证券时报官方微信公众号

扫描上方二维码关注微信公众号

证券时报官方新闻客户端

扫描上方二维码下载客户端

首页 > 新闻 > 深度
您所在的位置:首页>新闻>深度

如何寻找超级成长股?世界首富24封股东信"吐露天机":现金流比利润更重要,长线思维才是关键

2021-05-02 10:14 来源: 券商中国 作者: 屈红燕
券商中国 屈红燕 2021-05-02 10:14

投资小红书—第36期

也即差不多两代人的时间中,LEXCX用满仓、不换股、大蓝筹、适度分散、低成本持有和被动管理的方式,让初始资金获得了令人艳羡的5000多倍收益,是真正的“时间的玫瑰”,阐释了长期投资的魅力。

亚马逊本周四发布的2021年一季度财报显示,亚马逊连续两个季度营收超过1000亿美元,大象起舞,亚马逊本周股价大涨超过7%,市值再创新高达到1.8万亿美元(11.6万亿人民币),成为仅次于微软和苹果的全世界第三大市值公司。

贝佐斯.jpg

在过去的26年时间里,亚马逊从一粒种子长成参天大树,是极致成长股的典型代表。亚马逊1994年仅是一家在网上开始卖书的小公司,而2020年营业收入高达3860亿美元(25000亿人民币)。

金牌会员、第三方销售平台和亚马逊云是亚马逊的三大支柱。亚马逊金牌会员2020年就高达2亿户,仅年费就为亚马逊贡献高达200亿美元以上的收入;亚马逊云为200个国家成千上万家企业提供支撑服务,仅此一项过去12个月滚动销售收入就达到500亿美元;而支撑亚马逊第三方销售平台的亚马逊物流可以与联邦快递等物流巨头平分秋色。

在每年年报发布之时,世界首富、亚马逊CEO贝佐斯都会附上一封致股东的信。这些信在很大程度上揭开了亚马逊疯狂成长之谜,那就是20多年一以贯之的长线思维。就像贝佐斯在2013年致股东的信中说的“顾客至上,而不是盯住竞争对手,对创新发自内心的激情,渴望做得更好和愿意长线思维。良好的执行加上一点点运气,第三方销售平台(Marketplace)、金牌会员(Prime)和亚马逊云(AWS)在为客户提供服务的同时,并在很多年都有良好的经济回报。”

贝佐斯致股东的信既是企业管理的圣经,也是普通投资者寻找成长股的指南。如何寻找成长股,或许正像贝佐斯自1997年致股东的信开始就强调的“一切关乎长期”、 “市场领先地位比短期业绩更重要”、“如果需要在漂亮的会计报表和最大化未来现金流折现之间做出选择的话,我们选择现金流”、“从长远来看,客户的利益与股东的利益是一致的。”

一个好的投资者理应对商业运行充满好奇,而阅读贝佐斯1997年-2020年致股东信就像时光倒流,带我们去思考为什么亚马逊会在每个成长的关键时刻做出正确的决定,一粒种子是如何长成参天大树的。

(注:《巴菲特致股东的信》已经出版多年,但《贝佐斯致股东的信》并无合集,由于贝佐斯卸任亚马逊CEO,2020年致股东的信或将成为其撰写的最后一封。鉴于诸多读者对24封信合集充满期待,券商中国记者手动翻译了贝佐斯1997年-2020年致股东信。为了更好传达贝佐斯原意,我们也附带贴出其语言风格强烈的英文原文。)

一、1997年:一切关乎长期(It's All About the Long Term)   

亚马逊在1997年实现了很多里程碑式的跨越:截至到年底,我们服务了150万的客户,收入同比增长838%到1.48亿美元,尽管遭遇了新进入者们的激烈竞争,但我们还是持续扩大了我们的市场领先地位。

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.

我们相信对于我们成功最根本的衡量方式是为股东创造的长期价值。这一价值将会是我们夯实、扩大我们市场领先地位的直接结果,我们的市场领先地位越超前,我们商业模式就越强大。市场领先地位可以直接转化为更高的收入、更好的盈利能力、更快的资本周转和与此对应的更高的资本回报率。

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.

我们的决策一贯围绕长期价值这个中心。我们首先是以市场领先地位相关指标来衡量自己:客户和收入的增长、客户的复购率、品牌的认知度。我们过去和未来都会积极致力于扩大和成倍地扩大我们的客户基数、品牌和永久的基础设施。

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.

我们将持续毫无保留地以客户为中心。

We will continue to focus relentlessly on our customers.

我们的投资决策将从扩大公司长期的市场领导地位出发,而非短期业绩或者短期华尔街的反应。

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.

我们对那些能够提升我们市场领先优势的项目下重注,可能有一些项目成功,另外一些失败,但无论成功还是失败的案例都让我们学到有价值的一课。

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.

如果需要在漂亮的会计报表和最大化未来的现金流折现之间做出选择的话,我们选择现金流。

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.

当我们做出大胆的战略抉择时,我们将在竞争许可的最大范围内与股东分享我们的战略想法,以至于股东可以评价我们的投资是否真正从巩固我们长期市场领导地位的角度出发。

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.

我们努力保持节俭文化,将钱用在刀刃上,我们明白持续增强成本意识的重要性,尤其是在我们的经营尚处于净亏损状态的当下。

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.

我们将在提升长期盈利能力和短期资本支出之间保持平衡,在当前,我们给予成长更高的优先权,因为我们相信规模对我们商业模式至关重要。

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.

二、1998年:人才的三个标准 

我们致力于打造全世界最以客户为中心的公司。在我们心中,客户聪明且有辨别力就如公理般不言自明,我们的品牌形象扎根于现实,而非其他。我们的客户告诉我们和他们的朋友:选择亚马逊是因为这里有更多的选择、更友好的界面、低价和配送服务。

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 Amazon.com and tell their friends about us because of the selection, ease-of-use,low prices, and service that we deliver.

但是我们不能有丝毫懈怠。我时时提醒我们的员工要有畏惧感,每个醒来的清晨我都会感到恐惧,不是因为竞争的压力,而是因为我们的顾客。我们的顾客成就了我们,他们是我们存在的原因,我们对他们负有义务。我们认为,顾客对我们是忠诚的,直到有一天另有他人提供了超越我们的服务。

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.

在我们的招聘中,我们经常问人们三个问题:

During our hiring meetings, we ask people to consider three questions before making a decision:

你钦佩此人吗?如果你认为此人是你在生活中钦佩的对象,你能够向他学习或者以他为榜样。至于我自己,我一直就是一个努力与我所钦佩的人一起工作的人,因此我鼓励员工也是如此挑剔的,生命太短暂,不要与不认可的人一起共事。

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.

此人的加入能提升团队的效率吗?我们想抵御熵,持续提高用人标准。我提建议员工可以想象公司未来5年后的样子,希望在那时,我们中的每一位都会环顾四周说:“我们标准是如此之高,我很庆幸当初加入这个团队。”

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!”

此人在哪个维度上会成为超级明星?许多人都有独特的技能、兴趣和见解来丰富我们的工作环境,但这些独特之处可能与工作并不相关。

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!”

(注:《一网打尽》一书中曾讲到过,亚马逊认为,许多公司在发展过程中,都放低了招聘标准,为的是满足他们的人力资源需求,但亚马逊一直在提高人才标准,并发明了“抬杆者”项目,“抬杆者”也即bar raisers参与到每次招聘中,有权否决所招聘的人。)

三、1999年:拥有100股亚马逊股票你拥有什么

在最近斯坦福的一次演讲中,一位年轻的女士用话筒问我一个很好的问题:“我拥有100股亚马逊股票,我拥有的是什么?”

At a recent event at the Stanford University campus, a young woman came to the microphone and asked me a great question: “I have 100 shares of Amazon.com. What do I own?”

我吃了一惊因为此前从未听过此类问题,至少没有如此简单直白问法。你拥有什么?你拥有的是一个出色的电商平台的一小部分。

I was surprised I hadn’t heard it before, at least not so simply put. What do you own? You own a piece of the leading e-commerce platform.

亚马逊平台是由品牌、顾客、技术、物流构成。我们有深耕已久的电商经验、富有激情和勇于创新的团队。我们自2000年开始服务1700万客户,我们有以客户为中心的广泛美誉、有最出色的电商系统软件和聚焦于客户的配送能力和基础设施。

The Amazon.com platform is comprised of brand, customers, technology, distribution capability, deep e-commerce expertise, and a great team with a passion for innovation and a passion for serving customers well. We begin the year 2000 with 17 million customers, a world-wide reputation for customer focus, the best e-commerce software systems, and purpose-built distribution and customer service infrastructure.

我们相信我们已经来到了这个临界点:我们的电商平台将以更快的速度铺开新的业务,更高质量的客户体验、更低的成本、更大的成功几率和拥有比其他任何公司更快上规模和更好盈利的路径。

We believe we have reached a “tipping point,” where this platform allows us to launch new ecommerce businesses faster, with a higher quality of customer experience, a lower incremental cost, a higher chance of success, and a faster path to scale and profitability than any other company.

我们的愿景是打造地球上最以客户为中心的平台,在这里客户可以来购买任何他想买的东西。我们不是单独行动,我们和成千上万的各类合作伙伴一起并肩作战。我们悉心倾听客户,从客户的利益出发去去发明,实现他们的个性化购物,我们所有的努力都是为了赢得客户信任。

Our vision is to use this platform to build Earth’s most customer-centric company, a place where customers can come to find and discover anything and everything they might want to buy online. We won’t do so alone, but together with what will be thousands of partners of all sizes. We’ll listen to customers, invent on their behalf, and personalize the store for each of them, all while working hard to continue to earn their trust.

有一点可能是非常清楚的,就是这个平台提供了非同寻常的由规模经济带来的机会,假如我们能够利用好它的话,这个机会对于客户和股东来说都是非常有价值的。尽管依然有很多风险和复杂性,我们将义无反顾地前行。

As is probably clear, this platform affords an unusually large scale opportunity, one that should prove very valuable for both customers and shareholders if we can make the most of it. Despite the many risks and complexities, we are deeply committed to doing so.

四、2000年:当股价跌去了80% 

哎呀,这真是资本市场残酷的一年,亚马逊的股东也当然难以回避,当写这封信的时候,我们的股价相比去年同期跌去了80%。尽管股价如此,但从公司本身来说,大多数指标都显示公司基本面前所未有的强劲。我们的客户高达2000万户,从1999年1400万客户的基数上起跳。我们的销售规模2000年达到27.6亿美元,而1999年这一数字为16.4亿美元。

Ouch. It’s been a brutal year for many in the capital markets and certainly for 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, 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.Sales grew to $2.76 billion in 2000 from $1.64 billion in 1999.

因此,公司今天的基本面比一年前好,为什么股价会相比一年前跌去这么多?就像著名的投资大师格雷厄姆·本杰明所说的,“股价短期是投票机,长期是称重机。”很显然在1999年的大泡沫中,投票机比称重机更主宰市场;我们是期望被称重的公司,所有的公司长期来说一定会被称重。随着时间的推移,随着我们的埋头苦干,我们希望成为一个越来越重的公司。

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.

(注,据《一网打尽》,2000年贝佐斯在一次全体大会上说,当股价涨30%时,你并没感觉你比过去聪明了30%,因此股票价格跌30%时,你也不应该感觉比过去愚蠢了30%。)

五、2001年:为什么要关注现金流 

在每年的致股东信中(包括今年的),我们都附上1997年的致股东的信,用来帮助投资者决定亚马逊是不是他们想要的投资,也用来帮助我们审视自身有没有偏离初衷。我想我们没有背离初衷。

In every annual letter (including this one), we attach a copy of our original 1997 letter to shareholders to help investors decide if Amazon.com is the right kind of investment for them, and to help us determine if we have remained true to our original goals and values. I think we have.

在1997年致股东的信中,我们写到,“如果非要在漂亮的会计报表和最大化未来现金流折现之间做出选择的话,我们选择现金流。”为什么聚焦于现金流指标?因为股价就是一家公司未来每股现金流的折现,因此,现金流比其他任何单一指标在长期更能说明一家公司的股价。

In that 1997 letter, we wrote, “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.”Why focus on cash flows? Because a share of stock is a share of a company's future cash flows, and, as a result, cash flows more than any other single variable seem to do the best job of explaining a company's stock price over the long term.

就像我们以前多次讨论过的,我们坚信股东的长期利益与我们客户的利益密切相关,如果我们行事正确,今天的顾客明天会买得更多,我们将吸引更多的顾客,也将增加更多的现金流和增加股东的长期价值。我们致力于用惠及顾客同时惠及股东利益的方式来提升我们在电子商务领域的领导地位。

As I’ve discussed many times before, we are firm believers that the long-term interests of shareholders are tightly linked to the interests of our customers: if we do our jobs right, today's customers will buy more tomorrow, we’ll add more customers in the process, and it will all add up to more cash flow and more long-term value for our shareholders. To that end, we are committed to extending our leadership in e-commerce in a way that benefits customers and therefore, inherently, investors--you can’t do one without the other.

六、2002年:兼顾低价和客户体验 

我们令人兴奋的而又没有被很好理解的特异之处在于,人们观察到我们在坚定地在提供世界一流的客户体验的同时,兼顾了低价。对于传统商店来说,良好的客户体验和低价双重目标之间看起来是矛盾的,它们必须在良好的客户体验与低价之间做出选择。亚马逊是如何做到的?

One of our most exciting peculiarities is poorly understood. People see that we’re determined to offer both world-leading customer experience and the lowest possible prices, but to some this dual goal seems paradoxical if not downright quixotic.

Traditional stores face a time-tested tradeoff between offering high-touch customer experience on the one hand and the lowest possible prices on the other. How can Amazon.com be trying to do both?

答案在于,我们将改善我们客户体验的成本相当大程度转化为固定成本,比如不匹配的搜索,延展产品信息,个性化建议和其他新软件功能。当改善客户体验的成本被固化后,提升客户体验的成本在总体销售收入中的占比会随着业务规模扩大而快速缩小,而且改善客户体验中的可变成本,比如配送成本,会随着我们模型中错误的修正而减少,修正错误在提升客户体验的同时也降低了成本。

The answer is that we transform much of customer experience—such as unmatched selection, extensive product information, personalized recommendations, and other new software features—into largely a fixed expense. With customer experience costs largely fixed (more like a publishing model than a retailing model), our costs as a percentage of sales can shrink rapidly as we grow our business. Moreover, customer experience costs that remain variable—such as the variable portion of fulfillment costs—improve in our model as we reduce defects. Eliminating defects improves costs and leads to better customer experience.

(注:亚马逊以顾客为中心绝不停留在说说层面,过去8年主动将亚马逊云降价40次,亚马逊在会议室留有一把空椅子,贝佐斯说这是为顾客留的。)

七、2003年:长线的战略价值 

长线思考是所有者本身的要求和结果。所有者和租户是完全不同的两种思维。我知道,有一对夫妇把他们的房子租出去了,住进来的租客将圣诞树钉在硬木地板上而非把它竖在地板上。不可否认,这是非常无良的租户。但是没有房东会如此短视,相似地,一些投资者就如同短期租客,快速买进卖出,他们只是暂时租了短期“拥有”的股票。

Long-term thinking is both a requirement and an outcome of true ownership. Owners are different from tenants. I know of a couple who rented out their house, and the family who moved in nailed their Christmas tree to the hardwood floors instead of using a tree stand. Expedient, I suppose, and admittedly these were particularly bad tenants, but no owner would be so short-sighted. Similarly, many investors are effectively short-term tenants,turning their portfolios so quickly they are really just renting the stocks that they temporarily “own.”

我们自1997年致股东的信中就强调了长期战略,长期战略并非抽象的理念,而是驱动我们做许多具体决定的动因,我用客户体验情境来解释下“长期”这个并非抽象的理念,客户体验包括客户与我们做生意的方方面面,从产品定价到品类选择;从人机交互界面到我们如何打包和运输商品。我们留给客户的体验是我们生意的重要驱动力。

We emphasized our long-term views in our 1997 letter to shareholders, our first as a public company,because that approach really does drive making many concrete, non-abstract decisions. I’d like to discuss a few of these non-abstract decisions in the context of customer experience. At Amazon.com, we use the term customer experience broadly. It includes every customer-facing aspect of our business—from our product prices to our selection, from our website’s user interface to how we package and ship items. The customer experience we create is by far the most important driver of our business.

我们在设计客户体验时,我们将长期所有者的思维牢记心中,我们试着将关乎客户体验大大小小的决定都放在长期这个框架下。

As we design our customer experience, we do so with long-term owners in mind. We try to make all of our customer experience decisions—big and small—in that framework.

比如,我们在1995年上线亚马逊不久,就给了客户评价商品的留言权利。现在客户评价留言已经成为了亚马逊的常态,但当时我们受到很多供货方类似“我们懂得我们的生意吗”的抱怨。“你卖东西赚钱,为什么会允许网站上出现负面商品评价”。就像我们的一位焦点成员所说的,我知道有时负面评价或者冷淡评语会改变我某次的购买决定,短期会令我们失去一些销售,但长期来说,让顾客做出更好的购买决定终将有利于公司发展。

For instance, shortly after launching Amazon.com in 1995, we empowered customers to review products. While now a routine Amazon.com practice, at the time we received complaints from a few vendors, basically wondering if we understood our business: “You make money when you sell things—why would you allow negative reviews on your website?” Speaking as a focus group of one, I know I’ve sometimes changed my mind before making purchases on Amazon.com as a result of negative or lukewarm customer reviews. Though negative reviews cost us some sales in the short term, helping customers make better purchase decisions ultimately pays off for the company.

另外一个例子是我们的订单即时更新功能,它会提醒你已经购买过某一商品,顾客往往过着繁忙的生活,经常会记不得已经购买过某物,比如说一年前购买过一张DVD或CD。当我们启动订单即时更新功能,我们能够观测到,我们的销售从统计数据上有轻微的下降。对顾客有利?肯定是。对股东有利?当然是,从长期而言。

Another example is our Instant Order Update feature, which reminds you that you’ve already bought a particular item. Customers lead busy lives and cannot always remember if they’ve already purchased a particular item, say a DVD or CD they bought a year earlier. When we launched Instant Order Update, we were able to measure with statistical significance that the feature slightly reduced sales. Good for customers? Definitely. Good for shareowners? Yes, in the long run.

我们全力打造的更昂贵的客户体验是每日免费配送和不断降价,消除次品,提升生产效率并把所节省的费用以低价的方式返还给客户是我们长期的决定。销量的提升需要时间,降价往往损害当期运营结果。但是,从长期而言,全力以赴的“价格-成本结构环”将给我们带来更有价值更强劲的商业。

Since many of our costs, such as software engineering, are relatively fixed and many of our variable costs can also be better managed at larger scale, driving more volume through our cost structure reduces those costs as a percentage of sales. To give one small example, engineering a feature like Instant Order Update for use by 40 million customers costs nowhere near 40 times what it would cost to do the same for 1 million customers.

我们的价格策略并不是试图利润最大化,而是追求最大化的客户价值,从而在长期创造更大的利基。比如,我们用比原行业低得多的利润水平去销售珠宝,客户最终会明白物有所值,这个策略将长期提升股东价值。我们有一个努力工作并具有创新精神的团队,他们以客户为中心和以长期为中心。假以时日,客户的利益和股东的利益都会得到提升。

Our pricing strategy does not attempt to maximize margin percentages, but instead seeks to drive maximum value for customers and thereby create a much larger bottom line—in the long term. For example, we’re targeting gross margins on our jewelry sales to be substantially lower than industry norms because we believe over time—customers figure these things out—this approach will produce more value for shareholders.We have a strong team of hard-working, innovative folks building Amazon.com. They are focused on the customer and focused on the long term. On that time scale, the interests of shareowners and customers arealigned.

(注:贝佐斯曾说过,我每天都是传教士而不是雇佣兵,传教士有正义目标,并试图让世界变得更美好,而雇佣兵则唯利是图,为了金钱和权利就可以扫荡所有拦路人。但悖论是,通常传教士最终会赚钱更多。)

八、2004:我们最看重的财务指标 

我们最看重并在长期最想提升的财务指标,是每股自由现金流。为什么不像很多公司那样,首先关注的和最关注的是利润或者每股收益的增长?简单的答案是,利润不能直接转换成现金流,股价是未来每股现金流的折现,而不是每股盈利的折现。未来盈利是未来每股现金流的组成部分,但不是最重要的部分,运营资本、资本开支和未来股权的稀释也非常重要。

Our ultimate financial measure, and the one we most want to drive over the long-term, is free cash flow per share.Why not focus first and foremost, as many do, on earnings, earnings per share or earnings growth? The simple answer is that earnings don’t directly translate into cash flows, and shares are worth only the present value of their future cash flows, not the present value of their future earnings. Future earnings are a component—but not the only important component—of future cash flow per share. Working capital and capital expenditures are also important, as is future share dilution.

尽管这听起来是反直觉的,有些公司在某些情况下增加利润的行为却损害了股东价值。当为增长进行的资本投入大于这项投资未来所产生的现金流折现时,就会发生损害股东价值的情形。

Though some may find it counterintuitive, a company can actually impair shareholder value in certain circumstances by growing earnings. This happens when the capital investments required for growth exceed the present value of the cash flow derived from those investments.

现金流量表没有受到足够的重视,有洞察力的投资者应该不满足于仅仅分析损益表就去投资。

Cash flow statements often don’t receive as much attention as they deserve. Discerning investors don’t stop with the income statement.

我们最重要的财务指标是每股自由现金流。

Our Most Important Financial Measure: Free Cash Flow Per Share

亚马逊的财务重点是增强每股现金流的长期增长。亚马逊自由现金流的增长是通过增加运营利润、有效管理运营资本和资本开支。我们通过提升客户方方面面的体验来扩大销售和极力压低成本来增加运营利润。

Amazon.com’s financial focus is on long-term growth in free cash flow per share.Amazon.com’s free cash flow is driven primarily by increasing operating profit dollars and efficiently managing both working capital and capital expenditures. We work to increase operating profit by focusing on improving all aspects of the customer experience to grow sales and by maintaining a lean cost structure.

对亚马逊来说关注自由现金流并非新鲜事。我们在1997年致股东的信里就说过如果在漂亮的会计报表和最大化每股现金流折现之间做出选择的话,我们选择自由现金流。我们一如既往地附上1997年致股东的信,希望当前和潜在的股东都能好好看看。

This focus on free cash flow isn’t new for Amazon.com. We made it clear in our 1997 letter to shareholders—our first as a public company—that when “forced to choose between optimizing GAAP accounting and maximizing the present value of future cash flows, we’ll take the cash flows.” I’m attaching a copy of our complete 1997 letter and encourage current and prospective shareowners to take a look at it.

九、2005:不能用可见的短期利益来衡量长期利益 

我们有些重要的决定可以通过数字分析来做出,哪一个是正确答案哪一个是错误答案,哪一个是更好的答案,哪一个是更糟的答案,这是我们喜欢的决策方式。

Many of the important decisions we make at Amazon.com can be made with data. There is a right answer or a wrong answer, a better answer or a worse answer, and math tells us which is which. These are our favorite kinds of decisions.

就像你可以预期的,不是所有的重要决定都通过数字分析的方式做出。有时我们需要在少许、甚至没有数据的情况下做判断。尽管数字、分析和数理起到重要作用,但这些决定更有赖于判断力。

As you would expect, however, not all of our important decisions can be made in this enviable, math-based way. Sometimes we have little or no historical data to guide us and proactive experimentation is impossible, impractical, or tantamount to a decision to proceed. Though data, analysis, and math play a role, the prime ingredient in these decisions is judgment.

就像我们股东所知道的,我们在效率和规模允许的前提下年复一年将持续地为顾客降低价格,这就是一个不能用数学方式来分析的重要决定。实际上,数学分析上看并不支持降价策略,从算法上看,聪明的做法是提价,我们的收入与价格弹性直接相关。通过精确计算,我们可以预测某一百分比的降价会在一定程度上带来销量的增加。几乎没有例外,短期销量的上升无法弥补价格下降带来的损失。

As our shareholders know, we have made a decision to continuously and significantly lower prices for customers year after year as our efficiency and scale make it possible. This is an example of a very important decision that cannot be made in a math-based way. In fact, when we lower prices, we go against the math that we can do, which always says that the smart move is to raise prices. We have significant data related to price elasticity. With fair accuracy, we can predict that a price reduction of a certain percentage will result in anincrease in units sold of a certain percentage. With rare exceptions, the volume increase in the short term is never enough to pay for the price decrease. 

然而,数量上的弹性分析是短期的。我们可以用数字来估算出,降价在本周和本季度带来的结果,但我们不能用数字估算出,持续降价对我们生意未来五年和十年的影响。我们的判断是不断把效率提升和规模上升的好处用低价的方式回馈给顾客就像一个正循环,它从长期大幅增加公司现金流,有助于形成一个更有价值的亚马逊平台。我们对免费运和亚马逊金牌有相似的判断,它们短期是昂贵的,但长期是重要的和价值巨大的。

However, our quantitative understanding of elasticity is short-term. We can estimate what a price reduction will do this week and this quarter. But we cannot numerically estimate the effect that consistently lowering prices will have on our business over five years or ten years or more. Our judgment is that relentlessly returning efficiency improvements and scale economies to customers in the form of lower prices creates a virtuous cycle that leads over the long term to a much larger dollar amount of free cash flow, and thereby to a much more valuable Amazon.com. We’ve made similar judgments around Free Super Saver Shipping and Amazon Prime, both of which are expensive in the short term and—we believe—important and valuable in the long term.

就像另外一个例子所展示的,我们在2000年邀请第三方卖家在我们的平台上与我们直销产品展开直接竞争,这看起来很冒险,内部和外部的人们都善意提醒,这将蚕食亚马逊的零售业务。这是一个以客户为中心的创新,但没有办法提前证明它是奏效的。有人指出邀请第三方到亚马逊将使得预测库存更困难了,而且如果第三方卖家的销售网页盖过我们,我们会可能销售停滞库存增加。

As another example, in 2000 we invited third parties to compete directly against us on our “prime retail real estate”—our product detail pages. Launching a single detail page for both Amazon retail and third-party items seemed risky. Well-meaning people internally and externally worried it would can nibalize Amazon’s retail business, and—as is often the case with consumer-focused innovations—there was no way to prove in advance that it would work. Our buyers pointed out that inviting third parties onto Amazon.com would make inventory forecasting more difficult and that we could get “stuck” with excess inventory if we “lost the detail page” to one of our third-party sellers. 

然而,我们的判断是简单的,如果第三方能够为某种商品提供更低的价格和更好的选择,我们希望我们的客户能够购买。随着时间流逝,第三方销售应变成我们生意中重要的和成功的一部分。2000年第三方销售仅占我们销售的6%,2005年第三方销售占到了28%,而且这是在销售收入增长了三倍的基础上发生的。(注:2021年占到了51.12%)

However, our judgment was simple. If a third party could offer a better price or better availability on a particular item, then we wanted our customer to get easy access to that offer. Over time, thirdparty sales have become a successful and significant part of our business. Third-party units have grown from 6% of total units sold in 2000 to 28% in 2005, even as retail revenues have grown three-fold.

数字支持的决策经常能赢得更多的支持,然而以判断力为基础的决策却总是陷入争论,直到付诸实践。任何不能包容争论的机构只能把自己限制在第一种形式的决策里。对我们来说,不能包容争论不仅限制了争议,而且极大限制了创新和长期价值创造。

Math-based decisions command wide agreement, whereas judgment-based decisions are rightly debated and often controversial, at least until put into practice and demonstrated. Any institution u nwilling to endure controversy must limit itself to decisions of the first type. In our view, doing so would not only limit controversy—it would also significantly limit innovation and long-term value creation.

十、2006:静待一粒种子长成大树 

在亚马逊现在的规模下,种一粒种子直到它成为具有影响力的新生意需要克制、耐心和滋养的文化。

At Amazon’s current scale, planting seeds that will grow into meaningful new businesses takes some discipline, a bit of patience, and a nurturing culture.

亚马逊物流是一套网络服务应用编程,它使得我们1200万平方英尺的物流中心网络变身为巨大的和精密的计算机神经末梢,租用我们的物流中心一立方英尺需要45美分,你可以把你的产品存放在我们的物流中心。你可以用我们的网络服务通知我们货已经达到,通知我们分拣或者包装,或者运到指定地点。

Fulfillment by Amazon is a set of web services API’s that turns our 12 million square foot fulfillment center network into a gigantic and sophisticated computer peripheral. Pay us 45 cents per month per cubic foot of fulfillment center space, and you can stow your products in our network. You make web services calls to alert us to expect inventory to arrive, to tell us to pick and pack one or more items, and to tell us where to ship those items. 

亚马逊云是另外一个例子,我们正在开拓一种新的生意,关注的人群是软件开发者。我们现在提供10种不同的网络服务,建立了有24000名软件开发者注册的社区,我们的目标是响应这些开发者广泛的需求,比如存储和计算机容量。软件开发者经常需要这方面的帮助,而亚马逊对此已经有12年的经验。我们确信,这个生意是错位竞争,它经济上的回报随着时间流逝也将会是巨大的。

Amazon Web Services is another example. With AWS, we’re building a new business focused on a newcustomer set … software developers. We currently offer ten different web services and have built a community of over 240,000 registered developers. We’re targeting broad needs universally faced by developers, such as storage and compute capacity—areas in which developers have asked for help, and in which we have deep expertise from scaling Amazon.com over the last twelve years. We’re well positioned to do it, it’s highly differentiated, and it can be a significant, financially attractive business over time.

在大公司,从小种子培养新生意是困难的,因为新生意需要耐心和培育。与众不同的亚马逊文化可以培育具有巨大潜力的新业务,我相信这也是我们竞争力的源泉。

In some large companies, it might be difficult to grow new businesses from tiny seeds because of the patience and nurturing required. In my view, Amazon’s culture is unusually supportive of small businesses with big potential, and I believe that’s a source of competitive advantage.

在我们的经验里,如果一个新的生意一开始很火爆,还需要3到7年才能在经济上对公司产生有意义的影响。我们可以在我们的国际业务、早期的非媒体业务和我们的第三方销售平台上看到这样一个时间框架。今天国际业务占到我们销售的45%,第三方销售平台收入占到了销售的28%。

In our experience, if a new business enjoys runaway success, it can only begin to be meaningful to the overall company economics in something like three to seven years. We’ve seen those time frames with our international businesses, our earlier non-media businesses, and our third party seller businesses. Today, international is 45% of sales, non-media is 34% of sales, and our third party seller businesses account for 28% of our units sold. 

十一、2007年:Kindle的诞生 

我需要强调Kindle开发了实体书籍不可能有的实用功能,如果你遇到不认识的字,你可以轻松查找。你也可以搜寻你的书目。你的笔记和划线都会被存储到云端,永不丢失。Kindle也可以自动翻到你上次阅读的地方。如果你的眼睛累了,你可以调节字的打消。更重要的是,它可以无缝地,轻松地找到你要的书,并在60秒钟下载下来。

I’ll highlight a few of the useful features we built into Kindle that go beyond what you could ever do with aphysical 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.

对于出版商来说,Kindle也有很多好处,书不被多印,也不会被少印,也不会进入仓库,也不会被浪费。更重要的是,Kindle让读者买书更便利。任何时候,你让事情更简单和更没有摩擦,你将收获更多。

From apublisher’s point of view, there are a lot of advantages to Kindle. Books never go out of print, and they never go ut 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.

十二、2008:以客户体验为战略支柱 

在剧烈波动的经济环境下,我们的底层逻辑是一致的。努力工作,聚焦于长期和聚焦于客户需求。长线思考激活我们已有的能力,让我们可以尝试我们从来不曾思考过的新事物,长线思考为发明创造提供了必须的失败容忍和迭代支持,它让我们在未知空间探索。

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. 

寻求即时满足或者缥缈承诺,你会发现在你所寻找的机会前面,已经一堆人等在你前面了。长期思考与满足客户需求互相促进。如果你能识别客户的需求,并且能够进一步确认客户的这一需求是长期和有意义的,我们的策略是让我们耐心地用很多年去寻找一个解决方法。从客户的需求出发与从公司已有技能出发去寻找商业机遇是形成鲜明对比的。技术推进路径认为,“我们已经擅长做X,我们可以用X来做点其他的?”技术推进路径是有用的和可以带来回报的方法。然而,如果技术路径一直使用到尽头时,公司没有办法驱动自己形成新的技术。最终,已有的技术会过时。回到客户需求的工作方法则需要我们经常形成新的能力和锻炼我们的新肌肉,无论最初的几步是多么不舒服和尴尬。

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.

在我们零售业务中,我们确信客户需要更低的价格、更多的选择和更快捷的物流,这些需求长期存在着。很难想象十年之后,客户需要更高的价格、更少的选择和更慢的物流。我们确信需要不断投资来巩固这些长期支柱性需求。我们知道我们的付出在将来会得到丰厚的回报。

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.

我们的价格目标是赢得客户的信任,而不是最大化短期利润。我们相信旨在赢得客户信任的定价策略长期会增加我们总利润。我们每件商品会赚得少点,但是持续的信任会使我们售出更多的商品,因此我们对所有的品类实行低价策略。基于同样的原因,我们继续投资包含亚马逊金牌在内的免费配送。客户是信息灵通和聪明的,他们在购物时会估算包括配送成本在内的总成本。在过去的12个月,全世界的客户使用我们的免费物流节省了8亿美元。

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.

十三、2009:更快、更多、更省 

2009年的财务结果是过去15年不断提升客户体验的结果:更多的选择,更快的配送,不断降低的成本结构使我们可以用低价的方式返还给客户,外加其他方面的努力。我们公司大量聪明的、全力以赴的,以客户为中心的员工达成了这一结果。我们为我们的低价策略、可靠的配送,我们有大量其他地方难以找到商品的库存而感到骄傲。我们知道我们还可以通过持续努力变得更好。

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.

(注:借用柯林斯对飞轮效应和自我强化所做的定义,贝佐斯描绘过公司步入良性循环的前景:以更低的价格来吸引更多的顾客,更多的顾客意味着更高的销量,也会把第三方销售商更多吸引到亚马逊平台,这会使得亚马逊的固定设施更有效率,更加的效率会进一步降低价格。)

十四、2010:我们是一家科技公司 

随即预测、单纯贝叶斯估计、RESTful服务、Gossip协议、事件一致性、反熵、拜占庭法定人数、纠删码、向量时钟算法……如果你走进亚马逊的某个会议室,你会误以为自己闯进了某个科技论坛。

Random forests, naïve Bayesian estimators, RESTful services, gossip protocols, eventual consistency, datasharding, 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.

如果仅仅认为科技是研发部门的事,那么科技的努力将发挥不了作用,事实上,我们整个团队、所有的决策均全程拥抱科技,科技与我们的决策、我们生意的每个方面、我们做的每件事情紧密结合。

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.

到此为止,如果忠实阅读这封信的股东仍然没有感觉,我将提醒你,这些技术不是闲着无聊开发出来的,他们直接带来自由现金流。

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.

十五、2011:创新的力量 

创新可以用很多形式在很多维度上展开,但最激烈最具有变革意义的创新是为他人赋能,助力他人有追逐梦想。这正是亚马逊在做的,亚马逊物流(FBA)、亚马逊云(AWS)和亚马逊直接出版平台(KDP)就是这样的赋能平台。由于AWS、FBA和 KDP的支持,成千上万的人在这些强大的自助平台上大胆试验,去完成原本可能会觉得无法想象或不切实际的事情。这些大规模的创新平台不是零和游戏,他们是双赢,为软件开发者、企业家、顾客、作者和读者创造了巨大的价值。

Invention comes in many forms and at many scales. The most radical and transformative of inventions areoften 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.

在2011年最后一个季度,亚马逊物流(FBA)为第三方卖家配送了上千万的商品。当第三方卖家用FBA,他们的商品可以享用亚马逊金牌会员,超级省配送、亚马逊退货和客服。FBA是一个自助平台,并且有简单易用的库存管理系统,这是亚马逊卖家看重的核心部分。用科技术语来说,FBA附带一系列API,你可以使用我们的全球物流中心,它们就像巨大的计算机神经末梢。

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 forAmazon 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.

Kindle直接出版正以惊人的速度成长,有一千多名KDP的作者现在每个月都可以出售1000册书,甚至有人可以售出上万册,有两个已经加入Kindle百万俱乐部,KDP对于作者来说是个大赢家。使用KDP的作者仍然保留著作权和著作的衍生权。KDP作者可以按照自己的时间表来发布作品,而在传统的出版业,他们需要在写完著作一年后甚至更迟才能出版。更重要的是,KDP作者可以得到70%的版税,传统的大出版商仅仅对每本书支付17.5%的版税(它们支付书售价70%的25%),一本KDP书非常便宜,往往仅定价2.99美元,作者可以拿到2美元,而在传统的17.5%的版税下,一本书要卖到11.43美元才能拿到2美元的版税,我保证2..99美元定价下会比11.43美元定价下售出更多的书。

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, andtwo 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 tobe $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.

十六、2012:来自内部驱动的力量 

经常阅读贝佐斯致股东信的读者都知道,亚马逊前进的驱动力来自我们打动客户的渴望,而不是来自打败竞争对手的热忱。我们对最大化亚马逊商业成功的路径并不热衷。也有许多紧盯竞争对手取得成功的公司,两种策略各有利弊。而我们确实会关注我们的竞争对手,并被他们所激励,但以客户为中心才真正定义了我们的文化。

As regular readers of this letter will know, our energy at Amazon comes from the desire to impress customers rather than the zeal to best competitors. We don’t take a view on which of these approaches is more likely to maximize business success. There are pros and cons to both and many examples of highly successful competitor-focused companies. We do work to pay attention to competitors and be inspired by them, but it is a fact that the customer-centric way is at this point a defining element of our culture.

以客户为中心的好处在于,或许很微妙,能够驱动积极能动性。当我们尽最大努力时,我们不需要外在的压力。我们是用内部驱动来为客户提升服务,主动添加各种好处和性能,而不是迫不得已做出改进。我们创造并非迫不得已,以客户为中心驱动的所做投资胜过迫于外部压力做出的投资。

One advantage – perhaps a somewhat One advantage – perhaps a somewhat subtle one – of a customer-driven focus is that it aids a certain type of proactivity. When we’re at our best, we don’t wait for external pressures. We are internally driven to improve our services, adding benefits and features, before we have to. We lower prices and increase value for customers before we have to. We invent before we have to. These investments are motivated by customer focus rather than by reaction to competition. 

我们的金牌会员现在可以享有1500万商品,15倍于2005年启动之时。金牌会员流媒体视频同比增加3倍,有38000部影视作品。Kindle借阅图书馆里的书也三倍于去年同期,达到30万册,包括我们花了数百万美元让哈利波特全集成为馆藏之书。我们不是迫不得已而是积极主动扩大了金牌会员享有的服务。亚马逊物流是一个历时数年的相关投资,亚马逊物流给了第三方卖家可以把货物存放在我们物流中心的选择,让第三方卖家的商品成为金牌会员可选择的商品,是一个重大的改变性措施,提升了第三方卖家销量的同时,增加了顾客和金牌会员的选择。

We now have more than 15 million items in Prime, up 15x since we launched in 2005. Prime Instant Video selection tripled in justover a year to more than 38,000 movies and TV episodes. The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library has also morethan tripled to over 300,000 books, including an investment of millions of dollars to make the entire Harry Potterseries available as part of that selection. We didn’t “have to” make these improvements in Prime. We did so proactively. A related investment – a major, multi-year one – is Fulfillment by Amazon. FBA gives third-party sellers the option of warehousing their inventory alongside ours in our fulfillment center network. It has been a game changer for our seller customers because their items become eligible for Prime benefits, which drives their sales, while at the same time benefitting consumers with additional Prime selection.

我们在金牌会员、亚马逊云、Kindle、数字媒体和客户体验上的重磅投资也招来一些过于慷慨的非议,不像一个追求盈利的公司,不为股东利于着想。正如一个外部观察者所说:“在我看来,亚马逊就像由投资机构管理的、为客户利益运营的慈善机构。”对此,我并不认同。我认为,一个公司踩着“时间刚刚好”而被迫挤牙膏式的改进是小聪明,这种小聪明在一个快速运转的世界中是非常危险的。更根本的是,用长线思维来推动飞轮,积极主动地取悦客户,赢得他们的信任,将带来更多的生意,甚至开辟新的商业领域。从长远来看,客户的利益与股东的利益是一致的。

Our heavy investments in Prime, AWS, Kindle, digital media, and customer experience in general strike some as too generous, shareholder indifferent, or even at odds with being a for-profit company. “Amazon, as far as I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers,” writes one outside observer. But I don’t think so. To me, trying to dole out improvements in a just in-time fashion would be too clever by half. It would be risky in a world as fast-moving as the one we all live in.More fundamentally, I think long-term thinking squares the circle. Proactively delighting customers earns trust,which earns more business from those customers, even in new business arenas. Take a long-term view, and the interests of customers and shareholders alig.

十七、2013年:亚马逊已启用和正在培育的产品 

我为我们的团队感到骄傲,他们过去数年间代表客户利益进行创新,全世界的亚马逊人从长计议不断打造超出客户期望、能让顾客为之惊呼的好产品。

I’m so proud of what all the teams here at Amazon have accomplished on behalf of customers this past year.Amazonians around the world are polishing products and services to a degree that is beyond what’s expected orrequired, taking the long view, reinventing normal, and getting customers to say “Wow.

我们使用非同寻常的工具:顾客至上,而不是盯住竞争对手,对创新发自内心的激情,渴望做得更好和愿意长线思维。良好的执行加上一点点运气,第三方销售平台(Marketplace)、金牌会员(Prime)和亚马逊云(AWS)在为客户提供服务的同时,并在很多年都有良好的经济回报。

We’ll approach the job with our usual tools: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, heartfelt passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and a willingness to think long-term. With good execution and a bit of continuing good luck, Marketplace, Prime, and AWS can be serving customers and earning financial returns for many years to come.

亚马逊云推出已有8年了,我们团队创新的步伐一直在加速,在2010年,我们推出了61中不同的服务。我们经常迭代,当一个新的功能或者增强版本出来时,我们马上把它推向市场,这个方法是快速的、以顾客为中心的,和富有效率的。它使得我们在过去8年时间中降价了40次,我们的团队仍然没有慢下来的打算。

AWS is eight years old, and the team’s pace of innovation is actually accelerating. In 2010, we launched 61 significant services and features. We iterate continuously, and when a feature or enhancement is ready, we push it out and make it instantly available to all. This approach is fast, customer-centric, and efficient – it’s allowed us to reduce prices more than 40 times in the past 8 years – and the teams have no plans to slow down.

失败总是与创新相伴随,失败不是可选项。我们理解和相信越早失败,我们就越能早点找到对的路。当这一过程生效时,它意味着失败是小规模的可控的(一些试验开始时很小),当我们发现那些对顾客真正有用的好项目时,我们下双倍的赌注希望获得较大的成功。然而,创新总是混乱的,随着时间推移,我们也总会有失败的项目。

Failure comes part and parcel with invention. It’s not optional. We understand that and believe in failing early and iterating until we get it right. When this process works, it means our failures are relatively small in size(most experiments can start small), and when we hit on something that is really working for customers, we double-down on it with hopes to turn it into an even bigger success. However, it’s not always as clean as that.Inventing is messy, and over time, it’s certain that we’ll fail at some big bets too.

十八、2014年:一个好产品的特征 

一个好产品总是有四大特征:客户喜欢、拥有巨大的体量、有很高的回报,能长时间流行,生命周期有潜力达到几十年以上。当你发现了这些好的产品,不要浅尝辄止,要与它结婚。

A dreamy business offering has at least four characteristics. Customers love it, it can grow to very large size, it has strong returns on capital, and it’s durable in time – with the potential to endure for decades. When you find one of these, don’t just swipe right, get married.

我非常高兴地向您报告,亚马逊在这方面可不是一夫一妻制,经过20年的冒险和团队工作,外加好运一路陪伴,我们高兴地将三个产品视为生命伴侣:Marketplace, Prime, 和 AWS。每一个产品初始时都看起来如此大胆,敏感的人们担忧它们行不通。但是在这点上,后来证明它们是多么独特,我们是多么幸运能够拥有它们。在商业中没有清闲的差事,我们需要滋养和巩固它们。

Well, I’m pleased to report that Amazon hasn’t been monogamous in this regard. After two decades of risk taking and teamwork, and with generous helpings of good fortune all along the way, we are now happily wed to what I believe are three such life partners: Marketplace, Prime, and AWS. Each of these offerings was a bold bet at first, and sensible people worried (often!) that they could not work. But at this point, it’s become pretty clear how special they are and how lucky we are to have them. It’s also clear that there are no sinecures in business. We know it’s our job to always nourish and fortify them.

十九、2015年:勇于试错 

关于公司文化:无论好与坏,公司文化是持久的、稳定和难以改变的。公司文化是公司优势或者劣势的源泉。你可以把公司文化写下来,但是当你这么做的时候,你是在发现公司文化,而不是创造公司文化。公司文化是由人和事件在漫长时间里沉淀下来的,由那些已经成为传说的成功和失败的故事构成。如果公司文化鲜明,它就像定制手套一样适合某类人。喜欢竞争的人和喜欢创新的人会开心地呆在不同文化的企业中。

A word about corporate cultures: for better or for worse, they are enduring, stable, hard to change. They can be a source of advantage or disadvantage. You can write down your corporate culture, but when you do so,you’re discovering it, uncovering it – not creating it. It is created slowly over time by the people and by events –by the stories of past success and failure that become a deep part of the company lore. If it’s a distinctive culture,it will fit certain people like a custom-made glove. The reason cultures are so stable in time is because people self-select. Someone energized by competitive zeal may select and be happy in one culture, while someone who loves to pioneer and invent may choose another. The world, thankfully, is full of many high-performing, highly distinctive corporate cultures. We never claim that our approach is the right one – just that it’s ours – and over the last two decades, we’ve collected a large group of like-minded people. Folks who find our approach energizing and meaningful.

二十、2016:永远做Day 1的公司 

“Day 2是停滞不前,变得无关紧要,承受痛苦的衰退,直到死亡。这就是我们为什么要一直成为Day 1的公司。”卓越的公司一旦沦为Day 2公司可能需要数十年,尽管衰退是极其缓慢的,但最终在劫难逃。

“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”To be sure, this kind of decline would happen in extreme slow motion. An established company might harvest Day 2 for decades, but the final result would still come.

我感兴趣的问题是,我们如何避免成为Day 2?技巧是什么?即使成为一个很大的公司后,我们如何保持Day 1的活力?

I’m interested in the question, how do you fend off Day 2? What are the techniques and tactics? How do youkeep the vitality of Day 1, even inside a large organization?

这类问题没有简单的答案。可能有很要素、各种路径和各种策略。我不知道所有的答案。但是我知道部分答案。这就是保持Day 1要素群:顾客至上、小心使用替代指标、拥抱外部世界的热忱和高效决策力。

Such a question can’t have a simple answer. There will be many elements, multiple paths, and many traps. I don’t know the whole answer, but I may know bits of it. Here’s a starter pack of essentials for Day 1 defense: customer obsession, a skeptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high-velocity decision making.

为什么要以客户为中心?因为有以客户为中心有很多好处,最大的好处是,客户经常有各种不满,他们想要更好的产品,即使他们不知道想要的产品是什么。你取悦客户的愿望驱动你代表客户利益去创新。没有客户请求亚马逊创立金牌会员,但是最后证明客户是需要金牌会员的。诸如此类,我可以举出很多例子。

True Customer Obsession. Why? There are many advantages to a customer-centric approach, but here’s the big one: customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to inventon their behalf. No customer ever asked Amazon to create the Prime membership program, but it sure turns out they wanted it, and I could give you many such examples.

要小心使用替代指标。一个经常的案例就是将流程作为替代指标。好的流程服务你,让你可以更好服务客户。但是如果不小心,流程就成为了主体,这在大公司会轻易发生。结果是,你停止了以客户为中心,而是追求正确的流程。当不理想的事情发生时,“我遵守了流程”的辩护并非不常见。更有人投机取巧研究和利用流程。流程不是主体。这是值得问问自己的,我们拥有流程还是流程拥有我们。在Day 2公司,你会一眼看出这个问题。

Resist Proxies. A common example is process as proxy. Good process serves you so you can serve customers. But if you’re not watchful, the process can become the thing. This can happen very easily in large organizations. The process becomes the proxy for the result you want. You stop looking at outcomes and just make sure you’re doing the process right. Gulp. It’s not that rare to hear a junior leader defend a bad outcome with something like, “Well, we followed the process.” A more experienced leader will use it as an opportunity to investigate and improve the process. The process is not the thing. It’s always worth asking, do we own the process or does the process own us? In a Day 2 company, you might find it’s the second.

拥抱外部趋势。这个世界的外部趋势会推着我们进入Day 2,如果你不能快速拥抱强力的外部趋势。如果你抗拒外部趋势,你就与未来作对。拥抱它们,你将搭上顺风车。

Embrace External Trends.The outside world can push you into Day 2 if you won’t or can’t embrace powerful trends quickly. If you fight them, you’re probably fighting the future. Embrace them and you have a tailwind.

快速决策。Day 2公司经常会做高质量的决策,但是决策很慢。为了保持Day 1公司的活力,你不得不快速做出高质量的决策。快速决策对刚起步的公司容易,但是对大型公司来说却很难。亚马逊的高管团队下决心保持快速决策能力。快速决策也非常有乐趣。我们不知道全部答案,但是我们有一些思路。

High-Velocity Decision Making Day 2 companies make high-quality decisions, but they make high-quality decisions slowly. To keep the energy and dynamism of Day 1, you have to somehow make high-quality, high-velocity decisions. Easy for start-ups and very challenging for large organizations. The senior team at Amazon is determined to keep our decision-making velocity high. Speed matters in business – plus a high-velocity decision making environment is more fun too. We don’t know all the answers, but here are some thoughts.

二十一、2017年:设立高标准的内部组织 

你如何不断超越客户的期望?没有单一的路径,它取决于很多因素。但是高标准肯定是我们不断超越客户期望的重要因素。我们在此方面有着价值数十亿美元的教训。从经验出发,我们愿意和你分享我们从高标准内部组织中学到的精华。

How do you stay ahead of ever-rising customer expectations? There’s no single way to do it – it’s a combinationof many things. But high standards (widely deployed and at all levels of detail) are certainly a big part of it.We’ve had some successes over the years in our quest to meet the high expectations of customers. We’ve also ad billions of dollars’ worth of failures along the way. With those experiences as backdrop, I’d like to share ith you the essentials of what we’ve learned (so far) about high standards inside an organization.

努力建立高标准的文化有诸多好处,是值得的。最显而易见的好处,你可以开发更好的产品和为客户提供更好的服务,这点就足够了。但还有隐藏的其他好处,人们一旦建立高标准,它有助于招募和留住人才,更微妙的是,高标准文化不仅有利于做好可见的重要工作,而且会影响到公司方方面面,包括没有人看见的工作。用高标准做好细微处的工作时非常重要的,这是专业度的表现。

Building a culture of high standards is well worth the effort, and there are many benefits. Naturally and most obviously, you’re going to build better products and services for customers – this would be reason enough! Perhaps a little less obvious: people are drawn to high standards – they help with recruiting and retention. More subtle: a culture of high standards is protective of all the “invisible” but crucial work that goes on in every company. I’m talking about the work that no one sees. The work that gets done when no one is watching. In a high standards culture, doing that work well is its own reward – it’s part of what it means to be a professional.

二十二、2018年:直觉、好奇心和漫游的力量 

亚马逊云就是个例子,没有人提出需要亚马逊云,这个世界是非常渴望一款这样的产品但是大家在产品诞生之前并不知道。我们有预感,跟随我们的好奇心,并且敢于冒一定的必须财务风险,开始建设、重建、试验、迭代,无数次反复重来。

AWS itself – as a whole – is an example. No one asked for AWS. No one. Turns out the world was in fact ready and hungry for an offering like AWS but didn’t know it. We had a hunch, followed our curiosity, took the necessary financial risks, and began building – reworking, experimenting, and iterating countless times as we proceeded.

一个公司要成长,需要每一样东西都上规模,包括失败也要达到一定的数量。如果你失败的数量停止增长,你将不能找到足够多发明的方向。亚马逊愿意在一定的范围内试验,有时我们会损失几十亿美元。当然我们不是骑士。我们这样体量公司愿意为顾客和社会承担较大的风险。对我们股东来说,好消息是,一次大的成功不仅可以覆盖多次失败的成本,而且还能赚很多。

As a company grows, everything needs to scale, including the size of your failed experiments. If the size of your failures isn’t growing, you’re not going to be inventing at a size that can actually move the needle. Amazon will be experimenting at the right scale for a company of our size if we occasionally have multibillion-dollar failures.Of course, we won’t undertake such experiments cavalierly. We will work hard to make them good bets, but not all good bets will ultimately pay out. This kind of large-scale risk taking is part of the service we as a large company can provide to our customers and to society. The good news for shareowners is that a single big winning bet can more than cover the cost of many losers.

二十三、2019年:抗击新冠 

亚马逊人不分昼夜地将生活必需品放在顾客门前。我们看到对必需品的需求依然很高。这可不是周末峰值的预测,激增的需求没有任何提前预警,这给物流和供应都带来了挑战。我们迅速决定将配送必需日用品、医药和其他重要产品放在第一位。

Amazonians are working around the clock to get necessary supplies delivered directly to the doorsteps of people who need them. The demand we are seeing for essential products has been and remains high. But unlike a predictable holiday surge, this spike occurred with little warning, creating major challenges for our suppliers and delivery network. We quickly prioritized the stocking and delivery of essential household staples, medical supplies, and other critical products.

二十四、2020年:拒绝被环境同化 

我们去年继续努力服务和取悦顾客。我们雇佣了50万员工,在世界范围内直接聘用了130万人,我们有2亿的金牌客户,190万大大小小的企业在我们平台上销售,他们的销售额占到我们整体销售的60%。客户通过Alexa连接了1亿的家庭智能设备。亚马逊云为成百上千万的客户服务,2020年有500亿美元的滚动销售收入。

We’ve come a long way since then, and we are working harder than ever to serve and delight customers.Last year, we hired 500,000 employees and now directly employ 1.3 million people around the world. We have more than 200 million Prime members worldwide. More than 1.9 million small and medium-sized businesses sell in our store, and they make up close to 60% of our retail sales. Customers have connected more than 100 million smart home devices to Alexa. Amazon Web Services serves millions of customers and ended 2020 with a $50 billion annualized run rate. 

在1997年,我们没有发明金牌客户、第三方市场、Alexa或亚马逊云,甚至连念想也没有过,没有什么是命中注定的,我们用冒险谨慎和聪明才智发明了它们。

In 1997, we hadn’t invented Prime, Marketplace, Alexa, or AWS.They weren’t even ideas then, and none was preordained. We took great risk with each one and put sweat and ingenuity into each one.

如果你想在生意上或者生命中成功,你不得不创造大于你消耗的价值。你的目标是为与你有联系的每个人创造价值,如果任何一种生意不能创造价值,即使表面成功,也将在不久的将来会退出历史舞台。

If you want to be successful in business (in life, actually), you have to create more than you consume. Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with. Any business that doesn’t create value for those it touches, even if it appears successful on the surface, isn’t long for this world. It’s on the way out.

记住股价不关乎过去,它是对未来现金流折现的预测,股市总在预测。

Remember that stock prices are not about the past. They are a prediction of future cash flows discounted back to the present. The stock market anticipates.

这是我作为亚马逊CEO的最后一封致股东的信,我有一件非常重要的事情要说出来,我希望全体亚马逊人记在心里,这个世界总想同化你,让我们与环境归为一体。我们需要持续努力不被同化。

This is my last annual shareholder letter as the CEO of Amazon, and I have one last thing of utmost importance I feel compelled to teach. I hope all Amazonians take it to heart. The world will always try to make Amazon more typical – to bring us into equilibrium with our environment. It will take continuous effort, but we can and must be better than that.

声明:证券时报力求信息真实、准确,文章提及内容仅供参考,不构成实质性投资建议,据此操作风险自担。

为你推荐

万亿美团十连跌!调整配送抽佣上热搜,今日再挫8%…不只美团,科技股都在跌,怎么了?
事实上,不仅是美团,近期港股和在美上市的科技股集体走低,有市场人士表示,主要原因是我国对于大型科技企业的反垄断调查,增加了资金出逃大型科技股的意愿。
2021-05-1112:28
重磅数据揭晓!14.1178亿,我国人口保持低速增长,意味着什么?
据统计,2020年全国人口共14.1178亿人,与2010年的第六次全国人口普查数据相比,增加7206万人,增长5.38%,年平均增长率为0.53%。我国人口10年来继续保持低速增长态势。
2021-05-1112:26
中国人口老龄化程度加深,复盘日本十倍股,潜力股名单来了
老龄化下社会结构与消费风向变化下所孕育的投资机会,或是真正长期“十倍牛股”的“集结地”,相关概念板块主要包括药品保健、医美、药妆、健康饮料、宠物经济等。
2021-05-1111:14
最新筹码集中股来了,热门行业龙头股赫然在列
相比之前公布的情况,共有58股股东户数连续减少3期以上,股东户数最多已连降16期,也就是说筹码持续集中。筹码持续集中过程中,户均持股市值上升,往往出现在大资金买入的情况下。
2021-05-1107:34
  • 证券时报APP
  • 微信公众号
  • 证券时报APP
    发现投资价值
    打开应用