Andrew Mason resigned less than an hour ago and he was humble in his assessment of his shortomings and the mistakes he made. That said, he made out really good at the IPO and will likely not ever have to worry about making rent. [See his farewell email below] Groupon as a business was flawed from the start. When I first heard of it along with others like LivingSocial, I expected a platform that would aggregate and organize all the deals, coupons, sales and clearances out there into a format and user interface that would be easy to navigate, even for my grandma. But alas, Groupon went ahead to compel mom and pa shops to offer deals to its growing hordes of subscribers at the expense of course, of the small businesses. At one point it almost seemed obvious - why not offer the businesses an interface where they could create their own deals and coupons along with limits on how many they could manage and offer their subscribers insight into these deals? They could have taken a small royalty on every coupon cashed in and thus transform themselves into a Google for Deals. Easy to say in hindsight. Andrew Mason was a pawn and the new CEO is no stranger to controversy. I am thinking of playing this in an interesting way. I will wait for the euphoria on the new developments to subside, watch to see if they develop a practical and sustainable business model, then consider the option strategy - Puts if they continue on the same path and calls if they seem to be learning. Regards, FAREWELL EMAIL
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.