Each week Bro Jackson’s deep roster of writers and degenerates tackles a hot-button topic. This week, they take on the company that keeps salons and go-cart tracks in business, Groupon.
Let’s break down former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason‘s resignation letter, which was released last month. My comments are in italics:
(This is for Groupon employees, but I’m posting it publicly since it will leak anyway) Social media self-awareness is a virtue that frees you to write a hilarious resignation letter. Bravo.
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. **NEEDLE SCRATCH** … this is where I started to fall just a little bit in love. Is this guy single?[ref]No, he’s not[/ref] If you’re wondering why … you haven’t been paying attention. I’m listening … 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. I didn’t understand a lot of that, but a transparent claim of accountability from any CEO of a large company is truly jarring to the sensibilities of us 99%-ers. Andrew Mason … will you accept this rose?
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. #humblebrag
For those who are concerned about me, please don’t be–I love Groupon, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve created. On a serious note, this guy has stamped his name into business history. He was first-to-market with a unique business model that EVERYONE flattered by imitation. He should be damned proud. I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey. I doubt that’s true. Really? If Groupon was “Battletoads,” **NEEDLE SCRATCH #2** it would be like I made it all the way to the Terra Tubes without dying on my first ever play through. Ummm … I’m gonna need that rose back … I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to take the company this far with all of you. Humility softens the harsh edge of your previous over-nerdery. Here’s a carnation. 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),[ref]Apparently, he got a LOT of tweets suggesting fat camps.[/ref] and then maybe I’ll figure out how to channel this experience into something productive. I am actually interested to see what’s next for Mason, but I wouldn’t blame him if he just bought an island from Richard Branson and took the rest of his life off. Or go on Dancing with the Stars like I predicted back in February
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 makes you the anti-Steve Jobs. This leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness – don’t waste the opportunity! As a frequent Groupon customer, I second this emotion.
I will miss you terribly. And judging from how cool this letter makes you seem, I bet they will miss you too. Can I please ghost write your autobiography?
How to properly react when you hear the word “Groupon,” a modern safety manual:
1. You hear someone mention the word “Groupon”
Direct your eyes toward whomever uttered the word. That person is really cheap. It doesn’t matter if said person is your mom, significant other, or Pope Francis. They are 100% cheapskates. We’re talking Jeffrey Loria cheap here. Slowly excuse yourself from conversation with this individual. Don’t be worried about missing out on a bargain because you never wanted to learn how to cook paella or do hot yoga. Cut all contact with the person who mentions “Groupon” to you. Never speak to or of them again. Make sure all of your friends know to stay away from this person.
2. You hear yourself mention the word “Groupon”
Are you sitting down? Please do. I’ll wait … So you’re cheap. I know this is a hard pill to swallow, but you are cheap. I bet you are the type of person that thinks it’s OK to get garlic bread for your main entree. Were you that bored today at work that you were able to convince yourself that you should try a Groupon? It always sounds like a steal to get laser hair removal for 80 bucks, but don’t encourage these impulses. Next time you think of the word Groupon I want you to stab your leg with a fork. Keep on doing it and I guarantee that in at least a year or so you will stop thinking about it.
Erin got on Groupon on her phone. An app, goddamnit–and ordered couples stained glass class. Somewhere, somehow, this started on Pintrest, I just know it. There was a “do-it-yourself” section, and she started looking at things, and before I knew it, I was 45 minutes away from home, in a place where only racist people retire.
“Your mom would love it if you made this for her for Christmas.” Of course I want to force my mom to display my shitty art in her home. Game on. Safety goggles, and I’m basically just welding from this point on. We shared a table with two other women. There were also women at the other table; the “sensible sweater” types with bifocals. The instructor had a fan on and it hit them first, so the small room in the loft of a log cabin (I cannot make this shit up) started to smell like Bath and Body Works.
Bitches love stained glass skills, so I learned the trade pretty quickly. A few moments later, the instructor came by and noted that I was probably the best at stained glass, ever. I agreed, and then the smoke machine behind me turned on. Slowly, my all-black Ray-Ban sunglasses slipped over my eyes as “Ice Ice Baby” played.
At the end of the day, my Nickelodeon “teaching moment” came when I got to pick a burger place on the way out of town. Sometimes, even if you’re at a stained glass class, you can catch a football game and drink beer if you smile long enough. I also learned that I’m a stained glass prodigy, and I’m going to beat Deep Blue at this shit.
Groupon is that company I don’t have any particular interest in but can’t bring myself to ignore, just in case they offer something huge. I think I’ve bought Groupons twice in my life: once for a discount on window tinting and another time for a pretty sweet deal at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in Las Vegas. The tinting was good, the burger was dry.
The concept makes sense, but I’m not an extreme couponer, so the extra effort it would take to buy, print and/or show a cashier a deal I’ve purchased is not a worthwhile opportunity cost. I’ll just pay the $10 for my sandwich to avoid the hassle it would take to get it for $5. I realize this makes me sound curmudgeonly,[ref]Ed.’s note: And lazy.[/ref] but at the end of the day, Groupon just rarely gives me anything I’m interested in. I don’t necessarily care about low-scale discounts at bars and chain restaurants. That being said, the bigger deals aren’t that great either. I don’t own a dog, so the countless pet grooming services listed do nothing for me. I like a good massage as much as the next guy, but when you’re giving me a full 60% off a Swedish treatment at a place I’ve never heard of, it doesn’t particularly inspire a whole lot of confidence.
I don’t have any suggestions for improving Groupon’s services, but deep down, I must think there’s something inherently good about them, otherwise I wouldn’t keep the app on my phone. I’m pretty sure it’s not a case of FOMO,[ref]Fear of Missing Out. Duh.[/ref] but a hope and a wish that Groupon will start offering me exactly what I want. The problem is I don’t know what the hell that is, so they’ve got some work to do.
I wish there was a Groupon for dating. The hard thing about dating isn’t going on the actual dates, it’s that middle-school level of awkward between dates. Should I text her when I get home? Is she really busy this weekend or is she just saying that? What the fuck does a turtle emoji at 3 a.m. mean?
Instead of all that noise, couples should just agree on three dates for the social anxiety of one. The beauty of Groupon is how specific it is. Eight massages for the price of four. Fantastic. Groupon is essentially the Costco of the Internet. And I want to date in bulk.
One coffee date, one dinner, one meet up with your friends, all for the nervousness and awkwardness of asking for your number. Look, Groupon’s stock price has plummeted as consumers realize they could not possibly use eight massages before their Groupon expires. You know what people do want? Dates. And lots of them. Combine Match.com and Groupon and you have the fastest growing online trend in history. Welcome to Gratch.com. Love at every price.
We really have to pat ourselves on the back as a society that as soon as our economy became about 99% service jobs, we came up with a way to get 60% off on services via Groupons. I would complain if I wasn’t addicted to $20 massages.
Groupon is the ultimate “fuck you” to service providers because it basically says that what those providers do isn’t worth anything, while marketing is worth everything. But Groupon marketing is of the brute-force, “our database is bigger than yours and our discounts are deeper” variety, and that’s not really marketing at all. I don’t really think that Groupon is a sustainable option for businesses looking for long term improvement, and I would probably boycott Groupon if I were the activist type … OK, actually I would probably boycott Groupon if I didn’t enjoy 70% off Sunday brunch.
I had a Secret Santa at work once give me a Groupon for a month’s membership to a gym. Not the worst present I’ve ever received, but certainly the worst present I’ve ever gotten that both insulted my physical fitness, let me know exactly how much it cost, and was just a FUCKING PIECE OF PAPER. Nothing like opening up an envelope and receiving a COUPON THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN REDEEMED. Meanwhile, I bought a coworker a Justin Bieber fanny pack with speakers built in. That’s right, Mary from accounting, YOU JUST GOT OUT SECRET SANTA-D BY A JEW.