第十五封信:自助服务,降低门槛

第十五封信中英文对照:

To our shareowners:

致我们的股东:

The Power of Invention

发明的力量

“To us, the value of Amazon Web Services is undeniable – in twenty seconds, we can double our server capacity. In a high-growth environment like ours and with a small team of developers, it’s very important for us to trust that we have the best support to give to the music community around the world. Five years ago, we would have crashed and been down without knowing when we would be back. Now, because of Amazon’s continued innovation, we can provide the best technology and continue to grow.” That’s Christopher Tholen, the Chief Technology Officer of BandPage. His comments about how AWS helps with the critical need to scale compute capacity quickly and reliably are not hypothetical: BandPage now helps 500,000 bands and artists connect with tens of millions of fans.

「对我们来说,没有人可以否定AWS的高价值。20秒内,我们就能将服务器的容量提高一倍。我们的增长速度极快,且仅有为数不多的开发人员。我们相信Amazon的服务可以提供全世界的音乐社群最好支持。5年前,我们的服务器早就该崩溃倒下。然而,在Amazon的不断创新之下,我们现在可以提供全世界最好的技术,并不断发展。」BandPage的首席技术官Christopher Tholen对此给出以下评论:Amazon提升计算能力的速度之快、技术之稳定并不是空谈,有了AWS的技术支持,BandPage现在可以帮助50万个乐团和艺术家与他们的千万粉丝建立联系。

“So, I started selling on Amazon in April of 2011, and by the time we became the top Amazon lunchbox seller in June, we had between 50 and 75 orders a day. When we hit August and September – our busiest time, with the start of the school year – we had 300, sometimes 500 orders a day. It was just phenomenal… I’m using Amazon to fulfill my orders, which makes my life easier. Plus, when my customers found out they could get free shipping with Prime subscriptions, the lunchboxes began selling like crazy.” Kelly Lester is the “mom entrepreneur” of EasyLunchboxes, her own innovative line of easy-to-pack, environmentally friendly lunchbox containers.

「因此,我在2011年4月开始在Amazon上贩卖商品。当我们在6月成为Amazon最畅销的便当盒卖家时,我们一天能有50到75笔订单。我们最忙碌的月份8月和9月,也就是学校开学的月份,一天能卖出300笔订单,有时甚至能达到500笔。这是十分了不起的……我一直都在使用Amazon的服务来配送商品,这为我的生活减轻许多麻烦。另外,当我的客户发现他们可以用Prime服务买到免运的商品后,订单数开始暴增」EasyLunchboxes的「妈妈企业家」Kelly Lester如此说道。EasyLunchboxes是她自己的创新商品,特色是易于包装且环保。

“I sort of stumbled onto it, and it opened a whole new world for me. Since I had over a thousand [book] titles at my house, I thought, ‘I’ll give this a try.’ I sold some and I kept expanding it and expanding it, and come to find out this was so much fun I decided I don’t ever want to get another job again. And I’ve got no boss – other than my wife, that is. What could be better than that? We actually work together on this. We both go out hunting, so it’s a team effort that’s worked out very well. We sell about 700 books a month. We ship between 800 and 900 to Amazon each month and Amazon ships out the 700 that people buy. Without Amazon handling shipping and customer service, my wife and I would have to be running to the post office or someplace every day with dozens of packages. With that part taken care of for us, life is much simpler… This is a terrific program and I love it. After all, Amazon supplies the customers and even ships the books. I mean, how can it get better than that?” Bob Frank founded RJF Books and More after getting laid off in the midst of the economic downturn. He and his wife split their time between Phoenix and Minneapolis, and he describes finding the books he sells like “a treasure hunt every day.”

「我偶然发现Amazon,结果它为我打开了一个新的世界。由于我家里有上千本书,所以我想试着在Amazon上卖点书。我卖了一些书,然后不断扩张业务。接着,我发现这实在太有趣了,我决定不再寻找其他工作,专职做这项业务。没有老板,而且可以和妻子一起工作,有什么工作比这个工作更好呢?我们为此一起努力,外出寻宝找书,团队合作非常顺利。我们每个月向Amazon寄出800至900本书,可卖出其中约700本书,并由Amazon帮我们处理物流。没有Amazon的物流及客服服务,我和我的妻子需要每天扛着几十个包裹到快递收件中心寄货。有了这些服务,我们的生活变得更加简单。这是相当了不起的服务,我非常喜欢。毕竟,Amazon除了帮助我们销售,还帮我们处理物流,还有什么比这个服务更好?」在经济不景气中被裁员之后,Bob Frank创立了RJF Book。他和妻子花时间在凤凰城和明尼阿波利斯之间寻找书籍,他将这样的过程称之为「每日寻宝」。

“Because of Kindle Direct Publishing, I earn more royalties in one month than I ever did in a year of writing for a traditional house. I have gone from worrying about if I will be able to pay the bills – and there were many months when I couldn’t – to finally having real savings, even thinking about a vacation; something I haven’t done in years… Amazon has allowed me to really spread my wings. Prior, I was boxed into a genre, yet I had all of these other books I wanted to write. Now I can do just that. I manage my career. I feel as if I finally have a partner in Amazon. They understand this business and have changed the face of publishing for the good of the writer and the reader, putting choices back into our hands.” That’s A. K. Alexander, author of Daddy’s Home, one of the top 100 best-selling Kindle books in March.

「由于使用了Kindle自助出版(Kindle Direct Publishing),我在一个月内获得的版税比为传统出版社写作一年还多。过去我经常担心收入是否能支付生活开支,但现在我不用担心了。我开始有了积蓄,甚至考虑给自己放个假,假期可是我好几年想都不敢想的事。Amazon让我能够真正展翅高飞。以前,虽然我想写很多类型的书,但我往往会被出版社定型成特定类型的作家。现在,我可以写各种我想写的类型的书。我管理自己的事业,我感觉自己在Amazon中有合作伙伴。他们了解这项业务,并为作家和读者的利益改变了出版业的面貌,将选择权重新交到我们手上。」 《Daddy’s Home》是三月份最畅销的Kindle电子书之一,它的作者A. K. Alexander如此说道。

“I had no idea that March of 2010, the first month I decided to publish on KDP, would be a defining moment in my life. Within a year of doing so, I was making enough on a monthly basis to quit my day job and focus on writing full time! The rewards that have sprung out of deciding to publish through KDP have been nothing short of life changing. Financially. Personally. Emotionally. Creatively. The ability to write full time, to be home with my family, and to write exactly what I want without the input of a legacy publisher marketing committee wanting to have a say in every detail of my writing, has made me a stronger writer, a more prolific writer, and most importantly a far happier one…. Amazon and KDP are literally enabling creativity in the publishing world and giving writers like me a shot at their dream, and for that I am forever grateful.” That’s Blake Crouch, author of several thrillers, including the Kindle best seller Run.

「2010年3月,也是我使用Kindle自助出版的第一年,我当时并不知道,这将成为我生活的决定性时刻。在不到一年的时间里,我每个月都能够赚到足够的钱,让我能够辞掉工作,全职投入写作!使用Kindle自助出版服务的这个决定,大大的改变了我的生活,无论是从财务层面、个人层面、情感层面还是创意层面。能够全职写作、和家人更多的相处时间、没有传统出版商对细节的控制、写我想写的内容,这些使我成为一个更优秀、更多产、更快乐的作家。Amazon自助出版服务确实使出版界更能发挥创造力,并为像我这样的作家提供了实现梦想的机会,对此我非常感激。」Kindle畅销电子书《Run》及多本惊悚小说的作者Blake Crouch如此说道。

“Amazon has made it possible for authors like me to get their work in front of readers and has changed my life. In a little over a year, I have sold nearly 250,000 books through the Kindle and have traded in old dreams for bigger and better ones. Four of my books have hit the Top 100 Kindle Best Sellers List. Also, I have been approached by agents, foreign sales people, and two movie producers, and have received mentions in the LA Times, Wall Street Journal, and PC Magazine, and was recently interviewed by USA Today. Mostly, I am excited that all writers now have the opportunity to get their work in front of readers without jumping through insurmountable hoops. Writers have more options and readers have more choices. The publishing world is changing fast, and I plan to enjoy every minute of the ride.” Theresa Ragan is the KDP author of multiple Kindle best sellers including Abducted.

「Amazon让我这样的作家有机会在读者面前展示作品,改变了我的生活。在一年多的时间内,我透过Kindle售出近25万本书,用旧的梦想交换更大的新梦想。我有四本书进入Kindle畅销排行榜100名,代理商、国外销售人员和两个电影制片人和我联系合作事宜,《LA Times》、《Wall Street Journal》和《PC Magazine》对我进行介绍,而我最近还接受了《USA Today》的采访。让我感到兴奋的是,此时此刻任何作家都有机会在读者面前展示自己的作品。作家有了更多选择,读者也是。出版界瞬息万变,我享受每一分钟的旅程。」《Abducted》等多本Kindle畅销书作者Theresa Ragan如此说道。

“Past age 60 and in the midst of the recession, my wife and I found our income options severely limited. KDP was my one shot at a lifelong dream – our only chance at financial salvation. Within months of publishing, KDP has completely changed our lives, enabling this aging nonfiction writer to launch a brand-new career as a best-selling novelist. I can’t say enough on behalf of Amazon and the many tools that they make available to independent authors. Without reservation, I urge fellow writers to investigate and seize the opportunities that KDP offers. As I’ve happily discovered, there is zero downside risk – and the potential is virtually unlimited.” Robert Bidinotto is the author of the Kindle best seller Hunter: A Thriller.

「在经济衰退期间,我和我的妻子发现自己的收入来源选项很有限,此时我们已经60岁了。Kindle自助出版是我对毕生梦想的一次尝试-我们仅有的财务机遇。出版后几个月内,Kindle自助出版大大改变了我的生活,使一名年迈的非小说家,可以用新的身分-畅销小说作者重新开始。我并不能充分代表Amazon,他们为独立工作者提供很多工具。我毫无保留地鼓励其他作家研究Kindel自助出版,好好保握Amazon提供的机遇。我很高兴地发现,风险为零而潜力几乎无限。」Kindle畅销书《Hunter: A Triller》的作者Robert Bidinotto如此说道。

“I leveraged KDP’s technology to blow through all the traditional gatekeepers. Can you imagine how that feels, after struggling so hard, for so long, for every … single … reader? Now, inspirational fiction lovers I never would have reached are enjoying Nobody and my other two novels from the Kindle Store at $2.99. I’ve always wanted to write a Cinderella story. Now I have. And, thanks to Prince Charming (KDP), there will be more to come…” Creston Mapes is the author of the Kindle best seller Nobody.

「我利用Kindle自助出版,突破了所有传统出版业的桎梏。你能想象那种十分坚持才能得到一个又一个读者的感受吗?现在,我从未接触过的读者,正以2.99美元享受我所创作的小说。我一直希望能够写个像《灰姑娘》的故事,现在我实现了。感谢我的白马王子-Kindle自助出版,将来还会有更多好故事。」Kindle畅销书《Nobody》作者Creston Mapes如此说道。

Invention comes in many forms and at many scales. The most radical and transformative of inventions are often those that empower others to unleash their creativity – to pursue their dreams. That’s a big part of what’s going on with Amazon Web Services, Fulfillment by Amazon, and Kindle Direct Publishing. With AWS, FBA, and KDP, we are creating powerful self-service platforms that allow thousands of people to boldly experiment and accomplish things that would otherwise be impossible or impractical. These innovative, large-scale platforms are not zero-sum – they create win-win situations and create significant value for developers, entrepreneurs, customers, authors, and readers.

发明总是以多种形式、不同规模出现。其中,最激进且最具变革性的莫过于那些鼓励他人释放创造力、追求梦想的发明。AWS、Amazon物流和Kindle自助出版正是这样的发明。有了他们,我们正在创建一个强大的自助平台,让上千上万的人们可以大胆尝试,并完成原本不可能的事情。这些创新的大规模平台所开创的并非是一方有所得,他方必有所失的零和游戏,而是双赢局面,为开发者、企业家、消费者、作家和读者产生巨大价值。

Amazon Web Services has grown to have thirty different services and thousands of large and small businesses and individual developers as customers. One of the first AWS offerings, the Simple Storage Service, or S3, now holds over 900 billion data objects, with more than a billion new objects being added every day. S3 routinely handles more than 500,000 transactions per second and has peaked at close to a million transactions per second. All AWS services are pay-as-you-go and radically transform capital expense into a variable cost. AWS is self-service: you don’t need to negotiate a contract or engage with a salesperson – you can just read the online documentation and get started. AWS services are elastic – they easily scale up and easily scale down.

AWS已经发展成30种不同服务,客户包括成千上万个大小企业及个人开发者。AWS的首批产品之一,Simple Storage Service目前有超过9000亿个数据对象,每天还会增加超过10亿个数据对象。一般来说,Simple Storage Service每秒处理超过50万笔交易,峰值可达100万笔交易。所有AWS服务都是「随收随付制(pay-as-you-go)」,用多少才收多少,客户因此可以将固定的服务器支出,转为可变动成本。AWS是自助服务:你不需要和销售人员签订合约,只需要阅读在线文件之后,就可以开始使用。AWS服务有很大的弹性,可以轻松调整使用容量。

In just the last quarter of 2011, Fulfillment by Amazon shipped tens of millions of items on behalf of sellers. When sellers use FBA, their items become eligible for Amazon Prime, for Super Saver Shipping, and for Amazon returns processing and customer service. FBA is self-service and comes with an easy-to-use inventory management console as part of Amazon Seller Central. For the more technically inclined, it also comes with a set of APIs so that you can use our global fulfillment center network like a giant computer peripheral.

2011年的最后一个季度,Amazon配送服务为卖家们运送了数千万件商品。当卖家使用Amazon配送服务时,他们的商品可以搭配Prime会员服务、Super Saver Shipping和Amazon客服支持。Amazon配送服务是易于使用的自助服务,而且是库存管理后台(Amazon Seller Central)的重要组成。对于更倾向技术的使用者,它还提供了一组API,让使用者可以像使用大型计算器外围设备一样,使用我们的全球配送中心网络。

I am emphasizing the self-service nature of these platforms because it’s important for a reason I think is somewhat non-obvious: even well-meaning gatekeepers slow innovation. When a platform is self-service, even the improbable ideas can get tried, because there’s no expert gatekeeper ready to say “that will never work!” And guess what – many of those improbable ideas do work, and society is the beneficiary of that diversity.

我要再次强调这些平台的「自助服务」特性,因为我认为它容易被忽略,但却非常重要。即使是立意良好的管制,也会降低创新的速度。当一个平台的服务是自助式的,客户有什么新想法就可以立即尝试,因为没有人会跳出来说「别那么做!那行不通!」很多看似不可能的想法最后确实起作用,最终整个社会从这些点子中受益匪浅。

Kindle Direct Publishing has quickly taken on astonishing scale – more than a thousand KDP authors now each sell more than a thousand copies a month, some have already reached hundreds of thousands of sales, and two have already joined the Kindle Million Club. KDP is a big win for authors. Authors who use KDP get to keep their copyrights, keep their derivative rights, get to publish on their schedule – a typical delay in traditional publishing can be a year or more from the time the book is finished – and … saving the best for last … KDP authors can get paid royalties of 70%. The largest traditional publishers pay royalties of only 17.5% on ebooks (they pay 25% of 70% of the selling price which works out to be 17.5% of the selling price). The KDP royalty structure is completely transformative for authors. A typical selling price for a KDP book is a reader-friendly $2.99 – authors get approximately $2 of that! With the legacy royalty of 17.5%, the selling price would have to be $11.43 to yield the same $2 per unit royalty. I assure you that authors sell many, many more copies at $2.99 than they would at $11.43.

Kindle自助出版一推出之后,很快就发展到令人惊讶的规模-如今有上千名作家每月卖出超过1000册书籍,其中有两名作家甚至达到Kindle百万销量俱乐部。Kindle自助出版能大大帮助作者,作者可以透过它保有版权及衍生权利,可以在书籍完成后就计划出版,不用像传统出版一样等上一段时间。最有价值的是,使用Kindle自助出版的作者可以拿到70%版税。最大型的传统出版商只给电子书作者17.5%版税(70%版税再25%)。Kindle自助出版的版税计算方式对作者来说是非常创新的。一般来说,一本Kindle电子书的售价是2.99美元,其中作者大约可以得到2美元。以传统出版商17.5%版税的方式来计算,作者想要得到同样的2美元收入,需要卖掉的是一本定价高达11.43美元的书。我跟你保证,作者以较低的2.99美元价格销售,可以卖掉更多册书籍。

Kindle Direct Publishing is good for readers because they get lower prices, but perhaps just as important, readers also get access to more diversity since authors that might have been rejected by establishment publishing channels now get their chance in the marketplace. You can get a pretty good window into this. Take a look at the Kindle best-seller list, and compare it to the New York Times best-seller list – which is more diverse? The Kindle list is chock-full of books from small presses and self-published authors, while the New York Times list is dominated by successful and established authors.

Kindle自助出版对于读者来说也有好处,他们可以得到更便宜的书籍,以及更重要的是,还有更多样化的书籍,因为那些可能会被出版社拒绝的书籍,现在都有机会被出版,并且很容易被你找到。看一下Kindle的畅销排行榜你就会发现,与《New York Times》的畅销排行榜相比,Kindle的排行榜内容多样性比较高。Kindle的排行榜中挤满了小型出版社和自费出版的书籍,而《New York Times》的排行榜则以知名作家的著作为主。

Amazonians are leaning into the future, with radical and transformational innovations that create value for thousands of authors, entrepreneurs, and developers. Invention has become second nature at Amazon, and in my view the team’s pace of innovation is even accelerating – I can assure you it’s very energizing. I’m extremely proud of the whole team, and feel lucky to have a front row seat.

Amazon人正以崭新的、变革性的创新迈向未来,为成千上万的作家、企业家、开发者创造价值。创新已经成为Amazon的第二天性,团队的创新脚步越来越快。我可以向你保证,我们正踩着充满活力的步伐。我对于整个团队的表现感到十分自豪,拥有这个团队的前排座位我感到十分幸运。

As always, I attach a copy of our original 1997 letter. Our approach remains the same, and it’s still Day 1!

如同往常,我把我们在1997年写的致股东信附在文末。我们的价值观依然不变,今天依旧是Day 1。

Jeffrey P. Bezos

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Amazon.com, Inc.

杰夫·贝索斯

Amazon创始人暨CEO

我的观点

今年的信,讲了很多的用户故事。包括一个AWS客户的,一个亚马逊物流的和N个Kindle自出版业务。

这些都是一些成功案例,是帮助别人成功的案例。因为亚马逊很多的自助服务,客户可以不受限制的使用这些服务。 所以,客户有什么样的想法就可以去试试,没有限制。这能让客户成功。

其实自主属性是非常好的,这可以给客户无限制的服务,不限制客户的想法。想想,在没有云服务的时候,做一个网站,做个App会有多难。 云计算的发展,让很多时候都没有了门槛。包括亚马逊举的物流的例子和卖货的例子。 以前你想开点是很困难,现在在淘宝,亚马逊可能十分钟就可以有一个店铺,还提供了更多非常方便的服务,创业的门槛降得很低了。

这么看,其实国内的很多制度限制了创新的发展。

第十四封信:大力投入技术研发,为顾客服务

第十四封信中英文对照:

To our shareowners:

致我们的股东:

Random forests, naïve Bayesian estimators, RESTful services, gossip protocols, eventual consistency, data sharding, anti-entropy, Byzantine quorum, erasure coding, vector clocks … walk into certain Amazon meetings, and you may momentarily think you’ve stumbled into a computer science lecture.

随机森林(Random Forest)、朴素贝叶斯分类器(Naïve Bayesian Estimator)、表现层状态转换(RESTful Service)、Gossip Protocol、最终一致性(Eventual Consistency)、Data Sharding、逆熵(Anti-Entropy)、Byzantine Quorum、抹除码(Erasure Code)、向量时钟 (Vector Clock),走进某个Amazon会议中,你可能会以为自己走进某个计算器科学讲座。

Look inside a current textbook on software architecture, and you’ll find few patterns that we don’t apply at Amazon. We use high-performance transactions systems, complex rendering and object caching, workflow and queuing systems, business intelligence and data analytics, machine learning and pattern recognition, neural networks and probabilistic decision making, and a wide variety of other techniques. And while many of our systems are based on the latest in computer science research, this often hasn’t been sufficient: our architects and engineers have had to advance research in directions that no academic had yet taken. Many of the problems we face have no textbook solutions, and so we — happily — invent new approaches.

摊开一本最新的软件架构教科书,你会发现我们用上里头不少知识。我们使用了高性能的交易系统、Complex Rendering、Object Caching、工作流和排队系统、商业智能、数据分析、机器学习、模式识别、神经网络、概率决策以及其他多种技术。尽管我们很多系统都用上了最新的计算器科学研究,这依然还是不够。我们的架构师和工程师,不得不朝学术界的未知领域拓展技术边界。我们面临的很多问题,教科书上都没有答案。因此,我们乐于发明新方法。

Our technologies are almost exclusively implemented as services: bits of logic that encapsulate the data they operate on and provide hardened interfaces as the only way to access their functionality. This approach reduces side effects and allows services to evolve at their own pace without impacting the other components of the overall system. Service-oriented architecture — or SOA — is the fundamental building abstraction for Amazon technologies. Thanks to a thoughtful and far-sighted team of engineers and architects, this approach was applied at Amazon long before SOA became a buzzword in the industry. Our e-commerce platform is composed of a federation of hundreds of software services that work in concert to deliver functionality ranging from recommendations to order fulfillment to inventory tracking. For example, to construct a product detail page for a customer visiting Amazon.com, our software calls on between 200 and 300 services to present a highly personalized experience for that customer.

我们的技术几乎都是用服务的形式呈现:逻辑位封装了操作数据,并强化存取功能的接口。这样的做法降低了副作用,同时让服务以既有的步调迭代,而不影响系统的其他组件。服务导向架构(Service-Oriented Architecture)是Amazon的技术基石。感谢我们极富远见的工程师与架构师团队,我们在服务导向架构一词尚未成为业界流行语时就开始这么做了。我们的电子商务平台,由数百个联合工作的软件服务组成,以提供客户从推荐、订单执行到库存追踪的功能。举个例子,为了在产品详情页上提供客户个人化的推荐,我们的软件需要调用200到300个服务。

State management is the heart of any system that needs to grow to very large size. Many years ago, Amazon’s requirements reached a point where many of our systems could no longer be served by any commercial solution: our key data services store many petabytes of data and handle millions of requests per second. To meet these demanding and unusual requirements, we’ve developed several alternative, purpose-built persistence solutions, including our own key-value store and single table store. To do so, we’ve leaned heavily on the core principles from the distributed systems and database research communities and invented from there. The storage systems we’ve pioneered demonstrate extreme scalability while maintaining tight control over performance, availability, and cost. To achieve their ultra-scale properties these systems take a novel approach to data update management: by relaxing the synchronization requirements of updates that need to be disseminated to large numbers of replicas, these systems are able to survive under the harshest performance and availability conditions. These implementations are based on the concept of eventual consistency. The advances in data management developed by Amazon engineers have been the starting point for the architectures underneath the cloud storage and data management services offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). For example, our Simple Storage Service, Elastic Block Store, and SimpleDB all derive their basic architecture from unique Amazon technologies.

任何一个打算增长到极大规模的系统,其系统的核心都是状态管理。很多年前,Amazon就达到一个很大的规模,当时市面上的所有解决方案都无法满足我们的需求:我们的服务储存了好几PB的数据,每秒处理了上百万个请求。为了满足这些非同寻常的需求,我们开发出数个长期解决方案,包括我们自己的键-值数据库(Key-Value Store)和单表数据库(Single Table Store)。为此,我们以分布式系统及数据库的核心原理为基础进行发明创造。我们首创的数据库系统,展示出极高的可扩展性,同时保持了对性能、可用性和成本的良好平衡。为了实现超大规模的效能,这些系统采用了一种新办法来管理数据更新:降低同时发送大量副本的更新需求,使系统可以撑过高强度的挑战。这些做法都是为了同一个最终目标-数据同步。Amazon工程师开发的数据管理服务,已经成为AWS云计算服务的基础架构。举个例子,我们的Simple Storage Service、Elastic Block Store和SimpleDB服务,其基础架构都来自于Amazon的独家技术。

Other areas of Amazon’s business face similarly complex data processing and decision problems, such as product data ingestion and categorization, demand forecasting, inventory allocation, and fraud detection. Rulebased systems can be used successfully, but they can be hard to maintain and can become brittle over time. In many cases, advanced machine learning techniques provide more accurate classification and can self-heal to adapt to changing conditions. For example, our search engine employs data mining and machine learning algorithms that run in the background to build topic models, and we apply information extraction algorithms to identify attributes and extract entities from unstructured descriptions, allowing customers to narrow their searches and quickly find the desired product. We consider a large number of factors in search relevance to predict the probability of a customer’s interest and optimize the ranking of results. The diversity of products demands that we employ modern regression techniques like trained random forests of decision trees to flexibly incorporate thousands of product attributes at rank time. The end result of all this behind-the-scenes software? Fast, accurate search results that help you find what you want.

Amazon的各个业务领域也遇到类似的数据处理和决策问题,像是产品数据的采集与分类、需求预测、库存分配和诈欺预防。起初,建立于规则之上的系统可以很好地运行,但随着时间的推移,系统会越来越脆弱,越来越难以维持。在很多情况下,先进的机器学习可以提供更精准的分类,而且可以自我修复,以适应复杂多变的情况。举个例子,我们的搜索引擎使用数据挖掘和机器学习算法来建构模型,运用信息提取算法标识属性,从非结构化的描述中提取信息。如此一来,消费者可以缩小搜寻范围,快速找到所需产品。我们在相关性中考虑了很多因素,因此我们的搜寻功能可以预测消费者的兴趣,并优化搜寻结果的排行。商品的多样性,使我们必须采用现代回归技术,例如随机森林,让上千种商品属性可以灵活地排行。所有这些幕后努力换得什么?快速且精准的搜寻结果,帮助你找到你要的东西。

All the effort we put into technology might not matter that much if we kept technology off to the side in some sort of R&D department, but we don’t take that approach. Technology infuses all of our teams, all of our processes, our decision-making, and our approach to innovation in each of our businesses. It is deeply integrated into everything we do.

如果我们单纯将技术只放在研发部门,那我们迄今的努力可能没有什么效益。因此,我们并不是这么做的。技术为我们的团队、流程、决策和业务创新注入活力,技术与我们所做的一切紧密结合。

One example is Whispersync, our Kindle service designed to ensure that everywhere you go, no matter what devices you have with you, you can access your reading library and all of your highlights, notes, and bookmarks, all in sync across your Kindle devices and mobile apps. The technical challenge is making this a reality for millions of Kindle owners, with hundreds of millions of books, and hundreds of device types, living in over 100 countries around the world—at 24×7 reliability. At the heart of Whispersync is an eventually consistent replicated data store, with application defined conflict resolution that must and can deal with device isolation lasting weeks or longer. As a Kindle customer, of course, we hide all this technology from you. So when you open your Kindle, it’s in sync and on the right page. To paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, like any sufficiently advanced technology, it’s indistinguishable from magic.

Kindle的Whispersync技术就是一个很好的例子。无论你在哪里,手里拿着什么装置,你都可以透过Kindle和移动应用,存取你的阅读纪录、重点集锦、笔记和书签。我们遇到的技术挑战是,提供一天24小时全年无休的服务,让遍及全球的用户可以在上百种装置中随时取得数以亿计的书籍。Whispersync的核心是数据同步技术,它可以解决装置多周不联网后,数据同步时会遇到的冲突问题。当然,作为Kindle的用户,你不用也不需要知道这些繁复的技术细节。当你打开Kindle之后,它会出现在右侧进行同步。用英国科幻作家Clarke的话来说就是,先进的科技和魔术没什么区别。

Now, if the eyes of some shareowners dutifully reading this letter are by this point glazing over, I will awaken you by pointing out that, in my opinion, these techniques are not idly pursued – they lead directly to free cash flow.

如果你们之中的有些人,读到这里时感到茫然,不知道追求技术的意义何在,那就由我来揭示技术的价值。这些技术不是全然盲目的追求,技术和自由现金流是直接相关的。

We live in an era of extraordinary increases in available bandwidth, disk space, and processing power, all of which continue to get cheap fast. We have on our team some of the most sophisticated technologists in the world – helping to solve challenges that are right on the edge of what’s possible today. As I’ve discussed many times before, we have unshakeable conviction that the long-term interests of shareowners are perfectly aligned with the interests of customers.

我们生活在一个带宽增加、硬盘空间增加和处理能力增加的美好时代,而且他们会持续越来越快、越来越便宜。我们团队中有世界上最好的技术人员,帮助我们解决现今遇到的挑战。如同我之前多次讨论过的,我们坚信,股东的长期利益与客户的利益完全一致。

And we like it that way. Invention is in our DNA and technology is the fundamental tool we wield to evolve and improve every aspect of the experience we provide our customers. We still have a lot to learn, and I expect and hope we’ll continue to have so much fun learning it. I take great pride in being part of this team.

我们喜欢如此。发明存在于我们的DNA,技术是我们的发展和改善客户体验的基本工具。我们还有很多东西要学,我希望我们持续享受从中学习的乐趣。对于身为团队的一份子,我感到很骄傲。

As always, I attach a copy of our original 1997 letter. Our approach remains the same, and it’s still Day 1.

如同往常,我把我们在1997年写的致股东信附在文末。我们的价值观依然不变,今天依旧是Day 1。

Jeffrey P. Bezos

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Amazon.com, Inc.

杰夫·贝索斯

Amazon创始人暨CEO

我的观点

这封信里面提到了很多技术名词,大部分我还是有了解过,这其实很多就是亚马逊提出来的。说到亚马逊,其实很多人会提到他的推荐系统。

是的,我还是喜欢里面的那句话,英国科幻大师Clarke曾说过:「在任何一项足够先进的技术和魔法之间,人们看不出有何区别。」

亚马逊为了支撑业务,对技术进程了大量的投入研究,发明了很多东西。贝索斯说,他们乐于发明新方法,这其实是非常好的现象。技术为我们的团队、流程、决策和业务创新注入活力,技术与我们所做的一切紧密结合。其实就证明亚马逊很看重技术,也乐于投入来进行技术研究。

其实,就以前亚马逊的口碑来说,Google才是那个被证明技术能力很强的公司,亚马逊经常从开源社区吸血,而且还不参与贡献,这是开源届的毒瘤。 后面这几年,观感才好一点。

第十三封信:专注于业务目标,少谈财务目标

第十三封信中英文对照:

To our shareowners:

致我们的股东:

The financial results for 2009 reflect the cumulative effect of 15 years of customer experience improvements: increasing selection, speeding delivery, reducing cost structure so we can afford to offer customers ever-lower prices, and many others. This work has been done by a large number of smart, relentless, customer-devoted people across all areas of the company. We are proud of our low prices, our reliable delivery, and our in-stock position on even obscure and hard-to-find items. We also know that we can still be much better, and we’re dedicated to improving further.

2009年的财务业绩表现,是这15年来客户体验优化的成果。商品品项增加、运送速度提升、成本降低,让我们能够提供客户更低的价格。这项成就由许多精明、勤奋且聚焦于客户的Amazon各部门员工完成。我们对于低廉的价格、稳定的物流和丰富的商品品项感到自豪。我们依然知道还有地方可以做得更好,而且我们致力于改进它们。

Some notable highlights from 2009:

2009年的一些突出表现:

  • Net sales increased 28% year-over-year to $24.51 billion in 2009. This is 15 times higher than net sales 10 years ago when they were $1.64 billion in 1999.
  • 2009年的净销售额和去年相比增长28%,达到245.1亿美元,这是10年前的净销售额的15倍。1999年,净销售额为16.4亿美元。
  • Free cash flow increased 114% year-over-year to $2.92 billion in 2009.
  • 2009年,自由现金流和去年相比增长114%,达到29.2亿美元。
  • More customers are taking advantage of Amazon Prime, with worldwide memberships up significantly over last year. The number of different items available for immediate shipment grew more than 50% in 2009.
  • 有更多消费者正在使用Amazon Prime服务,全球会员数量和去年相比有显著增长。2009年,可立即发货的商品数量增长了50%。
  • We added 21 new product categories around the world in 2009, including Automotive in Japan, Baby in France, and Shoes and Apparel in China.
  • 2009年,我们新增了21种商品类别。在日本增加了汽车类别、在法国增加了育婴类别、在中国增加鞋类服装。
  • It was a busy year for our shoes business. In November we acquired Zappos, a leader in online apparel and footwear sales that strives to provide shoppers with the best possible service and selection. Zappos is a terrific addition to our Endless, Javari, Amazon, and Shopbop selection.
  • 对我们鞋类业务来说,今年是繁忙的一年。11月,我们收购了在线服装和鞋类领域的领导品牌Zappos,该公司致力于为客户提供最好的服务。Zappos对于我们的品牌Endless、Javari、Amazon和Shopbop有加分效果。
  • The apparel team continued to enhance customer experience with the launch of our Denim Shop offering 100 brands, including Joe’s Jeans, Lucky Brand, 7 For All Mankind, and Levi’s.
  • 服装团队透过提供百种品牌,包括Joe’s Jeans、Lucky Brand、7 For All Mankind和Levi’s,以丰富品项持续优化客户体验。
  • The shoes and apparel teams created over 121,000 product descriptions and uploaded over 2.2 million images to the website providing customers with a vivid shopping experience.
  • 鞋子和服装团队提供了超过12.1万个产品说明,上传超过220万张图片,为客户提供了高质量的客户体验。
  • Approximately 7 million customer reviews were added to websites worldwide.
  • 网站上新增了约700万个全球用户的评论。
  • Sales of products by third party sellers on our websites represented 30% of unit sales in 2009. Active seller accounts increased 24% to 1.9 million for the year. Globally, sellers using Fulfillment By Amazon stowed more than one million unique items in our fulfillment center network, thereby making these items available for Free Super Saver Shipping and Amazon Prime.
  • 2009年,第三方卖家在我们网站上销售的产品占全部销售额的30%。今年,活跃卖家账号提升了24%,达到190万个。在全球范围内,第三方卖家使用Amazon配送服务所存放的商品数量超过100万个,这些商品都可以使用Free Super Saver Shipping和Amazon Prime服务。
  • Amazon Web Services continued its rapid pace of innovation, launching many new services and features, including the Amazon Relational Database Service, Virtual Private Cloud, Elastic MapReduce, High-Memory EC2 Instances, Reserved and Spot Instances, Streaming for Amazon CloudFront, and Versioning for Amazon S3. AWS also continued to expand its global footprint to include additional services in the EU, a new Northern California Region and plans for a presence in the Asia-Pacific Region in 2010. The continued innovation and track record for operational performance helped AWS add more customers in 2009 than ever before, including many large enterprise customers.
  • Amazon云端运算服务AWS持续保持着快速迭代的步调,推出了许多新服务和新功能,包括Amazon关系数据库服务 (Amazon Relational Database Service)、虚拟私有云 (Virtual Private Cloud)、Elastic MapReduce、High-Memory EC2 Instances、Reserved and Spot Instances、Streaming for Amazon CloudFront和Versioning for Amazon S3。AWS还在持续扩大其全球覆盖范围,包括欧盟、北加州地区,并计划于2010年在亚太地区开展业务。持续创新和良好运营绩效,帮助AWS在2009年获得比以往更多的大型企业客户。
  • The U.S. Kindle Store now has more than 460,000 books, an increase from 250,000 last year, and includes 103 of the 110 New York Times Bestsellers, more than 8,900 blogs, and 171 top U.S. and International newspapers and magazines. We have shipped Kindles to more than 120 countries, and we now provide content in six different languages.
  • 美国的Kindle商店现在有超过46万本书,去年增加了25万本,包括103本纽约时报畅销排行榜前110名的书、超过8900个部落格、171本美国与国际的顶级报纸和杂志。我们配送Kindle至全球超过120个国家,提供6种不同语言的内容。

Senior leaders that are new to Amazon are often surprised by how little time we spend discussing actual financial results or debating projected financial outputs. To be clear, we take these financial outputs seriously, but we believe that focusing our energy on the controllable inputs to our business is the most effective way to maximize financial outputs over time. Our annual goal setting process begins in the fall, and concludes early in the new year after we’ve completed our peak holiday quarter. Our goal setting sessions are lengthy, spirited, and detailoriented. We have a high bar for the experience our customers deserve and a sense of urgency to improve that experience.

刚进到Amazon的高阶领导者,对于我们很少探讨财务结果经常感到讶异。明确地说,我们认为财务结果很重要,但我们认为要提升财务表现,最好的方式是专注于对业务的投入,才能最大程度优化财务结果。我们在秋季开始制定年度目标,直到假期高峰后的新年才完成。我们的目标设定会议很长、充满活力且注重细节。我们为客户体验设立高标准,而且迫切地想要改进客户体验。

We’ve been using this same annual process for many years. For 2010, we have 452 detailed goals with owners, deliverables, and targeted completion dates. These are not the only goals our teams set for themselves, but they are the ones we feel are most important to monitor. None of these goals are easy and many will not be achieved without invention. We review the status of each of these goals several times per year among our senior leadership team and add, remove, and modify goals as we proceed.

多年来,我们一直在使用这样的流程。2010年,我们有452个详细目标,明确包含负责人、可交付成果和目标预计完成日期。这些不只是团队成员为自己设定的目标,也是我们认为最重要的目标。这些目标都不简单,许多目标需要创新发明才能达成。我们每年都会和高阶领导者团队覆盘这些目标的完成状况,并在进行过程中增加、删减或调整目标。

A review of our current goals reveals some interesting statistics:

对我们当前目标的回顾,揭示了一些有趣的统计数据:

  • 360 of the 452 goals will have a direct impact on customer experience.
  • 452个目标中,有360个目标将对客户体验产生直接影响。
  • The word revenue is used eight times and free cash flow is used only four times.
  • 「收入」一词使用了8次,而「自由现金流」仅使用了4次。
  • In the 452 goals, the terms net income, gross profit or margin, and operating profit are not used once.
  • 在452个目标中,以下这些词未曾使用过:净收入、毛利、毛利率和营业利润。

Taken as a whole, the set of goals is indicative of our fundamental approach. Start with customers, and work backwards. Listen to customers, but don’t just listen to customers – also invent on their behalf. We can’t assure you that we’ll meet all of this year’s goals. We haven’t in past years. However, we can assure you that we’ll continue to obsess over customers. We have strong conviction that that approach – in the long term – is every bit as good for owners as it is for customers.

总的来说,这一系列目标表明了我们的基本方针。从客户端出发,再逆向回推要做哪些工作。聆听消费者的声音,但又不只限于聆听,也要以新发明满足客户未说出口的需求。我们不敢向你保证,我们今年会完成所有目标。我们过去几年并没有在当年度完成全部目标。然而,我们可以跟你保证,我们会持续专注于客户。我们坚信,从长远来看,这种方法对股东和客户都能带来好处。

As always, I attach a copy of our original 1997 letter. Our approach remains the same, and it’s still Day 1.

如同往常,我把我们在1997年写的致股东信附在文末。我们的价值观依然不变,今天依旧是Day 1。

Jeffrey P. Bezos

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Amazon.com, Inc.

April 2010

杰夫·贝索斯

Amazon创始人暨CEO

2010年4月

我的观点

在这封信里面,贝索斯又提了一些数据,AWS的增长非常高,也准备在中国开展业务。

推出了包括Amazon关系数据库服务 (Amazon Relational Database Service)、虚拟私有云 (Virtual Private Cloud)、Elastic MapReduce、High-Memory EC2 Instances、Reserved and Spot Instances、Streaming for Amazon CloudFront和Versioning for Amazon S3。AWS还在持续扩大其全球覆盖范围,包括欧盟、北加州地区,并计划于2010年在亚太地区开展业务。

我还注意到了一个点,亚马逊并没有对财务的目标,只有对业务的目标。 因为专注于业务,才能达到财务目标。

这和国内的有一些公司是反着的,很多公司都是先制定财务目标,然后才去倒推业务目标,这种方法其实不太好,因为数据是可以造假的。

亚马逊使用了年度目标,然后又452个目标,包括了负责人,可交付的成功和目标完成的日期。设定目标这个活,是需要很多智慧的,是个技术活,肯定得多次迭代才能制定好。

从目标来推,应该做什么样的工作其实是一个不错的方法,又提高客户体验这个价值观在,目标都应该为它服务。

做公司,最重要的就是要专注于业务,好好的提升业务,而且是持续长时间的对业务进行投入,不要整天想着挣钱,整天提钱的反而挣不到钱。

第十二封信: 逆向工作

第十二封信中英文对照:

To our shareowners:

致我们的股东:

In this turbulent global economy, our fundamental approach remains the same. Stay heads down, focused on the long term and obsessed over customers. Long-term thinking levers our existing abilities and lets us do new things we couldn’t otherwise contemplate. It supports the failure and iteration required for invention, and it frees us to pioneer in unexplored spaces. Seek instant gratification – or the elusive promise of it – and chances are you’ll find a crowd there ahead of you. Long-term orientation interacts well with customer obsession. If we can identify a customer need and if we can further develop conviction that that need is meaningful and durable, our approach permits us to work patiently for multiple years to deliver a solution. “Working backwards” from customer needs can be contrasted with a “skills-forward” approach where existing skills and competencies are used to drive business opportunities. The skills-forward approach says, “We are really good at X. What else can we do with X?” That’s a useful and rewarding business approach. However, if used exclusively, the company employing it will never be driven to develop fresh skills. Eventually the existing skills will become outmoded. Working backwards from customer needs often demands that we acquire new competencies and exercise new muscles, never mind how uncomfortable and awkward-feeling those first steps might be.

在这个动荡的全球经济中,我们的基本保持不变。保持低调,专注于长期发展,拥抱我们的客户。长期主义,能够指导我们做那些原本没想到的事。长期主义,能够支持创新过程中的失败,让我们在未开发空间中开拓先锋。在创新的路上,你可能会找到一群志同道合的人,在过程中找到成就感。长期主义,能提升我们对客户的关注。如果我们能够识别客户的需求,并且确认这样的需求是有意义且持久的,长期主义会驱使我们耐着性子工作多年,提供客户长久的解决方案。逆向工作(Working Backwards)指的是从客户的需求出发,倒推现在应该做什么;技能驱动(Skills-Forward)则是从已知的能力出发,试图驱动商业机会。技能驱动说的是「我们真的很擅长A,那么A还能拿来做什么?」的确,这是很有效的工作方式,但这样的公司永远不会发展新技能。最终,已知的技能会越来越过时。从客户需求出发的逆向工作则不然,它往往会要求我们锻炼新技能,即使我们踏出第一步时总感到困难重重。

Kindle is a good example of our fundamental approach. More than four years ago, we began with a long-term vision: every book, ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds. The customer experience we envisioned didn’t allow for any hard lines of demarcation between Kindle the device and Kindle the service – the two had to blend together seamlessly. Amazon had never designed or built a hardware device, but rather than change the vision to accommodate our then-existing skills, we hired a number of talented (and missionary!) hardware engineers and got started learning a new institutional skill, one that we needed to better serve readers in the future.

Kindle很好地体现了我们的工作观。四年多以前,我们从一个长期愿景开始:任何语言的任一本书,都可以在Kindle上用不到60秒的时间取得。基于我们想象出来的客户体验,Kindle的装置与服务不能有明显的区隔线,必须无缝融合在一起。Amazon从未设计或制造硬件,但我们没有因此退缩。我们聘用许多有才华、有传教士般热情的硬件工程师,并开始学习新技能,以便在未来更好地服务我们的客户。

We’re grateful and excited that Kindle sales have exceeded our most optimistic expectations. On February 23, we began shipping Kindle 2. If you haven’t seen it, Kindle 2 is everything customers loved about the original Kindle, only thinner, faster, with a crisper display, and longer battery life, and capable of holding 1,500 books. You can choose from more than 250,000 of the most popular books, magazines, and newspapers. Wireless delivery is free, and you’ll have your book in less than 60 seconds. We’ve received thousands of feedback emails from customers about Kindle, and – remarkably – 26% of them contain the word “love.”

我们对于Kindle的销售超乎我们最乐观的预期,感到非常开心与感激。2月23日,第二代Kindle开始出货。如果你还没看过它,我可以跟你介绍一下,第二代Kindle汇集了第一代Kindle受欢迎的所有元素,而且更轻、更快、更清晰、更持久,还可以容纳1500本书。你可以选择超过25万本受欢迎的书、杂志和报纸。无线传输书籍的服务是免费的,你在60秒之内可以拥有任何书。我们已经收到数千封关于Kindle反馈的电子邮件,值得注意的是,其中26%的信件中用户用了「爱」这个字。

Customer Experience Pillars

客户体验基石

In our retail business, we have strong conviction that customers value low prices, vast selection, and fast, convenient delivery and that these needs will remain stable over time. It is difficult for us to imagine that ten years from now, customers will want higher prices, less selection, or slower delivery. Our belief in the durability of these pillars is what gives us the confidence required to invest in strengthening them. We know that the energy we put in now will continue to pay dividends well into the future.

在我们的零售业务中,我们坚信客户偏好低价、多样化和快速运送,而且这样的偏好历久不衰。对我们来说,很难想象十年之后,用户会变得偏好高价、少样与慢速运送。我们相信客户的偏好是不变的,这给了我们信心,持续降低价格、提升商品多样性和运送速度。我们很清楚,我们现在投入的精力,将在未来持续得到回报。

Our pricing objective is to earn customer trust, not to optimize short-term profit dollars. We take it as an article of faith that pricing in this manner is the best way to grow our aggregate profit dollars over the long term. We may make less per item, but by consistently earning trust we will sell many more items. Therefore, we offer low prices across our entire product range. For the same reason, we continue to invest in our free shipping programs, including Amazon Prime. Customers are well-informed and smart, and they evaluate the total cost, including delivery charges, when making their purchasing decisions. In the last 12 months, customers worldwide have saved more than $800 million by taking advantage of our free shipping offers.

关于订价,我们的目标是赢得客户信任,而不是优化短期内的利润。我们认为这样的订价策略,长期来看可以提升我们的利润。也许每件商品赚得比较少,但赢得客户信任的我们,在长期来看可以卖更多件商品。因此,我们在全品项都提供低价商品。出于相同原因,我们持续投资于免费运送计划,包括Amazon Prime服务。客户是聪明人,他们衡量花费时,也会把运费考虑进去。过去12个月里,Amazon的客户透过免费运送计划节省了超过8亿美元。

We’re relentlessly focused on adding selection, both by increasing selection inside existing categories and by adding new categories. We’ve added 28 new categories since 2007. One business that is rapidly growing and continues to surprise me is our shoe store, Endless.com, which we launched in 2007. Fast, reliable delivery is important to customers. In 2005, we launched Amazon Prime. For $79 per year, Prime members get unlimited express two-day shipping for free and upgrades to one-day delivery for just $3.99. In 2007, we launched Fulfillment by Amazon, a new service for third-party sellers. With FBA, sellers warehouse their inventory in our global fulfillment network, and we pick, pack, and ship to the end customer on the sellers’ behalf. FBA items are eligible for Amazon Prime and Super Saver Shipping – just as if the items were Amazonowned inventory. As a result, FBA both improves the customer experience and drives seller sales. In the fourth quarter of 2008, we shipped more than 3 million units on behalf of sellers who use Fulfillment by Amazon, a win-win for customers and sellers.

我们致力于增加品项,既包括扩增现有品项,也包括增加新品项。自2007年,我们增加了28个新品项。其中,2007年成立的鞋类商店http://Endless.com,增长速度极快,让我最为印象深刻。我们知道,消费者会在意运送服务是否快速、稳定。2005年,我们推出了Amazon Prime。一年79美元,Prime会员可限次数使用2天内送达的运送服务。若要缩短为1天内送达,则只要再多付3.99美元。2007年,我们推出了Amazon FBA(Fulfillment by Amazon)为第三方卖家处理配送问题。有了FBA服务,第三方卖家可将库存放在我们的仓库,由我们代表卖家进行负责拣货、包装,最终运送至消费者手中。第三方卖家使用FBA服务贩卖的商品,如同我们自家的商品一样,也适用于Amazon Prime和Super Saver Shipping服务。FBA不只是改进了客户体验,也提高卖家的销售额。2008年第四季度,我们代表卖家运送了超过三百万件商品,这对消费者和卖家都是双赢的结果。

Prudent Spending

谨慎支出

The customer-experience path we’ve chosen requires us to have an efficient cost structure. The good news for shareowners is that we see much opportunity for improvement in that regard. Everywhere we look (and we all look), we find what experienced Japanese manufacturers would call “muda” or waste. I find this incredibly energizing. I see it as potential – years and years of variable and fixed productivity gains and more efficient, higher velocity, more flexible capital expenditures.

专注于客户体验是Amazon的选择,这条路要求我们具备高效的成本结构。对于股东来说,好消息是我们找到很多改进成本结构的机会。在我们举目所见之处,都能见到不具附加价值的浪费,这点让我感到相当兴奋。我认为它具备潜力,年复一年,持续提升的生产率,将会使我们的资本支出越来越高效、快速、有弹性。

Our primary financial goal remains maximizing long-term free cash flow and doing so with high rates of return on invested capital. We are investing heartily in Amazon Web Services, in tools for third-party sellers, in digital media, in China, and in new product categories. And we make these investments with the belief that they can be of meaningful scale and can clear our high bar for returns.

我们最重要的财务目标,是在高回报的情况下,最大化长期现金流。我们大力投资于AWS服务、第三方卖家服务工具、媒体服务、中国业务和新品项。我们确信,这样的投资最终会规模化,满足我们对于投资回报的高要求。

Around the world, amazing, inventive, and hard-working Amazonians are putting customers first. I take great pride in being part of this team. We thank you, our owners, for your support, for your encouragement, and for joining us on our continuing adventure.

在世界各地,出色、富有创意且勤奋的Amazon员工总是将客户视为第一要务。身为他们其中的一员,我深感荣幸。股东们,谢谢你们的支持与鼓励,谢谢你们参与我们的冒险。

As always, I attach our 1997 letter to shareowners. Even as the rate of change accelerates, we hope and believe our focus on what stays the same should serve us well.

如同往常,我把我们在1997年写的致股东信附在文末。即使事物变化的步伐加快,我们依然相信客户优先的价值观,将会一如既往地有效。

Jeffrey P. Bezos

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Amazon.com, Inc.

April 2009

杰夫·贝索斯

Amazon创始人暨CEO

2009年4月

我的观点

这封信里有几个概念,可以提一提。

长期主义

长期主义,这是贝索斯1997年就开始提的东西。 他认为长期主义有很多好好处。

  • 长期主义,能够指导我们做那些原本没想到的事。
  • 长期主义,能够支持创新过程中的失败,让我们在未开发空间中开拓先锋。在创新的路上,你可能会找到一群志同道合的人,在过程中找到成就感。
  • 长期主义,能提升我们对客户的关注。如果我们能够识别客户的需求,并且确认这样的需求是有意义且持久的,长期主义会驱使我们耐着性子工作多年,提供客户长久的解决方案

逆向工作

逆向工作是指从客户的需求出发,倒推现在应该干什么。 这个意思其实就从满足需求开始,然后找可以满足需求的事情来干。

技能驱动

技能驱动是从已知的能力出发,试图驱动商业机会。这跟我们说的,我拿了一个锤子去找钉子是类似的。为了防止技能驱动,逆向工作才是真正有用的。

贝索斯宣传,kindle的话其实是很有意思的。kindle 是 能让你60秒内可以拥有任何书,他没说配置,没说各种选择,这也和苹果的宣传语很类似。

他还提到财务目标是,在高回报的情况下,尽量最大化长期现金流。有了现金流后,就可以大规模的投资了,现在亚马逊主要是投资于AWS,第三方卖家工具,媒体服务,中国业务和新的品类。

第十一封信:Kindle出现

第十一封信中英文对照:

To our shareowners:

致我们的股东:

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

2007年11月19日是一个特别的日子,在投入3年之后,我们终于可以向消费者正式介绍Amazon Kindle。

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 http://Amazon.com to see what customers think—Kindle has already been reviewed more than 2,000 times.

关于Kindle,你们也许知道一些事情。幸运的是Kindle早已被人们谈论,我们对此感到很感激。简而言之,Kindle是一个专用的电子书阅读器,可以使用无线网络存取超过11万本书、部落格、杂志和新闻。必须仔细说明的是,这里提到的无线网络指的并不是WiFi,而是跟手机一样的数据网络。意即,无论你待在家里还是出门在外,你都可以正常使用Kindle。你可以在一个装置中直接购买一本书,整本书从下载到阅读,整个过程不用60秒。没有商业上所谓的「无线方案」,也没有年约要求你遵守,更没有所谓的月费。Kindle拥有类似纸的屏幕,阅读起来十分舒适,甚至在大白天也能正常使用。第一次看到这个显示屏幕的人,往往会特别喜欢它。Kindle比平装书更轻、更薄,而且它能装载200本书。到Amazon官网上的Kindle页面,查看其他用户的想法吧!Kindle已经被评论超过2000次了!

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 5 1⁄2 hours, and our supply chain and manufacturing teams have had to scramble to increase production capacity.

经过3年的努力,我们的确希望Kindle是一款正如你们所期待的产品,并且在消费者市场中受欢迎。然而,人们对Kindle的需求,远超我们的想象。第一批Kindle在5个半小时内就销售一空,因此我们的供应链和制造团队不得不增加产能。

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.

我们首先制定了一个公认十分大胆的目标,就是对实体书进行改造。我们并非随意选择这个目标。实体书以同一形式存在于世上500年都没有什么变化,这样的东西是很难轻易改进的。设计之初我们认知到一本书最重要的东西,是「这本书中让我们相信的事物」。于是,Kindle移除了实体书的几乎所有元素,无需纸、墨和胶水,也不需要装订。这一切都消失了,剩下的只有作者的世界。

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.

我们知道,Kindle这样的阅读装置,可能会让读者把注意力都放在单一的字词上,而非书的整体内容。我们必须要摆脱这样的困境。我们也知道,我们不应该试图复制实体书的每一项功能,因为我们无法用像实体书一样的东西去超越实体书。我们必须增加新功能,增加那些实体书永远无法做到的功能。

The early days of http://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.

Amazon早期做过一个类似实体书的东西。当时,人们认为在线书店需要具备实体书店所有特点。我曾不断被问到这个问题:「如何在电子书上签名?」然而,13年以后,这个问题还是没被解决。我们没有试图复制实体书店,而是受实体书店启发,并努力透过网络这个新媒介,达成实体书店做不到的事。我们的确没有办法让用户在电子书上签名,同样的,我们也无法提供舒适的空间给用户喝咖啡放松。然而,相对应的是,我们能做到实体书店做不到的事。我们可以提供数百万种品项,透过商品评论帮助用户进行购买决策,提供探索功能如「购买这件商品的消费者也购买了那个」。如果表列那些只有在线书店能做到的事,我想这个清单会很长。

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.

我将重点介绍一些Kindle的特色功能,这些功能不是实体书可以做到的。如果你遇到一个不认得的字,你可以很轻易地查找。你可以在你拥有的书籍中搜索。你的批注笔记和划线重点,将被储存在云端的服务器中,不会遗失。Kindle会自动记录你的阅读进度。如果你的眼睛很酸,你可以调整字体大小。最重要的是,从寻找一本书到拥有一本书,只需要花费60秒。当我看到其他人第一次使用Kindle时,我确信Kindle这样的阅读器,能对用户产生很深远的影响。我们的愿景是,在Kindle上找任何语言的书籍,都能在60秒之内完成。

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.

出版商们,包括很多大型出版商,都积极拥抱Kindle,我们对此感到很感激。从出版商的角度来说,Kindle具备很多优势。书籍永远不会绝版,也永远不会缺货,更不会有印多了滞销的问题。最重要的是,Kindle让用户可以更方便地购买书籍。一个行为的复杂度越低,用户就越容易做这个行为。

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.

工具和我们人类一起发展。过程中,我们改变了工具,工具改变了我们。数千年前,人们发明了写作这件事,它大大改变了我们。五百年前,古腾堡(Gutenberg)发明了活字印刷术,导致书籍的成本大幅下降。实体书开创了一种新的协作与学习的方式。近年来,桌机、笔电、手机、PDA这样的联网工具,也对我们人类有深刻的影响。他们促使我们把注意力不断放在碎片化信息上,而我认为这使人的注意力碎片化。我很喜欢我的黑莓机,我相信它能使我的生产力更高。然而,我不想在黑莓机上阅读长达300页的文件,也不想在计算机上阅读上百页的文件。正如我在这封信前面说到的,一个行为的复杂度越低,用户就越容易做这个行为。如果摄取碎片化信息比较容易,那么人们就倾向于摄取碎片化信息,而不是长篇阅读。Kindle专为长篇阅读设计,我们希望Kindle与其之后的产品,能帮助用户进行长篇阅读,减缓信息碎片化的趋势,将我们带入一个拥有更长注意力的世界。我知道自己讲话像个传教士,但我跟你保证,我所说的话都发自内心。在Amazon,我这样的想法并不是特例,很多人都拥有这样的信念。对此我感到非常开心,因为传教士总能打造出更好的产品。我还要指出,我认为书籍被改进的趋势是必然会发生的,如果我们的Kindle做的不够好,也会有别人来完成。

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.

我们,也就是你的传教士团队,热衷于推动每股现金流和资本回报。我们知道如何做到这件事,那就是把客户放在第一位。我跟你保证,虽然我们已经做了很多创新,但我们未来将做的创新一定比过去多,因此我们不会预期未来的路很轻松。我们对于Kindle的表现充满希望,甚至可以说是乐观。我们相信Kindle会正如其名「点燃火焰」,改善阅读世界。

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

如同往常,我把我们在1997年写的致股东信附在文末。在那封信里,你会看到Kindle体现了我们的价值观与长期投资策略。祝你阅读愉快,非常感谢!

Jeffrey P. Bezos

Founder and Chief Executive Officer

Amazon.com, Inc.

April 2008

杰夫·贝索斯

Amazon创始人暨CEO

2008年4月

我的观点

kindle这个产品,确实牛逼。这是2007年的产品,当时我自己也买了2个kindle,还买了几个来送礼。

确实亚马逊在不断的革自己的命,自己卖纸质书,然后接着卖电子书,后面搞了一个电子书阅读器,这种不断的革自己命的产品出现,确实有魄力。

其实一个企业要不断的进化,才能更好的生存。不要依赖那些不能增长的业务,要去开辟新的战场,哪怕挡脚的是自己也要踢开。

最近好像亚马逊放弃了国内电子书的运营了,确实有点可惜。国内已经非常多做电子书和电子书阅读器的,亚马逊电子书的退出,可能是在中美两国之间选边了。亚马逊电商业务基本退完,AWS还在运营。