Reporter: Where and when did you get the idea for Federal Express?

记者:您是在何时何地有了创办联邦快 递的想法的呢?

Smith: The original idea came in two parts. The first part was when... I was a student at Yale and I was writing a paper about the computerized society that was on the horizon. It was pretty clear then, with IBM installing the big computers around, that the world was going to change. And the paper was about how this was going to change a lot of things, and in particular it was going to change the way things had to be distributed and moved to support those automated devices. Then I sort of let that lie. I didn’t get a particularly good grade on it, as I recall. I don’t think it was prescient, or brilliant in any respect. When I graduated from Yale in 1966,I went into the service, like a great percentage of my classmates at that time. The Vietnam War had begun in earnest, and I spent four and a half years in the Marine Corps. That’s when I sort of crystallized the idea for FedEx on the supply side, how to solve the problem that had been identified in that paper. In the military there’s a tremendous amount of waste. The supplies were sort of pushed forward, like you push food onto a table. And invariably, all of the supplies were in the wrong place for where they were needed. Observing that and trying to think about ways to have a different type of a distribution system is what crystallized the idea. The solution was, in my mind, to have an integrated air and ground system, which had never been done. And to operate not on a linear basis, where you try to take things from one point to another, but operate in a systemic manner. Sort of the way a bank clearing house does, you know? They have a bank clearing house in the middle of all the banks and everybody sends someone down there and they swap everything around. Well, that had been done in transportation before: the Indian post office, the French post office. American Airlines had tried a system like that shortly after World War II. But the demand side and supply side had really not met at an appropriate level of maturation. By the early ‘70s when I’d gotten out of the service it was very clear that this new society was coming in earnest. And so, at that point I said, “What the hell, let’s try to put it together.” And that’s how FedEx came to be. And then from that point forward, the requirements for this type of system were so profound and so big, really for the next 25 years to this date we’ve simply been running just to keep up with the requirements. And that’s what led to the hundreds of planes and the thousands of trucks. I wish it was something that I could say I was so smart. And that’s what we’ve been doing for the last quarter century.

史密斯:我最初的想法可以分为两部 分。第一部分是当我还是一名耶鲁大学 的学生的时候,那时候我准备写一篇有 关于我们的社会即将成为一个计算机化 的社会的论文。那时的形势是,随着 IBM在全世界范围内安装大型计算机, 我们生活的世界将会发生改变。我的论 文是关于这将会如何使很多事物发生改 变,尤其是这将会如何影响人们递送物 品的方式,以支持那些自动化设备的运 转。后来我就把这件事情搁置下了。我 记得,当时我那篇论文并没有取得一个 好的分数。我认为,那篇论文无论从哪 一方面来说都不是有先见之明或是突出 的。在我1966年从耶鲁大学毕业的时 候,和那时我大多数的同学一样,我开始服兵役。那时候越南战争爆发了,我 在海军陆战队待了4年半的时间。那个 时候,我想要创办联邦快递的想法才渐 渐有了雏形,我才知道了应该如何解决 我在那篇论文中所提出的问题。在军队 里,浪费的现象很严重。供给问题被提 了出来,就像把食物放到桌上一样明 显。因为毫无例外,所有的供给都没有 被用到真正需要的地方。看到这些,我 便开始想怎样才能有一种不同的分配体 系,这样我的想法开始具体化。我脑海 中想到的解决方式就是,我们需要 有一个完整的空中和陆地供应体系, 这在那之前是并不存在的。这个体 系的运行不仅要能够达到长度上的 要求,即能够将事物从一个地方运送 到另一个地方,还要能够以一种系 统的方式运行。就像是银行票据交 换处的工作方式那样。你知道在所 有银行所处地域的中间地带,设置 一个银行票据交换处,然后每一个 银行都派一个工作人员去那里,进 行票据交换。这以前在交通方面出 现过,比如说,印度邮电局、法国 邮电局。美国航空公司曾经在二战 结束之后形成了一个体系。但是当时的 需求方和供给方都没有达到一定的成熟 度。到上世纪70年代初期,我服完兵 役之后,很明显的就是一个新的社会正 热切地朝我们走来。然后那时,我说: "管他呢,让我们把这些都组成一个整 体吧! ”联邦快递就这样诞生了。然后 从那时起,人们对于我们这种服务体系 的需求越来越多,在接下来的25年中直到现在,我们一直都只是在从事着满 足人们对于快递服务的需求的工作。这 也促使我们拥有了属于自己的成百架飞 机和成千辆卡车,我希望说自己在这方 面做得还是很不错的,这也是我们在过 去的25年时间中一直在从事的工作。

Reporter: How would you describe your childhood?


Smith: My childhood was autonomous, in the main. My father passed away when I was four. I had a lovely mother, but not having a father influence, I learned a lot of things on my own. I think that would be the best characterization of it.

史密斯:我的童年总体来说都是靠 自己的。在我4岁的时候我父亲就 去世了。我有一位非常可爱的母 亲,但是由于从小没有父亲的帮 助,很多事情都是我自学的。我想 这就是对我童年的最好的描述。

Reporter: How did you learn those things?

记者:您是怎样学习到那些事情的 呢?

Smith: Through a lot of hard knocks. Learning when to stand up, when to sit down, when to shut up and when not to. I had a couple of uncles that were very helpful to me, but I was not around them every day. But in the summers and so forth they were very good to me in terms of teaching me a few things about life. Certainly, my coaches were very important to me. My high school football coach was very important to me, in setting me straight on a few things.

史密斯:通过很多次的碰壁之后, 我自己学会了什么时候应该起来, 什么时候应该坐下,什么时候应该保持 沉默,而什么时间应该说话。我还有几 个叔叔,他们都对我帮助很多,但是我 并不是每天都跟他们在一起的。但是在 夏天或者是其他的一些时间时,他们会 教我一些有关生活方面的知识。当然, 我的教练们对我的人生也很重要,我在 高中的足球教练对我很重要,教会我看 清很多事情。

Reporter: What did you learn from your high school football coach?

记者:您从高中时的足球教练那里学到 了什么?

Smith: He was a little guy who was a great football player at Georgia Tech, and he just was indefatigable. He just would never, ever say die. He absolutely proved to me that persistence was a very big part of making it in life. I never forgot that lesson.

史密斯:他是佐治亚理工学院的一名出 色的足球运动员,他有着不屈不挠的精 神品质,他从来不会说放弃。他也确实 证明给我看,坚持不懈的品质对于一个 人的生活是多么重要。我永远都不会忘 记他教给我的东西。

Reporter : Do you have siblings?


Smith: I have a half-brother and had another half-brother who passed away. I had an adopted sister and a half-sister, but I never lived with them.

史密斯:我有一个同母异父的兄弟,还 有一个同母异父的兄弟已经去世了。我 有一个收养的妹妹,还有一个同母异父的 妹妹,但是我从没跟他们生活在一起过。

Reporter: How did you get along with your brothers and sisters?


Smith: Well, my middle brother and I used to try to beat the devil out of one another on a regular basis. Just kid stuff. He was about five or six years older than I was. And then of course, like most siblings, we grew up and got to be very close. I thank goodness for my big brother, who always mediated between the two of us.

史密斯:我与我二哥经常互相痛打,那 些只是小孩子的一些玩法,他比我大大 约五六岁。当然与其他的兄弟姐妹一 样,我们一起长大,关系也很亲密。我 非常感谢我的大哥,因为他总是会在中 间协调我和二哥之间的矛盾。

Reporter: Did you think being a younger brother affected you in any way?

记者:您认为作为兄弟中较小的一个,这 从某些方面对您产生了一定的影响吗?

Smith: Perhaps it did, but the age differences were so great that it wasn't to the extent that it might be with brothers who are closer in age.

史密斯:也许是有的,但是我们的年龄差 别很大,所以并不像年龄相仿的兄弟那样 影响很大。

Reporter: Were there any important experiences that influenced you or inspired you as a youngster?

记者:当您还是一名少年的时 候,有对您影响很大或者是很 激励您的一些重要的经历吗?

Smith: I don’t think that there was any one incident that had changed my life. It was simply the observation of a lot of people that I admired. I synthesized a lot of things from my coach, my uncles, my teachers in a certain area. When I was a student, I had a marvelous English teacher who opened my eyes to the fact there’d been a lot of people on this planet before my time who might have a thing or two to say that were of use. So, I got a lot of things from a lot of people. I picked and chose.

史密斯:我认为并没有改变了 我人生的事件。我只是会去观 察那些我仰慕的人。我将我的 教练、叔叔和老师身上的优点 进行整合。学生时代我有一位 很了不起的英语老师,是他开阔了我的 眼界,他告诉我在这个世界上有很多前 人对我们的世界作出了一定的贡献。所 以我从很多人的身上学到了很多东西, 我对其进行了挑选。

Reporter: What kind of a student were you?


Smith: I was a good student. I liked to read enormously. I loved history. It was not difficult for me to make good grades.

史密斯:我是一个好学生,我喜欢进行 广泛的阅读,我喜欢历史。而且对于我 来说,学习上取得一个好的分数并不是 一件难事。

Reporter: Were there any books that were important to you or had significant influence on you when you were a kid?

记者:孩提时代,有什么书籍对您产生 了很重要的影响吗?

Smith: I read a lot of history, and still do, as a matter of fact. I remember reading a very famous book called Death Be Not Proud, that affected me a lot. It’s about a young boy who had a brain tumor and how he handled that. I read an awful lot about famous people, the generals and the presidents, and things of that nature.

史密斯:我以前读过很多历史方面的书 籍,实际上我现在仍然会看很多那方面 的书。我记得我读过一本很有名的书, 名字叫做〈死神,你莫骄傲 >,它带给 我很多的影响。那讲的是 有关于一个得脑瘤的小男 孩如何应对他的病的故一。 我还读过很多有关于名人、 将军、总统以及这一类人 的书籍。

Reporter : How did you spend your spare time? Obviously, you were an athlete.

记者:您怎样打发自己的 空闲时间呢?很明显,您 以前是一名运动员。

Smith: I always loved to play sports and that was the biggest avocation I had as a youngster. I suspect that I was unusual in the amount of reading I did. I loved to read when I was young, I love to read today. I still spend a tremendous amount of time doing that.

史密斯:我喜欢运动,那也 是我年轻的时候最大的业余 爱好。我甚至怀疑自己在阅 读量方面有些不正常。我年 轻的时候喜欢阅读,我现在仍然喜欢阅 读,我仍然会花很多的时间在阅读上。

Reporter: Are there any other useful and influential books that come to your mind from your childhood?

记者:您能想起童年的时候还读过一些 什么样的有用的或是有影响力的书呢?

Smith: I remember reading a biography of General Lee, of course, which was obligatory for any kid from the South. Perhaps he was working for not a very good cause, but the way the man conducted his affairs and managed his life were exemplary. I think that had a very big effect on me.

史密斯:我记得我还读过一本有关于李 将军的传记,当然那对于南部的孩子来 说是必读的一本书。也许他的事业并非 正义的,但他处理事务以及管理自己 的人生的方式都是值得我们学习。我认 为,那对我有很大的影响。

Reporter: How did you get along with your classmates?


Smith: I was okay in that regard. I had a lot of buddies, and got in my share of scrapes and jams, the same way everybody does. The occasional schoolyard tussle and pulling a prank every once in a while,nothing really

史密斯:我在那方面做得很好。像其他 学生一样,我有很多能够与我同甘共苦 的伙伴。偶尔也会参加一些校园的争 斗,进行一些恶作剧等,但那些都不是严重的事情。

Reporter: When did you know what you wanted to do with your life?

记者:您什么时候有了自己生活 的目标的呢?

Smith: I didn’t really decide that until I was in the Marine Corps and decided that I wanted to go into business.

史密斯:直到我在海军陆战队里 的时候,我才决定了我想要进军 商业领域。

Reporter: How were you affected by your Vietnam experience? Were they positive or negative?

记者:您在越南的经历给您的生 活带来怎样的影响呢?那些影响 是积极的还是消极的?

Smith: Profoundly, in many ways, some good, some bad. Obviously, the war was a very traumatic thing for all of us who participated in it. Clearly, one of the great historical mistakes of all times. Barbara Tuchman wrote a great book about the great historical mistakes: George III losing the colonies, the Catholic Church losing the monopoly on Christendom, and Johnson’s prosecution of the Vietnam War. For those of us who were in it,it was very traumatic, as anything like that would be, but there were some good things about it, too. I learned an awful lot in the Marine Corps—particularly about, I think, how to treat people, lead people-which has played a big role in FedEx. A big part of the employee relations systems and all that we have at our company came from my experience in the service. The Marine Corps is the best when it comes to teaching people how folks. And so, it had a profound experience bad,some good. to lead other on me, some

史密斯:它从很多方面给我带来 了很大的影响,有好的影响,也有不好 的影响。当然,这场战争给每一个参加 到其中的人带来了精神创伤。很显然, 这是很大的一次历史错误。芭芭拉?塔 奇曼写了一本有关重大历史错误的伟大 的书。书中提到的错误就有:乔治三世 失去了他的殖民地,天主教堂失去了在 基督教世界的垄断权,约翰逊对于越南 战争的诉讼。对于每一个参加到那次战 争中的人来说,那都是一次精神上的巨 大创伤,就像其他的战争一样,但是其 实它也有好的一面。我在海军陆战队学 到了很多东西,尤其是怎样对待别人, 怎样领导别人,后者对于联邦快递来说 是很重要的一方面。我们公司的员工关 系体系及其他的一些方面很大程度上都 来自于我在海军陆战队里得到的经验。 在训练一个人如何领导他人方面,海军 陆战队做的是最好的。因此我说,那次 经历给我的影响很深,有好的方面的, 也有不好的方面的。