What has Groupon’s former CEO, Andrew Mason, been doing since he was ousted from the online coupon company in February? He’s been putting together an album—called Hardly Workin’—filled with what he calls “motivational business music.”
Mason, who studied music at Northwestern University, founded Groupon Inc. in 2008.
On his blog, he writes, “This album pulls some of the most important learnings from my years at the helm of one of the fastest growing businesses in history, and packages them as music. Executives, mid-level management, and front-line employees are all sure to find valuable takeaways.”
While Groupon’s growth trajectory is certainly a good lesson in resilience, some may question whether Mason is the right person to turn to for management advice.
Groupon was a pioneer when it launched but, as with any great web idea, it was copied, and copied, then copied some more. Under Mason’s leadership, the company struggled to compete, its accounting practices raised eyebrows and it committed a series of PR blunders.
Since Mason’s exit, Groupon has expanded into product sales, payment services, restaurant reservations and other areas. Its stock price is has nearly doubled.
Given this tumultuous history, it’s hard to put much stock in Mason’s musical lessons. So, how are we to interpret Hardly Workin’? Is it a vanity project akin to Jeff Bezos’ 10,000-year clock or Richard Branson’s space-tourism venture? Is it catharsis? Is it a joke? Or is simply it a lesson on how not to read the room?
Time—and Hardly Workin’s sales—will tell.