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The magical musical stylings

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

Adam Pasick
By Adam Pasick

Senior Editor

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:

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