How Three Germans Are Cloning the Web

A purple rooster sculpture made from recycled grape Fanta bottle labels. Clocks designed to hang in corners. Bauhaus posters from the 1920s. Hand-painted vintage typewriters. These are some of the carefully curated objects for sale on, the fast-growing flash-deal site for designer goods. Launched out of a loft in New York City’s Garment District last June, Fab had sales of $20 million in its first six months and is on track to earn $100 million in 2012. “We owe our success to keeping it real, authenticity, being close to designers,” says Jason Goldberg, Fab’s chief executive officer. That, and “offering people objects and design products they wouldn’t find elsewhere. No knockoffs.”

Six months after Fab launched, it was knocked off. An e-commerce design site called Bamarang opened for business in Germany, the U.K., France, Australia, and Brazil. Bamarang sells cake stands made from vinyl records, miniature speakers handcrafted out of apricot wood, and plates painted to look cracked. Like Fab, it offers discounts of up to 70 percent on designer goods. The layout, color scheme, and typefaces are also suspiciously Fab-like. Bamarang even has a beautiful shot of an Eames chair as the background photo for its sign-in page, just as Fab does.

Bamarang is the creation of 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. 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 Samwers’ base of operations is a startup accelerator in Berlin called Rocket Internet. Rocket launches companies, hires staff, and provides marketing, design, search engine optimization, and day-to-day management until the startup can fend for itself. Rocket’s executives won’t disclose revenue, but a former high-level employee estimates the company is worth at least $1 billion. Oliver Samwer, the middle brother and de facto head of the operation, says the firm has offices in at least 20 countries and has created 20,000 jobs over the years. “I’m in love with startups,” says Oliver, who, like his siblings, rarely talks to the press. He elaborated in an e-mail: “The power of Rocket is really this huge galaxy of stars.”

Groupon (GRPN) got cloned by the Samwers two years ago, and the results were expensive for the daily-deal site. In November 2008 Groupon went live in Chicago and soon became one of the fastest-growing Internet businesses ever. In January 2010 the Samwers launched a knockoff called Citydeal. Within five months it was the top deal-of-the-day site in the U.K., France, Spain, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, and Turkey. Groupon could have fought Citydeal in the marketplace. It also could have filed an intellectual property lawsuit, though the chances of winning would have been slim. Companies can’t be patented, and trademarks apply only within the countries where they’re registered. Perhaps taking the path of least resistance, Groupon in May 2010 bought its German clone for 14 percent of Groupon’s shares. (Rocket now owns 6 percent of Groupon, a stake worth about $1 billion.)

The Samwers are revered for putting Berlin’s startup scene on the map and despised for sticking Germany with a reputation as the copycat capital of Europe. Not that the brothers take offense at the label. “There are pioneering entrepreneurs and execution entrepreneurs, and maybe we belong more to the execution entrepreneurs,” says Oliver, who speaks at a rapid clip, frequently punctuating thoughts with a rhetorical “ja?

“I think the most admirable entrepreneurs are those with original ideas, ja? It’s a unique gift that you either have or you don’t. Just as we might have a very good gift of execution, others have a unique gift for the purest form of innovation.” As for the similarity between, for example, Bamarang and Fab, he says, “There’s a certain humbleness. First you need to learn from people who are more experienced. … From there, you can start innovating yourself.”

Read it all HERE.


Ah, slowly but surely, the gene pool is getting cleaned of idiots like this:

A man in Sri Lanka passed away Saturday while attempting to set a world record for longest time spent buried alive.

Doctors said a cause of death had yet to be determined.

24-year-old Janaka Basnayake was helped by family and friends into a 10-foot-deep tench, which was then sealed up with wood and soil. When he was exhumed nearly 7 hours later, he was already unconscious.

Basnayake was brought to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The man’s mother told a local newspaper that her son loved pulling unusual stunts, and had been previously buried underground for two- and six-hour stints.


So you think ObamaCare is NOT a real threat to your individual freedom? Watch this: | The controversy over the Obama Administration’s anti-conscience mandate and the fight for religious liberty only serves to highlight the inherent flaws in Obamacare. This conflict is a natural result of the centralization laid out under Obamacare and will only continue until the law is repealed in full.


And here is the snake oil salesman’s current boondoggle to spend more of our tax dollars, algae.

Algae, the green stuff suspended in and floating on the surface of over-fertilized (polluted) water, AKA scum, is supposed to save America’s dependence on foreign crude oil. The President has said so. He stated that “up to 17% of the oil we import for transportation” could be replaced with this fuel [1].
The Chemistry

To begin with, a mass of algae is not the same as a container of crude oil. Algae are small plant-like organisms living in water. Like all plants, they use the energy of sunlight to convert carbon dioxide (CO2, i.e., one carbon and two oxygen atoms per molecule) to plant matter. In chemical terms, crude oil is a pure hydrocarbon of the approximate composition CH2 (i.e., one carbon and two hydrogen atoms per molecule). The composition of algae is more like CH2O, sort of half way in between CO2 and CH2. Because of the remaining oxygen atom in the plant matter (CH2O), its energy content is substantially lower than that of a pure hydrocarbon. You might say that it is already half burnt (the end product of which, of course, is CO2).
Fuel from Plants

Technologically, it is quite feasible to convert any plant matter (CH2O) to pure hydrocarbons (CH2). That process requires a reducing agent, such as elemental hydrogen (H2), dry plant matter, heat, and technology. We can make any amount of hydrogen we wish, by electrolysis from abundant water (H2O), but this process consumes a lot of energy. Then you need more energy for the reducing process itself. Overall, in energy terms, the entire process would consume more energy than the product would likely deliver to your car. So, really no energy savings accrues whatsoever.
The Technology

Growing algae in a pond is quite simple. All you need is some fertilizer (phosphate and other mineral salts) and sunlight. Mother Nature does the rest. It may take a few weeks, but then you have a pond of green water, with mostly suspended algae and some floating on the surface. While the pond may look like “green pea soup” to you then, all that green stuff represents a rather small amount of solid material, the actual algal biomass which you need for the next step.

The next step is to separate the algae from the water. That is not as easy as it may sound. Most of the algae are very small particles; so attempting to filter them out will quickly lead to clogged filters, with hardly any water making it through the filter after a short while. Keeping the filtration going will be a major headache. That problem is well known from sewage treatment systems, which are essentially such artificial ponds for bacteria and algae production.

Keep reading about this nonsense.

It shouldn’t take long. Especially if a republican were to start demanding we “invest” in something this stupid:
Once the global oil industry was dismantled so as to stop wars for oil, the world plunged into a desperate and seemingly endless global war for algae…

And, as always, progressive protesters rallied in the streets for peace, while proudly carrying indignant signs and chanting anti-war and anti-algae slogans:

- No blood for algae!
- No war for algae and Empire!
- Stop Obama’s illegal war for algae!
- Stop America’s addiction to algae!
- Another generation betrayed by Big Slime!
- Algae: not in my name!



The end of online privacy?

First published online by Charles Arthur.

If you use a smartphone and download apps, as half the UK population does now, you’ve probably used an app which pops up a dialog box pop asking “Find your friends?” and offering to search some new social network – or one of the more familiar ones – for people you already know.

It’s easy and quick to click on the “OK” button. But do you know what’s happening once you do? This is where you suddenly discover that what you thought you knew about your online privacy is wrong – or at best, incomplete.

In mid-February, an Indian researcher, Arun Thampi, figured out what was happening when Path, a would-be social network app for Apple’s iPhone for “sharing your life”, asked that question. It was uploading the entire contents of your address book – names, emails, phone numbers – to Path’s servers.

The outcry over this data grab was rapid and widespread – at least among the Silicon Valley digerati and those who watch them. Path’s chief executive wrote a mea culpa blogpost, the company updated its app so it wouldn’t upload all the data, and everything seemed calm.

Then Dustin Curtis, a user interface designer, pointed out that loads of apps do this. On his blog, he noted: “I did a quick survey of 15 developers of popular iOS apps, and 13 of them told me they have a contacts database with millons of records. One company’s database has Mark Zuckerberg’s cellphone number, Larry Ellison’s home phone number and Bill Gates’s cellphone number.” But he added: “This data is not meant to be public, and people have an expectation of privacy with respect to their contacts.” More digging showed that Facebook, Instagram, Yelp and location service Gowalla did too. It seemed like it would be easier to list the apps that didn’t do it.

Read MORE.


A California state lawmaker believes food trucks are contributing to childhood obesity, and wants to keep them farther than marijuana dispensaries from schools.

Assemblyman William Monning (D-Carmel) chairs the Assembly Health Committee. Monning wants to ban all food trucks and pushcarts from within 1,500 feet of elementary, middle and high schools from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on school days. Pot stores must be located at least 600 feet from schools.



Of course liberals hate it.  And by it, I mean us. And by hate, I mean hate.

Going by what I gather from the feedback, we, atTheCollegeConservative, are all just “well-off privileged white people” (see snapshot below and notice the ethnicity of the poster), “judgmental white girl[s] that should rot in hell,” “the scum of the earth” (this one was emailed directly to me), and my personal favorite, “feminist Nazis” (that one doesn’t even make logical sense).  In fact, much like Breitbart did, I’ve grown to enjoy the senseless ridicule.

Let’s examine.

People like this ignorant moron perpetuate the decline of society by attempting to delegitimize those who think and engage in intellectual discussion.  If, Mr. Lawson, by “well-off, privileged white person” you mean that I live above the U.S. government’s ridiculously generous poverty line, have a roof over my head, have food to eat, and have caucasian ancestors, then yes, I am a well-off privileged white person. And, by the looks of it, so are you. (By the way, the original poster of the article to which he was referring is Hispanic.)

This problem extends past rhetoric.  His argument’s implication is that the poster and commenters are illegitimate because they have never experienced poverty. As if he has.

There is no poverty in the United States.  Poverty is suffering without a safety net.  Can’t put food on the table?  Get food stamps. Can’t put a roof over your head?  Get subsidized housing. Can’t find a job?  Get unemployment benefits.  Safety net, safety net, safety net.  One would have to put in a serious amount of effortto avoid the government programs and actually live in poverty.

America never sees what poverty really looks like; we just pretend to know what it is.

So I’ll show you.


Here’s a classic example of democrat hatred for conservatives just because they are Tea Party members:

“We are not the same. I equate Republicans’ political views with thoughtlessness, intolerance and narcissism. They’re neither kind nor empathetic.” The preceding words are a direct quote, written by Diana Wagman, a novelist, in an Op-Ed piece she penned for the Los Angeles Times, on February 21, 2012. Ms. Wagman, who describes herself and her husband as, “…both bleeding heart liberals”, related her tale of an inadvertent discovery of the political views of the couple who own a vacation cabin across the street from the Wagman’s own spread, in the Sierra Nevada, just outside of Fresno, California. Ms. Wagman described her shock when, after an evening spent playing poker and sipping scotch, she found, to her horror, that the aforementioned couple across the street were conservative-Tea Partying Republicans. Your humble Townhall correspondent assumed that the rest of this piece would become a rather commonplace “can’t judge a book by its cover”, missive, but at that point it spun off in exactly the opposite direction.

Ms. Wagman informed her readers that her across-the-street acquaintances were the perfect neighbors. They were pleasant, helpful, and friendly. As Ms. Wagman put it, “They are a lovely family: husband, wife, and four smart, funny, polite children. I was sure they were Democrats.” They were also an interracial family, with an African-American mother and a White father.

The trouble began when the Wagmans invited their new friends in for a final drink after the annual Camp Sierra Association poker game. The friends announced that they were members of the Tea Party, and for good measure, they added that the Tea Party was not racist because, they, an interracial couple, had been eagerly welcomed and accepted by their Tea Party compatriots. In Wagman’s own words, “…I was shouting, his wife was trying to calm him down, my husband was trying to calm me down, and our other friends-all Democrats- were trying to keep everybody from breaking the furniture.”

Ms. Wagman goes on to describe the downward spiral of the evening. She states that they argued about healthcare, welfare, Obama’s religion and citizenship, and the war on terror. Things soon descended to name-calling; “He called me a spoiled idiot and worse. I called him selfish, shortsighted and worse. It was awful, and it went on until after 3 AM.”


Obama tells democrats to f*ck off and leave my money alone!

(Politico) — President Barack Obama has a bleak message for House and Senate Democrats this year when it comes to campaign cash: You’re on your own.

Democratic congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have privately sought as much as $30 million combined from Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee — a replay of the financial help they received from Obama in 2008 and 2010.

But that’s not going to happen, top Obama aides Jim Messina and David Plouffe told Reid and Pelosi in back-to-back meetings on Capitol Hill on Thursday, according to sources familiar with the high-level talks. It was a stark admission from a presidential campaign once expected to rake in as much as $1 billion of just how closely it is watching its own bottom line.

Messina and Plouffe told the two Hill leaders that there would be no cash transfers to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from OFA or the DNC, at least not before Election Day, the sources said.


As a child, Evie was often beaten by a father who couldn’t stand having such a “sissy” for a son.

“He wanted me to act like a boy, even though I didn’t feel it in my soul,” she says.

Teased and bullied, she dropped out of school after the third grade and decided to learn how to cook.

As it turned out, she was pretty good at it, making her way into the kitchens of several high-ranking officials by the time she was a teenager, she recalls with a smile and a wink. And so it was, at a cocktail party in 1969, that she met Ann Dunham, Barack Obama’s mother, who had arrived in the country two years earlier after marrying her second husband, Indonesian Lolo Soetoro.

Dunham was so impressed by Evie’s beef steak and fried rice that she offered her a job in the family home. It didn’t take long before Evie also was 8-year-old Barry’s caretaker, playing with him and bringing him to and from school.

Neighbors recalled that they often saw Evie leave the house in the evening fully made up and dressed in drag. But she says it’s doubtful Barry ever knew.

“He was so young,” says Evie. “And I never let him see me wearing women’s clothes. But he did see me trying on his mother’s lipstick, sometimes. That used to really crack him up.”

When the family left in the early 1970s, things started going downhill. She moved in with a boyfriend. That relationship ended three years later, and she became a sex worker.