doubling about every 18 months (Moore’s Law), price performance of disk space is doubling about every 12 months, and price performance of bandwidth is doubling about every 9 months. Given that last doubling rate, http://Amazon.com will be able to use 60 times as much bandwidth per customer 5 years from now while holding our bandwidth cost per customer constant. Similarly, price performance improvements in disk space and processing power will allow us to, for example, do ever more and better real-time personalization of our Web site.

In the physical world, retailers will continue to use technology to reduce costs, but not to transform the customer experience. We too will use technology to reduce costs, but the bigger effect will be using technology to drive adoption and revenue. We still believe that some 15% of retail commerce may ultimately move online.
在真实世界中,零售商将会持续运用技术,在不改变消费者体验的情况下降低成本。我们也会运用技术降低成本,并透过技术促使更多用户使用电商和提升收入。 我们仍然认为,大约15%的零售交易,最终可能会转移到在线。

While there are no foregone conclusions, and we still have much to prove, http://Amazon.com today is a unique asset. We have the brand, the customer relationships, the technology, the fulfillment infrastructure, the financial strength, the people, and the determination to extend our leadership in this infant industry and to build an important and lasting company. And we will do so by keeping the customer first.

The year 2001 will be an important one in our development. Like 2000, this year will be a year of focus and execution. As a first step, we’ve set the goal of achieving a pro forma operating profit in the fourth quarter. While we have a tremendous amount of work to do and there can be no guarantees, we have a plan to get there, it’s our top priority, and every person in this company is committed to helping with that goal. I look forward to reporting to you our progress in the coming year.

As I usually do, I’ve appended our 1997 letter, our first letter to shareholders. It gets more interesting every year that goes by, in part because so little has changed. I especially draw your attention to the section entitled ”It’s All About the Long Term.’’

We at http://Amazon.com remain 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. Many, many thanks.

Jeffrey P. Bezos
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Amazon.com, Inc.



一个公司,在危机的时候,其实能活下来就算胜利了。亚马逊当时是上市公司,业绩也在增长,应该是可以过冬的。 但是2000年的这次危机,很多公司都没有躲过。



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