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改变世界的12家公司

2014-06-18    来源:fortunechina    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

它们用自己生产的产品改变了人们的衣食住行,左右了人类社会的发展进程和我们的生活面貌,它们巨大的影响力至今依然随处可见。

Business is the instrument that mankind has settled on to propagate change. Take a long step back and what do you see? A world of invention and unintended consequences.
企业是人类用来生产和传播变化的工具。回顾过去,我们会看到这样一个世界。它充满了发明创造,但也充满了始料未及的后果。

Other things make the world go round as well—love, principally, and coffee—but there is nothing quite like the study of business to illuminate where we have been and where we are going. The poet Archibald MacLeish, when he was a staff writer at Fortune, described his job as to “report the world of business as an expression—a peculiarly enlightening expression—of the Republic, of the changing world.” It has become a bit of a catchphrase among tech people to say that one’s company is going to “change the world.” Many companies do, in small ways. But disrupting, say, the taxi business is not going to set future historians atwitter (though Twitter conceivably might). We surveyed Fortune’s brain trust to come up with a ranking of the 27 companies that have done the most to alter the way we live. Then, of course, we couldn’t stop. So when you’ve considered this compilation, click through to two companion pieces, 11 quirky companies that totally blew your mind, and 20 companies that changed the world—in fiction.
让世界运转的因素包括占主导地位的爱情和咖啡,但是任何因素都不能像企业研究那样阐明我们的过去和未来。诗人阿契博德•麦克勒担任《财富》杂志(Fortune)特约撰稿人时,把自己的工作描述成“把商业世界当作理想国度和多变世界的一种表现形式、而且是一种极富启发的表现形式来进行报道。”科技人员所谓的某公司将“改变世界”的说法几乎成了一种口号。许多公司确实在以微小的方式改变世界。但是,如果说出租车业务不会让未来的历史学家为之兴奋(也许Twitter会),难免让人心生困扰。笔者对《财富》杂志的智囊团进行了调查,列出在最大程度上改变我们生活方式的一些公司。当然,我们不会止步于此。当您阅读本文时,可以点击姊妹篇报道:《令人震惊的11家另类公司》(11 quirky companies that totally blew your mind)和《改变世界的20家虚拟公司》(20 companies that changed the world—in fiction)。

12. McDonald's
12. 麦当劳

The fast-food giant turned food production into a science through automation, training us to expect consistency from our food. (Founder Ray Kroc has been credited with saying, "I put the hamburger on the assembly line.") McDonald's MCD -0.46% made the Big Mac and fries synonymous with American cuisine around the world, serving 70 million customers a day in more than 35,000 restaurants in 120 countries. "The hamburger is symbolic of our society," says Heidelberg University professor and fast-food industry scholar David Hogan, "and McDonald's is of course the ambassador and marketer of that concept." —Beth Kowitt
快餐业巨头麦当劳(McDonald's )通过自动化,把食品加工转变成了一种科学技术,让我们习惯看到食品的一致性。(这要归功于公司创始人雷•克拉克提出的“把汉堡包搬到流水线上”。)麦当劳(MCD -0.46%)在全球推出了象征美国美食的巨无霸汉堡(Big Mac)和薯条,每天在120个国家的3.5万多家餐厅为7,000万顾客提供服务。海德堡大学(Heidelberg University)教授、快餐界学者戴维•霍根说:“汉堡是我们这个世界的象征,而麦当劳理所当然是这种观念的形象大使和推广者。” —Beth Kowitt

11. Wright Co.
11. 莱特兄弟公司

The Wright brothers were not the first to build and fly airplanes, and their company focused more on defending their patent rights than on developing new aircraft. (In fact, some argue that the Wrights' patent battles impeded the growth of the nascent aviation business). But their patent, no. 821393, described the invention of three-axis control—covering pitch, roll, and yaw—that made fixed-wing aircraft practical. Their method remains standard for airplanes today. —Tim Smith
莱特兄弟不是研制和驾驶飞机的第一人,但是与研制新飞机相比,他们的莱特兄弟公司(Wright Co.)更重视保护专利权。(事实上,有人认为莱特兄弟公司的专利战阻碍了新兴航空业务的发展。)但是他们的第821393号专利涉及三轴控制——俯仰、坡度和偏航运动——的发明,使固定翼飞机变得切实可行。时至今日,他们的方法依然是飞机制造的标准。—Tim Smith

10. Facebook
10. Facebook

A decade after Mark Zuckerberg, then a Harvard undergrad, launched a service to connect everyone in the world, Facebook FB 0.02% is growing closer to its goal: 1.3 billion active users, three-fifths of whom log on every single day. Facebook introduced a new way to navigate the web—via the scrolling “newsfeed” of personal updates that has become a staple on many websites—and a new way to organize digital information—via personal relationships instead of page links. In the process, the company reinvented brand marketing on the web, replacing the reviled banner ad with highly targeted ads that brought in $7.9 billion in sales in 2013. Even as Zuckerberg, who just turned 30, continues to run Facebook, he’s using his largesse to tackle education reform; he has pledged $220 million so far to school reform efforts in Newark, N.J. and the Bay Area. —Jessi Hempel
十年前,就读于哈佛大学(Harvard)的本科生马克•扎克伯格推出了让世界互联互通的服务。十年后,Facebook距离13亿活跃用户的目标越来越近,其中五分之三的用户每天登录Facebook。通过不断滚动的个人更新(许多网站的主打内容)“新闻馈送”,Facebook引入了浏览网页的新方法。此外,Facebook还利用人际关系,而非页面链接,推出了组织数字信息的新方法。在这个过程中,Facebook彻底改造了网络品牌营销,用高度针对性的广告取代了广受非议的横幅广告,而这在2013年为它带来了79亿美元的销售额。刚过而立之年的扎克伯格继续经营Facebook,他慷慨捐款推动教育改革;截至目前,他已经出资2.2亿美元,用来推动新泽西州纽瓦克市和旧金山湾区的学校改革。——Jessi Hempel

9. Otis Elevator
9. 奥的斯电梯公司

The year is 1854. Hundreds gather in the New York Crystal Palace, the iron-and-glass exhibition hall at the center of the World’s Fair, to watch a man standing on a platform four stories high, suspended by a single taut rope. A few electrifying moments pass before Elisha Otis signals his assistant, hovering by the rope with an outstretched sword, to sever the cable in two. The crowd gasps. The platform jolts—but doesn’t fall, as a pair of hidden leaf springs engage the rails, keeping Otis’s “safety elevator” miraculously in place. Credit the showmanship to P.T. Barnum, who hired Otis to perform this stunt several times a day for a whole month. Credit the world-changing invention to Otis, who founded his elevator company in an old Yonkers, N.Y., bedstead factory the year before. The safety elevator made it possible for buildings to climb ever skyward—from the 20-story Flatiron Building in New York (equipped with Otis elevators in 1902) to the nearly 60-story Woolworth Building a decade later, to the 103-story Empire State Building in 1931. It was this fast, reliable people-and-freight mover that made possible the office tower and the city skyline, that made high-rises and penthouses symbols of status, that made awkward elevator talk a daily rite of passage for hundreds of millions of souls. Fiber rope shifted to steel cables. Electronic buttons have largely replaced flesh-and-blood operators. But the safety elevator of today is much the same as the one that wowed the World’s Fair audience 16 decades ago. And for all that time, the Otis Elevator Company, now part of United Technologies UTX -0.70% , has dominated the industry it created. —Clifton Leaf
1854年,数百人齐聚纽约世博会(World’s Fair)中心由钢和玻璃建成的水晶宫展厅(Crystal Palace),观看艾利莎•奥的斯的惊险表演。他站在四层楼高的平台上,仅靠一根绷紧的绳索将自己吊起。在向他的助手示意之前,奥的斯度过了激动人心的时刻。他凭借绳索在空中盘旋,而一把张开的剑把绳索一分为二。观众随之倒吸了一口冷气。平台震动起来,但是并未坠落。因为一组隐藏的弹簧片与护栏相啮合,奇迹般地固定住了奥的斯的“安全电梯”。吸引观众的窍门要归功于P.T巴纳姆。在整整一个月的时间里,他聘用奥的斯每天多次表演这一特技。而这个改变世界的发明要归功于奥的斯。1853年,他在纽约杨克斯一个破产的弹簧床垫工厂创办了奥的斯电梯公司(Otis Elevator Company)。安全电梯使建筑高度不断增加:从位于纽约的20层熨斗大厦(Flatiron Building,1902年安装奥的斯电梯)、到10年后的60层伍尔沃斯大厦(Woolworth Building)、再到1931年的103层帝国大厦(Empire State Building)。正是凭借这种快速可靠的客梯和货梯,使高层办公大厦和城市天际线能够正常运转,使高楼大厦和顶层公寓成为身份的象征,使尴尬的电梯对话成为亿万人的每日通勤仪式。后来,钢索取代了纤维缆索。电子按钮在很大程度上取代了人工操作员。但是,今天的安全电梯与160年前令世界博览会观众喝彩的电梯几乎毫无二致。在此期间,现隶属于联合技术公司(United Technologies UTX -0.70% )的奥的斯电梯公司仍然在主导着它所开创的电梯行业。—Clifton Leaf

8. Sony
8. 索尼公司

The way the world thinks of audio and video products was fundamentally redirected by Sony SNE -1.17% from the 1950s through the 1980s. The company didn't make the first transistor radio, but in 1957 it introduced a hugely successful one that helped propel the concurrent revolution in popular music. Its color TV sets of the 1960s and 1970s raised the global standard for quality. The Walkman, introduced in 1979, again revolutionized the way the world listens to music; it foreshadowed the iPod, which Sony obviously should have invented. But by then its fortunes had changed. Beyond transforming an industry, Sony also helped advance its country. In the 1950s and 1960s, “Made in Japan” was a punchline that meant laughably poor quality. By the 1980s it meant the opposite, and Sony products were the most visible cause of the change. —Geoff Colvin
二十世纪五十至八十年代,索尼公司(Sony )从根本上重新定义了人类看待音频和视频产品的方式。虽然索尼公司不是第一台半导体收音机的制造者,但在1957年,它推出了一款极为成功的产品,帮助推动了流行音乐的并发变革。索尼公司20世纪6、70年代生产的彩色电视机提高了全球的质量标准。1979年,索尼推出的随身听Walkman又一次彻底改变了人类听音乐的方式;它预示了iPod的出现,显然它本应诞生在索尼公司。然而,等到iPod出现的时候,索尼公司的命运发生了变化。除了变革行业外,索尼公司还帮助推动了一个国家的进步。二十世纪五六十年代,“日本制造”是代表品质低劣的警示信号。到二十世纪八十年代,它含义恰恰相反,而索尼产品是促成这个变化的最明显的原因。—Geoff Colvin

7. Bayer
7.拜耳集团

Chemists working for Bayer synthesized Prontosil, the first antibiotic, in 1932, more than a decade before penicillin became commercially available. Prontosil and subsequent “sulfa” drugs—the first chemicals used to treat bacterial infections—opened a new era in medicine. Gerhard Domagk, a Bayer researcher, was awarded the Nobel Price for his work on prontosil in 1939. —Tim Smith
1932年,德国拜耳集团(Bayer)的化学家合成了第一个抗生素百浪多息(Prontosil)。10多年后,盘尼西林才在市场上销售。作为治疗细菌感染的第一种化学药品,百浪多息和随后的“碘胺类”药物开创了医药行业的新纪元。1939年,拜耳研究员格哈德•多马克凭借其对百浪多息的研发,获得了诺贝尔奖(Nobel Prize)。—Tim Smith

6. Apple
6. 苹果公司

Apple AAPL -0.41% changed the world by augmenting its simple-to-use PC with music software and a portable player to go with it, a groundbreaking smartphone, and a tablet computer—all of which work together brilliantly. It also taught us that mavericks can succeed in business; that even a box of molded plastic can be beautifully designed; that single-digit market share doesn’t spell death in a fast-moving industry; that one man really can define the soul of a giant corporation; that focus trumps breadth; that clever marketing can convince people around the world to love a company, even a company whose workplace is a brutal grind; that brand matters; that putting an “i” in front of a product’s name is infinitely repeatable; and, perhaps most importantly, that being better is vastly preferable to being first. —Adam Lashinsky
苹果公司(Apple)利用随附的音乐软件和便携式播放器,以及开创性的智能手机和平板电脑增强了简单实用的个人电脑,并由此改变了世界,而所有这些产品都实现了出色的相互兼容。此外,苹果公司还让我们知道,标新立异的人可以实现商业成功;即使一盒塑料模型也可以设计得很漂亮;个位数市场份额不会招致在迅速发展的行业中的灭亡;一个人确实可以决定一家巨型企业的特性;专注胜过宽度;巧妙营销可让以世界各地的人们爱上一个公司,即使这家公司的工作环境代表着一种残酷的折磨;品牌至关重要;在产品名称前加上“i”这种做法,可以无限制的重复;或许最重要的是,做得更好在很大程度上好于名列前茅。—Adam Lashinsky

5. Suez Canal Co.
5. 苏伊士运河公司

Fernand de Lesseps’s company dug the modern canal, completed in 1869, using forced Egyptian labor. It wasn’t an original idea; Pharaohs had been doing the same thing in the same place in pre-Christian times. No wonder: The canal, at 102 miles long (and about 78 feet deep today) is the shortest route between the East and the West. —Tim Smith
费迪南•德•雷赛布的公司业务是挖掘现代运河,苏伊士运河就是由埃及劳工在1869年建成。不过,这并不是什么原创;早在基督时代以前,法老就在做着相同的工作。因此,这条102英里长(如今,深度约为78英尺)的运河是连接东西方的最短路线,这一点不足为奇。—Tim Smith

4. Google
4. 谷歌公司

Dream up something outlandish. Make it ubiquitous. Repeat. That’s been Google’s formula since day one, as it embarked on an ambitious mission to organize the world’s information. Tame the web? Check. Build a computer that fits in your pocket? Check. Photograph every street to make it navigable from afar? Check. Digitize the planet's books? Check. Build a polyglot translator in software? Check. Think of Google GOOG as a factory for major innovations, from self-driving cars to wearable computers to technology for extending the lifespan of humans. —Miguel Helft
创造古怪的产品,使之无所不在,周而复始。这是谷歌公司(Google)自成立至今一直遵循的准则,他们的使命就是整编世界信息。想要使网络变得好用?用谷歌搜索。想要研制可以放入口袋的电脑?用谷歌搜索。想要为每条街道拍照,方便人们可以在遥远的位置导航?用谷歌搜索。想要使图书数字化?用谷歌搜索。想要在软件中配置多种语言翻译程序?还可以用谷歌搜索。我们可以把谷歌(GOOG)看成一个生产重要创新的工厂,例如无人驾驶汽车、嵌入式计算机、乃至延长人类寿命的技术。—Miguel Helft

3. GE
3. 美国通用电气公司

GE GE changed the world in not one or two, but three big ways. Guided by Thomas Edison, founder of the predecessor company Edison General Electric, it brought electricity and light bulbs to America and the world. That alone would be enough to put GE high up on our list, but there’s more. Transformation No. 2 was creating America’s first research lab. No. 3 was building an elaborate system of management development, a new idea at the advent of the giant corporation, that has guided companies around the world for over a hundred years. —Geoff Colvin
美国通用电气公司(GE)在三大领域改变了世界。它在公司前身爱迪生通用电气公司(Edison General Electric)创始人托马斯•爱迪生的指导下把电力和电灯带给了美国和全世界。单就这一点足以使它名列榜单前茅,但不仅如此,它还在其他方面改变了世界。第二大变革是创建了美国的第一个研究实验室。第三大变革是开发了精密的管理人员发展系统,这是这家巨型企业创建之初形成的新理念。一个世纪以来,这个理念一直指引着世界各地的公司。—Geoff Colvin

2 British East India Company
2. 英国东印度公司

The Dutch had their East India Company, considered by many the first true multinational, which rampaged across Asia using military force to pursue the spice trade. But the British East India Company, founded in 1600, was the real imperial colossus: It ruled much of India, sparked the Opium Wars with China, and grew to account for half the world’s trade. —Tim Smith
荷兰人也有自己的东印度公司(East India Company),而且是很多人眼里第一家真正意义上的跨国公司。它利用军事力量,大肆在亚洲开展香料贸易。但是,1600年成立的英国东印度公司(British East India Company)才是真正的帝国巨人:它统治了印度大部分地区,发动了对中国的鸦片战争(the Opium Wars),还曾经独占世界贸易额的半壁江山。—Tim Smith

1. Ford
1. 福特汽车公司

During a period of unparalleled innovation early in the 20th century, Ford Motor F developed the moving assembly line, raised the wages of the workers who manned it to $5 a day, and made the Model T affordable to millions of buyers, thereby giving birth to the automobile age. By constantly refining its mass-production methods, Ford brought the price of the “T” down to $240, and the car became so popular it required no advertising. The “T” was also built in 12 foreign countries, making it the first world car. Today, Ford is still the world’s fifth-largest automaker, controlled by the descendants of Henry Ford, the inventor who founded it 111 years ago. —Alex Taylor III
在20世纪初那段无与伦比的创新年代,福特汽车公司(Ford Motor )开发出流动生产线,把流水线操作工人的薪水提升至5美元/天,使T型车(Model T)凭借低廉的价格走入寻常百姓之家,从而推动了汽车时代的到来。通过不断改善批量生产方式,福特汽车公司把T型车的价格降至240美元。此外,T型车非常流行,以至于不需要广告宣传。福特汽车在海外12个国家生产T型车,使它成为第一款世界车型。111年前,亨利•福特研制出T汽车。如今,由他的子孙管理的福特汽车公司依然是世界第五大汽车制造商。—Alex Taylor III(财富中文网)



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