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The Mega-rrection

from FORBES

Inside Mega: The Second Coming Of Kim Dotcom

(Photo: Brendon O’Hagan for FORBES)

Kim Dotcom, a.k.a. Kim Tim Jim Vestor, a.k.a. Kim Schmitz, doesn’t act much like a man with a net worth in the negative.

At 11 a.m. on a Tuesday he’s driving me around on a golf cart “safari” of his 60-acre estate outside of Auckland, New Zealand. He weaves among a grove of olive trees with alarming speed–he’s removed the speed regulator in his fleet of electric buggies, and they can clock up to 19 miles per hour. We swing past his 2,000-bottle-a-year vineyard and barrel down a hill toward his $30 million mansion, complete with a hedge maze, a five-flatscreen Xbox room and a 75-foot cascading water display.

Given that he owes millions of dollars to defense lawyers and now has to raise his five children on a $20,000-a-month government allowance meted out from his frozen bank accounts, wouldn’t it be wise to live a slightly simpler life?

“No way,” he says, leaning his massive 6-foot-7, 300-plus-pound body onto the cart’s steering wheel. “That would be allowing them to get away with this stunt. I won’t accept that. By staying here I’m saying, ‘Eff you! You can’t defeat me!’”

The “stunt” Dotcom refers to is the police helicopter raid on his compound that made global headlines 15 months ago, timed to coincide with the U.S. indictment that shut down his ultrapopular constellation of Mega-branded websites under charges of hosting half a billion dollars’ worth of pirated movies and music. Overnight Dotcom went from an underground entrepreneur to one of the most public and controversial figures on the Internet. His site domains, including the flagship Megaupload.com, are now the property of the U.S. government. His servers have been ripped out of data centers around the world and sit in evidence warehouses. He’s had to let go of 44 of his 52 house staff as well as Megaupload’s hundreds of employees. All but 2 of his 18 cars have been seized or sold.

But today Kim Dotcom is putting all of that in his souped-up golf cart’s rearview mirror. His new storage startup, called simply Mega, launched Jan. 20, defiantly a year to the day after the sudden destruction of Megaupload. It’s already exploded to exceed 3 million registered users. His engineers tell me it’s moving 52 gigabits of data per second–that’s nearly half the entire bandwidth of New Zealand–and growing at 30% a week.

[ click to continue reading at Forbes.com ]

Posted on May 12, 2013 by Editor

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