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亚马逊平淡无奇的成功秘诀

Source: 恒星英语学习网    2018-02-11  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  

Walking around downtown Seattle, it’s impossible to avoid the whiff of Amazon that permeates the city. For a newcomer, it’s hard to tell where Seattle ends and Amazon begins, as the skyscrapers of the corporate campus blend so seamlessly into the city centre.
漫步在西雅图市中心,你会不可避免地感受到弥漫在这个城市的亚马逊(Amazon)气息。刚到西雅图的人,很难分清西雅图的边界在哪儿,亚马逊又是从哪儿开始的,因为该公司园区的摩天大楼很自然地与城市中心融为一体。

Hundreds of US cities fell over themselves last year to compete for Amazon’s second headquarters. (A list of frontrunners was recently narrowed to 20 candidates.) But on a recent trip to Seattle, standing on a rainy sidewalk next to a dull Amazon skyscraper after an interview, I wondered if there was anything very different about this hugely successful company — or if it just happened to be in the right place at the right time, cashing in on the rise of online retail, much as Google did for online search. Some companies are lucky, others work hard, very few run on genius. Which was it?
去年,数百个美国城市竭尽全力参与了亚马逊第二个总部的竞投。(最近,领跑的入围城市名单缩小至20个。)最近一次去西雅图,在一个雨天结束采访后,我站在亚马逊毫无特色的摩天大楼旁的人行道上,心里在想,这个取得巨大成功的公司到底有什么与众不同——还是说他们的成功仅仅是因为占据了天时和地利,正好赶上了在线零售业崛起的大好时机,就像谷歌(Google)借了在线搜索的东风一样?一些公司的成功靠的是机遇,另外一些公司靠的是努力,但也有为数极少的公司靠的是天才。亚马逊是哪一类?

To answer this question, I looked up Amazon’s corporate value statement when I got back to San Francisco. Along with Jeff Bezos’s annual letter to shareholders, the values are a mainstay of Amazonian culture. But a lot of these 14 “leadership principles” are just as dreary as you’d expect. One advises leaders to “be right, a lot” — as if anyone ever sets out to be wrong. Another says that talent is important, so hire the best — hardly rocket science.
为了回答这个问题,回到旧金山后,我查阅了亚马逊的企业价值宣言。企业价值与杰夫?贝佐斯(Jeff Bezos)给股东的年度致函构成了亚马逊企业文化的支柱。不过,亚马逊的14条“领导原则”中,很多都与你想象的一样平淡。有一条是建议公司领导层“做正确的事,多多益善” ——好像有人故意要做错似的。另一条说,人才很重要,所以要聘用最优秀的人才——这也不是什么尖端科学。

More banalities follow, including “deliver results” and “think big”. If you’re not sure how to do that, try “looking around corners for ways to serve customers”, which sounds more useful for running a restaurant than a business. Furthermore, all this advice is aimed only at leaders, missing the point that not everyone can be a leader all the time.
剩下的就更加稀松平常了,包括“用结果说话”和“从大处着眼”。如果你不确定如何做,可以尝试“拓宽思路来寻找服务客户的方法”。这些原则似乎更适合经营一家餐馆,而不是经营一家企业。再说,所有这些建议都只针对公司领导层,但它忽略了一点,不是所有人永远是领导。

However, I did find three messages that seemed vaguely useful. The first is, get over yourself. Amazon doesn’t say that in so many words, but it uses a vivid analogy: “Leaders do not believe their or their team’s body odour smells of perfume.” That’s something the tech wunderkinds in Silicon Valley could afford to hear more often.
但是,我确实发现了三条似乎有用的信息。首先,就是别自以为是。亚马逊并没有累述,而是用了一个生动的比喻:“领导者不认为自己或者自己团队的体味是香的。”可以让硅谷的科技神童们更常听到这些话。

The second useful message is that frugality is good. “Constraints breed resourcefulness,” the document says. I can attest to the truth of this: during my very first meeting with Amazon in one of its San Francisco offices, I was ushered into a spartan meeting room and not even offered a glass of water. Having cycled there, I was somewhat thirsty, but this only prompted me to wrap up the meeting more quickly, saving everyone time. Quite a contrast to most San Francisco tech companies, where meetings usually begin with a perusal of the gourmet beverages on offer in the kitchen, and a lack of cold-brewed coffee or kombucha is seen as an embarrassing omission.
第二个有用的信息是节俭是美德。文件说:“不大手大脚才能累积资源。”我可以证明这一点是真的:当我在亚马逊旧金山的一个办公室与他们第一次会面时,被带到了一个简朴的会议室,连一杯水也没给。我是骑自行车去的,到了后有些口渴,但这只能促使我更快地结束会议,节省每个人的时间。这与旧金山的大多数科技公司形成了鲜明的对照,与这些公司开会前,通常都会先让你浏览一份厨房提供的名目繁多的高级饮料清单,如果没有冷酿咖啡或红茶菌饮料,都会感到不好意思。

The third interesting principle is, have some backbone. “Do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion,” the document reads. Employees should “respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting”. If you are a contrarian — a type that is ostracised in the can-do Bay Area — this could be the place for you.
第三个有意思的原则是,要有一点儿骨气。这份文件写道,“不要为了社会和谐而妥协。”员工应该“在对一项决定有不同意见时,怀有尊敬地提出挑战,即使这样做会让你感到很不舒服或身心疲惫”。如果你是一位逆向思考者——即在“世上无难事”的湾区被排斥的类型——亚马逊可能是最适合你的地方。

Ironically, the principles that seem the most practical don’t make Amazon sound like a very fun place to work, what with all that confrontation and frugality. Reports of the long hours and tough culture at its offices were published in a New York Times article in 2015, prompting concern and chagrin at the highest levels of the company. Some perks were improved or added, such as more dog-friendly offices and snack bars, and a fancy greenhouse in which workers can hold meetings.
具有讽刺意味的是,由于鼓励反抗和崇尚节俭,这些看似最实用的原则并没有使亚马逊成为一个气氛非常轻松的工作场所。2015年,《纽约时报》(New York Times)刊登了一篇关于亚马逊工作时间长、企业文化严苛的报道,引起了公司最高层的关注和不安。公司改善或增加了一些福利,如增加了宠物狗友好办公室和零食吧、以及一个可供员工开会的别致的温室。

I know a few people who do enjoy working at Amazon — high-achieving, hard-driving types who appreciate the company’s peculiar ways. But the culture is certainly not for everyone.
我认识一些喜欢在亚马逊工作的人——他们是追求卓越、雄心勃勃的类型,他们认同公司与众不同的做法。当然,公司的文化并不是适合每个人。

Amazon seems to have anticipated this, with a principle that is perhaps the most insightful of all. “As we do new things, we accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time.” It’s still not quite genius, but something that we could all do with a bit more of — self-awareness.
亚马逊似乎已经预料到了这一点,公司最有见地的一项原则也许是:“当我们开拓新领域时,我们接受可能在长时间内被误解。” 这仍然还算不上天才的做法,而是有一点自我意识的我们都能做到的事。


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