Business lessons from ousted Groupon CEO Andrew Mason’s inspirational concept album

The magical musical stylings
The magical musical stylings
Image: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
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Even when times were good at Groupon, founder and CEO Andrew Mason was known for questionable workplace hijinks. So perhaps it’s no surprise that a few months after he was fired, Mason has just released a seven-song album of inspirational business rock, featuring lines like “I was climbing Machu Picchu / I beheld that splendid view / An idea came for 100 million / of shareholder value.”

The production values are actually quite good—Mason has a music degree from Northwestern, and it sounds like he blew a fair amount of that IPO money on top-notch studio musicians. But what about the inspiration part? We’ve taken a cursory spin through the album, “Hardly Workin,’” and distilled a few choice bits of Mason’s workplace wisdom. Is it painfully earnest business advice or a deadpan satire of a world that rejected him? You be the judge.

“Look No Further”

If Creedence Clearwater Revival wrote a song dissing business school: “If you’re seeking business wisdom you don’t need no MBA.”

“The Way to Work” 

Driving to the office on a Vespa—”that meditative moment”—is a source of inspiration. Non-Vespa commutes do not qualify.

“My Door Is Always Open” 

Restrictive office hierarchies are the enemy of innovation: “Why would we keep our thoughts, bottled inside of our heads, worried they might do some harm?”

“Risin’ Above the Pack”

A grab-bag of managerial aphorisms, with “Kansas” guitars and sassy backup singers: “Make sure the terms of success are clearly defined / know what’s expected and exceed it.”

A flirtatious manifesto for simplicity: “The best things in life are clear without instructions / If you gotta explain it your plan needs reduction.”


Try just a little bit harder ahead of that quarterly review: “Take the numbers you can hit for sure and add a little more / Quantify your best and add twenty percent.” Bonus: rap verse name-checking Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger.

“It’s Up to Us”

An anthem that looks back wistfully on the Groupon that was, or laments what might have been: “The opportunity to disrupt an industry / we’ll all look back and feel so lucky to make history / If it were easy someone would have already done it.”

You can listen to album on Spotify here: