Rocket Internet boss Oliver Samwer: “I’ve grown up”
As is well known, Oliver Samwer is not one of the most informative Internet entrepreneurs in the republic – but one of the most cited ones nonetheless. Every now and then the head of the Berlin internet conglomerate Rocket Internet is good for a bon mot. On the sidelines of the digital conference “Disrupt” organized by TechCrunch in London, Samwer was confronted with his past by tech journalist Mike Butcher
It is well known that the Internet never forgets – especially not with one of the most prominent advocates of the medium: Oliver Samwer. The serial founder and today’s Rocket Internet boss is known not only to be a man of big company sales – but also of big words.
The metaphor of the “Blitzkrieg” is legendary: In an internal email that TechCrunch published, Samwer spoke Tacheles at the end of 2011. The tone was harsh, the attitude actually testified to an unusually military harshness.
“I am the most aggressive internet entrepreneur on the planet. I would die to win – and I expect the same of you. ” Elsewhere, the series founder warned in his strategy paper that the plans that are presented to him must be “signed with his own blood”.
Samwer and Butcher: Continuation of a Legendary Interview
And then there was TechCrunch veteran reporter Mike Butcher’s attempt to interview that same year. After five minutes with crude explanations, the star investor broke off the conversation with the remark “We are humble Germans, we have kids” (“We are humble Germans, we have children”). Before that, Butcher had to follow him through the building, despite the prior acceptance of an interview – Samwer obviously did not want to answer the well-known critical questions of the TechCrunch journalist.
But it is well known that you always see each other at least twice in the industry. Almost exactly four years later, Butcher got a chance for a longer conversation in public: As part of the TechCrunch digital conference “Disrupt”, Samwer met the British tech journalist Butcher again in London.
Mr @MikeButcher asking proper questions to @RocketBerlin OliverS & both looking better as a consequence #TCDisrupt pic.twitter.com/v25biJzg8f
– Andrew J Scott (@andrewjscott) December 7, 2015
The 43-year-old CEO of Rocket Internet first parried the standard questions about the business development of the Berlin-based investment company and renewed his strategic plans to move further into the segments of e-commerce food deliveries (see HelloFresh and Foodpanda) and Home & Living (see the Westwing and Home24 holdings) invest – especially in the emerging markets.
What is Rocket Internet going to double down on moving forward? #TCDisrupt https://t.co/DK4XKyFJIC – TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) December 7, 2015
So far, so well known. Then Butcher lured Samwer out of the reserve by confronting the Rocket Internet CEO with his past – the Blitzkrieg Mail.
The man @mikebutcher is nailing it at # tcdisrupt15 – not afraid to ask Rocket Internet tough questions. Bold. pic.twitter.com/2Le5T0G6Xt
– Laura Fisher (@laurajaselle) December 7, 2015
“I thought this should be a nice interview,” Samwer tried to save the situation with a joke, but then did not avoid the answer.
That was a tense moment #TCDisrupt https://t.co/maJRb14dxX – Martin Bryant (@MartinSFP) December 7, 2015
“I’ve been in the internet industry since 1998 and used that quote in 2010 or 2011. I’ve grown up since then, ”explains Samwer. When asked whether the serial founder had matured, Samwer replied in the affirmative, but made it clear: “You shouldn’t mature too much …”
Why, revealed Samwer elsewhere in the past year shortly before the Rocket Internet IPO: Many managers of the old economy do not understand the Internet, “because they are too old and ask customers that are too old.”