The Samwers have become the talk of the town when you're en-route in Germany. I was at Thomas Promny's D3Con event Friday and was again reminded of this. No, actually, I am reminded of how prevalent these guys are in the German VC scene whenever I leave the confines of my home. Not one party, event, business pitch nor even at times dinner conversation goes without mention of these infamous brothers. They're constantly in the press, Jason is spouting against them, Nero is ready to canonize them (were they dead) and every other blogger hangs on each and every email which slips out of Rocket Internet.
Well, my opinion of the Samwers hasn't changed whatsoever. See this Quora answer I wrote back in 2010. This still holds true today and will so in the future. Without blowing too much sunshine up their butts, I am basically a fan of the Samwers. No, not because they're touchy-feely good guys but because they've got all kinds of business prowess and have about a billion reasons more in the bank than I do to prove it.
Why are they dangerous then? Because everyone else is scared shit of them! I stood with multiple VC's and angels yesterday and they all basically repeated their fear about launching businesses. In the US (actually globally) the question at every pitch used to be "What will Google do"? In Germany nowadays, the first question is "Will the Samwers copy it?" I've even heard people saying their strategy is to start companies in spaces in which the Samwers won't go. These areas are not lucrative enough for Rocket to even bother.
PEOPLE! ARE YOU $/&§"!'ing NUTS???
Can you imagine if people packed it up in the Valley once Google showed up, or before that eBay or before that Cisco or before that Microsoft? You get my gist! Competition will always be there. The more lucrative the opportunity, the more cutthroat the path to get there. Yet there is always an opportunity to compete. Do something better! Do something different! It's not rocket-science to understand what Rocket does (get it, get it, wink)! It's execution combined with boatloads of cash plus experience. Add a ton of balls and bravado to that equation and you have yourself a chance to compete. I'm biased but look at what Project A or ShortCut are doing. Mark my words, more will come, they'll grow and there will be competition.
I'm sorry if I'm making this seem easy. It's not! It's extremely hard and the Samwers don't want you to compete. Actually, they'll probably poach your employees or talk smack about you behind your back or whatever. You think Google had it easier as the 25th search engine on the market? Focus on what's relevant and either compete or go do something else. Steal their employees or nab their investors for your endeavour. Nevertheless, I'm super happy that the Samwers are who they are. They have raised the bar in Germany, people will eventually compete and we'll all be here in five or ten years bitching and complaining about someone else. I'm good for now having enough small talk fodder at events. Thank you Marc, Oli and Alexander.