oliver samwer ceo rocket internet ipo

„We play to win every day“

Es gab Zeiten im Rocket-Internet-Imperium, da fielen Formulierungen wie „Blitzkrieg“ – in einer 2011 geleakten Email schrieb Oliver Samwer, er akzeptiere keine Überraschungen, von seinen Mitarbeitern forderte er, „mit Blut zu unterzeichnen“. Ein knappes Dutzend Mal fällt das Wort „aggressiv“. Die Email schließt mit dem Satz: „Ich werde sterben um zu gewinnen, und ich verlange das Gleiche von Euch.“ Für diese Formulierungen hat sich Samwer seitdem mehrfach entschuldigt.

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Angesichts des bevorstehenden Börsengangs achtet Rocket Internet heute deutlich stärker auf das eigene Image. Oliver Samwer will nicht mehr der betont „aggressivste Mann im Internet“ sein, zumindest nicht nach außen. Er sei vielmehr ambitionierter Unternehmer – und das, bitteschön, mit uneingeschränkt positiven Vorzeichen. Dieses Image hat er zuletzt in zahlreichen Interviews zu untermauern versucht, zuvor konnte man den Rocket-Macher getrost als medienscheu bezeichnen. Heute beruft er sich vor der Kamera auf deutsche Tugenden – Fleiß, Bescheidenheit, der „Schrauben-Würth des Internet“. Berichte über kontroverses Geschäftsgebaren wie etwa im Zusammenhang mit MyCityDeal beziehungsweise Groupon würde man bei der Unternehmensschmiede zu gerne in die Vergangenheit verbannen.

G Tipp – Lesenswert bei Gründerszene Die Weichzeichnung des Oliver Samwer

Gründerszene liegt nun eine Email vor, die Samwer jüngst an alle Teammitglieder verschickt hat. Die verrät: Auch intern achten der Rocket-CEO und seine Kommunikationsabteilung auf die passende Wortwahl. Statt auf Kriegsmetaphern zu setzen scheint man sich nun vielmehr das eine oder andere beim verstorbenen Apple-Chef Steve Jobs abgeschaut zu haben. Der war bekannt für seine betont positiven Formulierungen im Auge der Öffentlichkeit – eine Tradition, die Apple bis heute fortsetzt. Der neue, poliertere, reifere Börsenanwärter Samwer, so wohl das Wunschbild, soll in diese Fußstapfen treten: „Deswegen bin ich so begeistert heute“, „wir haben ein fantastisches Unternehmen aufgebaut“. „Staunenswert“, „revolutionär“, „einmalige Chance“, „unglaublich“ – zumindest vor den Kulissen ist die Diktion deutlich anders als zu Zeiten der Blitzkrieg-Mail, sie ist kontrollierter.

Neben der Bedeutung des Internet und fortgesetzter Innovation, bei der man mitspiele und „wo wir gewinnen müssen“, betont Samwer dabei insbesondere die Plattform, die unter dem Dach von Rocket Internet geschaffen wurde. Sie soll alles zusammenbringen, so Samwer, und stehe gerade erst am Anfang: Das erste Unternehmen in einem neuen Land oder einer neuen Branche zu starten sei schwer. Das fünfte allerdings nicht mehr so sehr, das zehnte noch weniger und beim zwanzigsten habe man einen starken Wettbewerbsvorteil. Der Börsengang helfe dabei, immer mehr Unternehmen zu bauen. „Wir alle arbeiten hart darauf hin, und wir erwarten nichts anderes von uns selbst.“

Hier die Mail im Original:

Dear Rockets,

This is a historic time for Rocket Internet.

As you will have seen, yesterday we announced our intention to float our company on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

This is a defining moment in our journey to build what, we all believe, will be one of the world’s greatest Internet companies. I want to take this moment to reflect on what we are all trying to achieve together, and the opportunity we have ahead.

We are lucky to live at an amazing time, when the Internet is revolutionizing the world around us. We have a once in a generation opportunity to be part of something that changes the way everyone lives. I am very proud that at Rocket we are seizing it with both hands.
Our company is built on three profound beliefs, which unite everything we do. We must never forget these when we set our ambitious goals, and decide in which direction to travel:

1.       The Internet will be everywhere

When we first saw the commercial Internet in the 1990s, and the possibilities it brought, very quickly we knew it was going to go everywhere. The home of the Internet is the U.S.A., that is where the pioneers are found. But straight away we thought – why not the rest of the world? Why not Europe? Why not the people of Africa? Why not Asia, Latin America, Russia?

That is why we have built Rocket to reach all those places, and we are active in over 100 countries today.

These markets would never be the first to develop, and would for sure be harder to build, but we have always believed that people everywhere have the same basic needs, and the Internet is for everyone. And now, smartphones are delivering that vision ever faster, growing exponentially in emerging markets.  Consumers in these markets are leapfrogging the development of the physical infrastructure and this provides a huge opportunity for us.

This is why we go to the frontier, and beyond it. For Rocket, being global is the big prize.

2.       Innovation never stops

The Internet has kick-started one of the most incredible waves of innovation we will ever see. The first wave of this innovation is in the business model – online marketplaces, digital publishing, e-commerce, peer to peer lending etc. These are completely new ways of doing business, created by true visionaries. But as these industries mature, like any industry, innovation doesn’t stop, it just moves down the chain into execution, operations and delivery. How do you do it better, faster, deliver better service for the customers, provide more product inventory, more choice, recommendations, delivery and fulfilment?

This is where we play, and where we must win. To lead in our industries we have to innovate every day in providing the best services for our customers. I often talk about the car industry: pioneers like Karl Benz invented the modern motor car, but it was professional operators like Toyota who developed it, industrialised it and brought it to the masses. They are the ones forever moving forward on efficiency, cost, distribution, comfort and convenience.

We are like that. At Rocket we work every day to make things better.

3.       The power is in the platform

We are a global business that operates many companies in over 100 countries. But our strength is not in any single company or country. Our unique power is being the platform that brings it all together, and makes all the individual businesses possible.

We founded Rocket and built it this way because we have always believed that, in a global market, you have to create the winning platform. We have created a platform like no other in the world to build and scale online businesses. It is because we work together, because we share ideas and lessons globally, and foster competition amongst ourselves, that we can enjoy the network benefits and scale efficiencies that our platform can bring.

This is how we take all these diverse emerging markets and transform them into one big market.

And the power of this platform is just getting started. Your first business in a new country, or a new industry, is hard. But your fifth is not so hard, even less so your tenth, and by your twentieth you have a significant competitive advantage. We have the people on the ground all over the world, the processes and systems, our own technology, and local infrastructure all in place and running at full speed. From there we can launch a new business in an existing country, or go to multiple countries with a new business, very quickly.

Our expertise also gives us a head start in managing the huge complexity in many of our markets. Between us all we know online marketing, we know complex tax systems, we know local payments, we know last mile distribution. We are never starting from scratch. Because of our platform we can leverage each of your skills on a world stage. We are bringing a new level of professionalization to the Internet in parts of the world where few have ventured.

If we all keep working together, to keep launching, building and scaling companies from our incredibly powerful platform, then we will continue to succeed. This is why I am so excited today. On these beliefs we have already built a fantastic company, but we have the opportunity to do so much more. This is why going public is such an important starting point for the next stage in our life as a company. By listing Rocket we will be able to fund our future ambitions. We will have access to the capital that will let us build even more new companies in existing and new places, invest in them ourselves, and take Internet services to all corners of the world.

We play to win every day. We all work unbelievably hard to make this happen, and we all expect that of each other. It is your dedication and teamwork that has got Rocket where it is today. We can build the most exciting internet company on the planet. It’s up to all of us to be ambitious and seize this opportunity.

Now, let’s go and shape our future.

Oli

Bild: Rocket Internet