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谷歌仍是充满奇思妙想的工作场所

2014-08-25    来源:fortune    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

十年前谷歌上市时,其员工数量和收入规模比现在要小得多。但随着科技巨头不断发展壮大,公司的核心精神始终未变。谷歌仍旧是一个充满奇思妙想的工作场所,专注于实现一次次巨大的创新飞跃。

When Google went public 10 years ago, it had about 2,600 employees and its quarterly revenue barely topped $800 million. Today, more than 52,000 people work at Google , and it booked $16 billion in revenue in the most recent quarter.
十年前,当谷歌(Google)首次上市时,拥有约2,600名员工,季度营收刚刚越过8亿美元。如今,有超过52,000名员工在谷歌工作,最近一个季度营收达160亿美元。

Back then, its main competitors were Yahoo and Microsoft , smartphones had not been invented and Facebook was a small, six-month-old Web site for college kids. Today, Google’s biggest competitors are Apple , Facebook, Amazon , and yes, Microsoft.
那时,谷歌的主要竞争对手是雅虎(Yahoo)和微软(Microsoft),智能手机还没有问世,Facebook只是一家刚成立6个月、为大学生服务的小网站。如今,谷歌最大的竞争对手是苹果(Apple)、Facebook和亚马逊(Amazon),当然还有微软。

At the time of its IPO, Google had only a handful of products outside of its core search and advertising business, like Google News, Gmail, Blogger, Picasa and Orkut (which it described as an “online meeting place where people can socialize.”) Today, Google is a sprawling empire of products, applications, services and computing platforms for PCs and mobile devices that include the world’s most popular Web browser and mobile operating system. Google is also building driverless cars, thermostats and robots and trying to extend the life span of humans.
谷歌IPO时除了核心的搜索和广告业务之外,产品屈指可数,只有Google News、Gmail、Blogger、Picasa和Orkut (被描述为“一个人们可以进行社交的网上聚会地”)等几项。如今,谷歌已是一个包罗万象的帝国:产品、应用程序、服务、在个人电脑和移动设备上运行的计算平台,包括全球最流行的网络浏览器和手机操作系统。谷歌还在打造无人驾驶汽车、恒温器和机器人,并试图延长人类的生命。

The differences between then and now are obvious; the similarities, perhaps less so. But in some fundamental ways, Google today is the same company it was on August 19 2004, when its stock traded publicly for the first time. How so? Read the “founder’s letter” which Larry Page and Sergey Brin penned for shareholders back in 2004 (with inspiration from Warren Buffett’s “Owner’s Manual” for Berkshire Hathaway shareholders). It remains a remarkably prescient distillation of Google’s essence, its approach to business and innovation and its ethos.
十年间变化巨大;谷歌今昔的相似之处或许不那么显著。但从一些根本层面来看,今天的谷歌依然是2004年8月19日首次上市交易时的那家公司。此话怎讲?不妨读读拉里•佩奇和谢尔盖•布林2004年写的“创始人信函”[灵感来自沃伦•巴菲特为伯克希尔-哈撒韦(Berkshire Hathaway)股东撰写的“股东手册”]。即便是今天看来,这封信依然很有预见性,高度概况了谷歌的本质、商业和创新模式以及公司的精神气质。

In the letter, Page and Brin made it clear to investors that Google was their company. Shareholders could buy into it, but they wouldn’t have a voice. A dual stock structure ensured the founders would retain control. Today Google is still their company, both on paper and in the real world. Or rather, it’s largely Page’s company since 2011, when he became CEO and Brin chose to take a secondary role. If anything, Page’s management style is more centralized and top-down. All major decisions bear his stamp. (By all accounts, he and Brin remain close, and consult on many matters.) So far, shareholders, by and large, have had no reason to complain.
佩奇和布林在这封信中向投资者们明确表示,谷歌是他们的公司。股东可以买股票,但没有决定权。双重股权结构确保两位创始人能够对公司保持掌控。如今,谷歌依然是他们的公司,从名义上和事实上都是如此。或者更确切地说,自从2011年佩奇担任CEO、布林担任次要角色以来,谷歌很大程度上是佩奇的公司。如果有什么不同的话,就是佩奇的管理风格更为集权,更注重自上而下。所有重要决定都要经过他的首肯。(人们都说,他与布林的关系依然密切,在很多事情上两人都会商量着来。)迄今为止,股东们总体上没什么理由可以抱怨。

Page is still focused on the long term. That means many things, like making investments where he sees fit, spending on priorities like talent and infrastructure, and not worrying too much about quarterly pressures. Sure, over the years, Google has been forced to grow up. After the financial crisis, for example, with Patrick Pichette as its new CFO, Google cut back some of its free-spending ways and established more stringent cost controls. Over time, Google has become a model of operational excellence, where everything is measured and analyzed, and internal targets are met or surpassed more often than not. But Page’s insistence that Google make the investments he thinks are necessary to stay on top over the long run has not changed. To wit: self-driving cars, Glass, Internet of things ($3.2 billion acquisition of Nest Labs), mobile patents ($12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola, followed by the spin off of the mobile hardware business to Lenovo) and many more.
佩奇依然专注于长期。这意味着很多,比如进行他认为合适的投资,在人才和基础设施等优先项目上进行支出,不用过于担心季度压力。当然,经过这些年,谷歌已经被迫成长起来。比如,金融危机之后,谷歌在新任首席财务官帕特里克•皮切特的带领下改掉了一些随意支出做法,建立起了更严格的成本控制。如今,谷歌已经成为杰出运营典范:任何事务都要评估和分析,内部目标大多能达到,甚至超过。但佩奇坚持一点不变:谷歌应该进行他认为从长远来看必须做的优先投资。包括:无人驾驶汽车、谷歌眼镜、物联网(32亿美元收购Nest Labs)、移动专利[125亿美元收购摩托罗拉(Motorola),随后分拆移动硬件部门售予联想(Lenovo)]和其他很多投资。

Most of all, Google is still a quirky workplace that’s focused on delivering giant leaps in innovation time and again. Back in the day, that meant giving employees a day a week to work on a project of their choosing. Today, it means things like Google Now, a smart personal assistant, Google X, the “moonshot factory” where it pursues robots, autonomous vehicles, high-altitude wind power, and Internet access via a fleet of balloons, or the Advanced Technology and Products group, where it is charting the future of mobile . While Page counts on some, if not all, of these bets to pay off, they are not the endgame. His army of Googlers is always searching for the next thing that will push the arc of technology forward.
最为重要的是,谷歌仍旧是一个充满奇思妙想的工作场所,专注于实现一次次巨大的创新飞跃。之前,这意味着每周给雇员1天时间从事自己选择的项目。如今,这意味着智能个人助理Google Now,探索机器人、自动汽车、高海拔风力发电、借助气球实现互联网接入的“登月工厂”Google X,或勾勒移动未来的Advanced Technology and Products业务。虽然佩奇指望其中一些(如果不是全部)能获得成功,它们并非终局。他率领下的大批谷歌人(Googlers)一直不停地在寻觅下一个能推动科技前进一大步的惊世之作。

The result is a company unlike any other: always impatient, always moving and always searching for the next big thing. And that, of course, is what Page and Brin meant when they opened their letter to shareholders with these two sentences : “We are not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one.” So far, so good.
结果是,没有任何一家公司像谷歌这样:永远不安于现状,永远在前行,永不停歇地寻找下一个大热门。这当然就是佩奇和布林在那封致股东信中开篇两句话的含义:“我们是一家非传统公司。我们不打算变成那样。”目前看来,一切良好。(FORTUNE)



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