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“After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I've decided that I'd like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding - I was fired today.”—
Andrew Mason, in his letter to Groupon employees following his ouster. (Which he posted publicly because “it will leak anyway”.)
A brilliant and refreshingly straightforward way to exit.
“What’s just depressing to me is how--and it’s not just for us, let me generalize it--the moment a company goes public the conversation shifts from how they’re trying to change the world and the product they’re building to how they’re making money. All the coverage around Facebook’s new search tool was, a little bit about the feature and then it gets immediately into how the market is reacting to it. Like, who the fuck cares?”—
- Ex-Groupon CEO Andrew Mason
The Groupon IPO: responsibly attracting capital or slowly cashing out?
Jun 2nd, 2011
Today Groupon has filed for an IPO of $750m according to the FT (Click here!). The IPO offers only a small percentage of shares to public investors, but it still gives the founders a nice saving’s account in case things go bananas.
Andrew Mason, CEO Groupon talked with Wallstreet Journal last week about the latest Groupon developments. He presented the new face of consumerism, as you simply look at your smartphone and select ‘eating’, ‘leisure’, ‘movies’ to which Groupon automatically select an offer close to your location. Great for Innovation! & Great for becoming Dumb! Which is perhaps the best criteria for testing whether a tech innovation is spot on.
On the other hand Groupon finds itself in a awfully humble relation with its ‘merchants’ who actually have to put Groupon Offers online. With fierce competition from Groupon-copycats, these merchants are indirectly getting more bargaining power at the expense of Groupon’s bargaining power.
The new face of consumerism brought to you by Groupon is very likely to be it. However, that does not automatically mean that actually Groupon will pick up the profits from it. Commerce is a very competitive business. So whether Andrew Mason & Friends are responsibly attracting capital or slowly cashing out, having a small savings accounts of a few mill is never a bad idea.
Edit: March 1st, 2013
Mason’s taking leaving Groupon particularly well in his internal email to Groupon employees. Surely, it doesn’t hurt so much when you already had your payday.
People of Groupon,
After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding - I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention. From controversial metrics in our S1 to our material weakness to two quarters of missing our own expectations and a stock price that’s hovering around one quarter of our listing price, the events of the last year and a half speak for themselves. As CEO, I am accountable.
You are doing amazing things at Groupon, and you deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I’m getting in the way of that. A fresh CEO earns you that chance. The board is aligned behind the strategy we’ve shared over the last few months, and I’ve never seen you working together more effectively as a global company - it’s time to give Groupon a relief valve from the public noise.
For those who are concerned about me, please don’t be - I love Groupon, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve created. I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey. If Groupon was Battletoads, it would be like I made it all the way to the Terra Tubes without dying on my first ever play through. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to take the company this far with all of you. I’ll now take some time to decompress (FYI I’m looking for a good fat camp to lose my Groupon 40, if anyone has a suggestion), and then maybe I’ll figure out how to channel this experience into something productive.
If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness - don’t waste the opportunity!
I will miss you terribly.
Groupon restates its 2010 revenues … by more than half
- $713.4 million the amount Groupon originally stated as its 2010 revenues
- $312.9 million the amount the company changed that to today … damn source
» How does one misstate $400 million in revenues? Good question! Let’s ask the COO, Margo Georgiadis, what she thinks happened. Oh wait, she just resigned after five months and went back to Google. Meanwhile, chief executive Andrew Mason says that her departure offers an opportunity “reorganize in a way that reflects our evolving strategic priorities.” Great answer. We learned so much from that statement. (Edit: To explain what happened, when Groupon sold a coupon, they counted the entire coupon as revenue, despite the fact they only got half of the coupon. The SEC said that was a no-no, so now Groupon looks a lot less valuable.)
Groupon: The TV Series
Channel 4 has announced it is looking to create a new series influenced by (and possibly in association with) online coupon service Groupon.
However, will they be able to come up with anything as ridiculously watchable and utterly dreadful as Extreme Couponing?
Extreme Couponing has taken the success of the dirty job show to a new level; no longer the sole preserve of Ice Road Truckers and Deadliest Catch or more recent series like Full Metal Jousting, Hillbilly Handfishin’ and Swamp Brothers, the series manages to take the art of cutting coupons from local newspapers and turn it into an action packaged reality series.
What would the British version look like?
Will Groupon: The TV series film a series of laptop-bound cheapskates paypal-ing the latest discount voucher? Imagine watching a pack of young women having their eyebrows shaped (albeit at 80% of the original price) at the local branch of Pink Crust or a group visit to a sandwich shop for a discount baguette. Hardly riveting viewing.
I imagine (I hope) the broadcaster is developing something more exciting than showing shoppers in Scarborough searching for super deals.
Wouldn’t Channel 4 be better off following Groupon boss Andrew Mason as he grows his company and battles off US$6 billion acquisition offers from the Google guys. Think The Social Network scripted by Andrew Ross Sorkin rather than Aaron or Undercover Boss-meets-Swimming with Sharks?
We’ll find out later this year.