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The (copy) code of the Samwer brothers

Wednesday, 7 March, 2012

It’s Code Year, and 408,000 enthusiastic, idealistic people, Rainy Day included, have signed up to learn about Object-Oriented Programming and other computing esoterica. The goal is digital literacy as opposed to slavishly following the commands of those who are creating the technologies that increasingly govern our lives.

But what if this idealism is misplaced? Might it not be better if those struggling with primitives in javascript were to copy the code instead of writing it? That’s what the Samwer brothers have done. And they’re millionaires as a result. “Oliver, Marc, and Alexander Samwer, a trio of German brothers who have a wildly successful business model: Find a promising Internet business, in the U.S., and clone it internationally.” That’s what BloombergBusinessweek declares in “How Three Germans Are Cloning the Web“. Snippet:

“Since starting their first dot-clone in 1999, a German version of EBay (EBAY), they’ve duplicated Airbnb, eHarmony, Pinterest, and other high-profile businesses. In total, they’ve launched more than 100 companies. Their Zappos (AMZN) clone, Zalando, now dominates six European markets and is estimated to be worth $1 billion by Financial Times Deutschland. Through their venture capital firm, the European Founders Fund, they also invested in European knockoffs of Facebook and YouTube (GOOG), which sold for $112 million and $36 million, respectively.”

The Samwer brothers are successful, they’re rich, they’re handsome and they’re very, very nasty.


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