Jeff Bezos 给华盛顿邮报同仁的公开信

摘要: 贝索斯说,“ (变化) 并没有地图,要画出前进的路线更不会是容易的。我们必须要发明,这代表着我们必须要实验。读者是我们的试金石,我们必须了解他们关心的事物 ── 政府、地方领袖、餐厅开幕、童子军、商业、慈善、州长、体育,然后从那边倒推回来。”

Jeff Bezos 给华盛顿邮报同仁的公开信

到此为止,大家应该都知道 Jeff Bezos 以美金 2.5 亿的个人资产,买下了美国最具代表性报业集团之一的华盛顿邮报。这个事件对美国的历史意义,和数年前旺旺买下中国时报集团对台湾的历史意义接近,甚至有过之而无不及。

当然是怎么样的历史意义,已经有不少新闻行业的专家写了他们的评析。

今天我想聊的,是在星期一新闻公开之后,新东家 Jeff Bezos 在昨天,也就是星期二,发表在 Washington Post 网站,他写给华盛顿邮报同仁的这封信,和信背后 Jeff 展现出来的创业精神与领导者风范。

To the employees of The Washington Post:

You’ll have heard the news, and many of you will greet it with a degree of apprehension. When a single family owns a company for many decades, and when that family acts for all those decades in good faith, in a principled manner, in good times and in rough times, as stewards of important values – when that family has done such a good job – it is only natural to worry about change.

信的第一段,Jeff 首先处理「情绪」这个最重要的东西,但他不是告诉同仁们「不要担心」,而是先认同他们的担心,并且替他们剖析担心的理由「原来的东家这么好,换了新东家不知道有没有一样好,是人都会担心…」。

So, let me start with something critical. The values of The Post do not need changing. The paper’s duty will remain to its readers and not to the private interests of its owners. We will continue to follow the truth wherever it leads, and we’ll work hard not to make mistakes. When we do, we will own up to them quickly and completely.

以 Empathy 取得了初步的认同,接着 Jeff 给出承诺,开始试着赢得 Post 同仁的信任。值得注意的是他并没有去触碰工作权、薪水或福利这些一般并购案后员工最关心的议题,相反的,Jeff 诉求更高一层,也就是新闻从业人员普遍认同的价值 ── 服务大众、挖掘真相、避免错误报导等等。Jeff 给出的承诺是明确的告诉 Post 同仁,这些新闻的基本价值并不会因为一个商人接手,而有任何改变。

I won’t be leading The Washington Post day-to-day. I am happily living in “the other Washington” where I have a day job that I love. Besides that, The Post already has an excellent leadership team that knows much more about the news business than I do, and I’m extremely grateful to them for agreeing to stay on.

而为了彻底消除同仁对新东家干涉新闻自由的疑虑,Jeff 接着阐明了他不能也不会参与 Post 的日常运作。值得注意的是为了赢取好感,Jeff 把自己的位置降到最低,除了自嘲是「另一个 (也就是较不知名的的意思) 华盛顿」的居民外,他甚至把自己在电商巨人 Amazon 担任 CEO 职务这个事实,只用了一个「一个白天的工作」来形容。接着他称赞 Post 现在的经营团队对新闻的专业,也谦卑的感谢他们愿意留任。

There will, of course, be change at The Post over the coming years. That’s essential and would have happened with or without new ownership. The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy. We will need to invent, which means we will need to experiment. Our touchstone will be readers, understanding what they care about – government, local leaders, restaurant openings, scout troops, businesses, charities, governors, sports – and working backwards from there. I’m excited and optimistic about the opportunity for invention.

酝酿了三段之后,接着进入了重头戏。Jeff 开始说但事情必须要有变化,但变化不是新东家造成的,而是大环境,也就是 Internet 带来的颠覆。接着他说:「 (变化) 并没有地图,要画出前进的路线更不会是容易的。我们必须要发明,这代表着我们必须要实验。读者是我们的试金石,我们必须了解他们关心的事物 ── 政府、地方领袖、餐厅开幕、童子军、商业、慈善、州长、体育,然后从那边倒推回来。」这整段基本上就是网络行业的核心精神,从市场出发,了解消费者的需要,然后再从那边倒推回来满足这些需要。消费者是很难了解的,因此需要实验,取得数据,然后才能发明。

Journalism plays a critical role in a free society, and The Washington Post — as the hometown paper of the capital city of the United States — is especially important. I would highlight two kinds of courage the Grahams have shown as owners that I hope to channel. The first is the courage to say wait, be sure, slow down, get another source. Real people and their reputations, livelihoods and families are at stake. The second is the courage to say follow the story, no matter the cost. While I hope no one ever threatens to put one of my body parts through a wringer, if they do, thanks to Mrs. Graham’s example, I’ll be ready.

表达了他将会推动的改变后,Jeff 又回到赞扬与认同的取得 (这是典型的三明治夹攻)。他阐明新闻对自由社会的价值,华盛顿邮报对首都居民的影响力,以及前东家 Graham 家族哲学。最后还补上一句,如果为了 Post 的新闻正义要他冒生命风险,他也愿意。

I want to say one last thing that’s really not about the paper or this change in ownership. I have had the great pleasure of getting to know Don very well over the last ten plus years. I do not know a finer man.

Sincerely,

Jeff Bezos

而信的最后,Jeff 给了一个超级漂亮的收尾。他知道大家会怀疑这是一个仓促的决定,所以除了再次赞扬 Post 现任董事长 Donold Graham 是他所认识最绅士的男人外,也偷偷泄漏了两人已经相知十多年的事实,接着就让这封信完美的收在读者满意与惊奇的情绪高点上。

身为一个「西部 New Money 科技新富」,要收买长期在东岸 Old Guard Graham 家族门下的 700 多位 WaPo 知识工作者的心,并不是容易的事情。我认为 Jeff Bezos 的这第一封信非常经典,选择刊登在 Post 网站上也非常巧妙,值得所有创业者细读、学习。

PS. 如果你还记得的话,收买 Zappos 时,Bezos 给同仁的第一个公开沟通,是一支这样的 YouTube 影片:

本文系作者 林之晨 授权钛媒体发表,并经钛媒体编辑,转载请注明出处、作者和本文链接
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林之晨
林之晨

也名Mr.Jamie,appWorks 之初創投合夥人,Android爱好者。Jamie 現居住於台北,育有一子,平常的興趣是打籃球、高爾夫球、電影和閱讀。

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