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The Masters of Execution

Successful Startups are based on a good idea at their core, but the idea itself is not the be all and end all. Even the very best ideas fail with poor execution.

Execution, in this context, is the processes needed to take a good idea and turn it into a viable, high growth business.

There is no market for selling good ideas. In our view, then, it is the execution which is the most important part of any potential Startup, though it is often overlooked.

The Samwer brothers can perhaps be described as the masters of execution. They are serial entrepreneurs whose success rate, based on high value sales, is unparalleled.

They began in 1999, creating Alando, a German speaking online auction site which dominated their 18 rival competitors in Germany. Within 100 days of going live it was bought by eBay for £35million.

Following this initial success, their execution model took them to the sale of Jamba! a mobile phone content platform, for £176million in 2004.

They then invested in StudiVZ (German-counterpart to Facebook), MyVideo(German-counterpart to YouTube) and set up Rocket Internet Accelerator, a Berlin-based incubator, in 2007.

Their model has proven to be extremely effective. Trimmed of all the fat, the model is to take the concept of successful US-based tech Startups and market their own version in Germany.

This has led to many labelling the Samwers as ‘Cloners’ or ‘Copycats’, but the proof of the value in the model lays in the indisputably impressive track record when it comes to creating profitable, high-growth Startups.

How have they done this?

The Samwer brothers have had the distinct advantage from the outset, that they have a fully fledged team within their close family. Each brother of the three (Alexander, Marc and Oliver) have their own skill-set.

Speaking to Wired Magazine in 2012, Oliver said: “My younger brother is probably the most intelligent and my older brother is probably the best at execution — I’m somewhere in the middle,” he says. “It’s a perfect team.”

“My advantage is never that I’m the first,” he says. “Never. My advantage is that we just build faster and better in more instances than anyone else.”

They could rely on each other to work as enthusiastically on projects as themselves, whilst combining skills to refine ideas and execute them in the most efficient manner.

The lesson all entrepreneurs can take from the Samwers, whether or not they agree with the ‘cloning’ label, is that execution is the pathway to success.

As the late, great Steve Jobs so finely said, ‘To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.’

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