Andrew Mason and the Rise and Fall of Groupon
Andrew D. Mason (born 1981) in Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Andrew Mason was early entrepreneur at an early age starting Bagel Express at the age of 15. CITATION Mar10 l 1033 (Coburn) By all accounts he was a talented person with many different interests. He earned a music degree, worked in web design, worked in the music business, and even pursued a masters degree in public policy; which he did not finish.
CITATION Fra10 l 1033 (Sennett) Andrew Mason was a forward thinking and innovate thinker; as was evident by his multiple personal and professional interests. Andrew Mason happened upon an idea for the deal-of-the-day coupon and pitched it to former employer Eric Lefkorsky who backed the start up. CITATION Bar10 l 1033 (Weiss) Groupon was the fastest growing company ever. CITATION Chr10 l 1033 (Steiner) Groupon went from being a great startup idea to being worth over a billion-dollar company to barely staying in business in only four in half years.
CITATION Plu13 l 1033 (Plumer, Brad)Leadership Skills to be Considered
Andrew Mason is typical founder of a business. He saw an opportunity and proceeded to tap into an untouched niche in the e-commerce market. He wanted to capitalize on that idea while sharing it with others. Andrew Mason was much like other founders in that he was hands on innovator like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. He was pushing for and thinking of new ways to keep on top of this market niche.
Andrew Mason had a playful and somewhat naive never give up management style. He tried to lead by allowing and encouraging an environment and culture that was loosely structured.CITATION Jus17 p 685 l 1033 (Longenecker, Petty and Palich 685) This type of management style tends to work for those want to keep the creative juices flowing or have a very creative mind. The difference between Andrew Mason someone like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg is that they knew their strengths and weaknesses. Jobs and Zuckerberg realized that they could not do it alone and sought out advice.
Groupon was an industry leader. It led the way for innovative and new markets that the consumer did not even know that it wanted. The playful and loosely structured culture portrayed, promoted by its founder, helped keep the idea producing portion of the company free of stress and their minds open to new and wonderful ideas. The problem is that type of management style will only take you so far; as well it did. The problem is that a company that grew as fast and as large as Groupon did needs discipline and structure. Groupon was sorely lacking of strong business leadership. Which was evident by the Andrew Masons quirky demeanor. Which caused the companys investors to lose faith in Andrew Mason and the long-term future for Groupon. The sales staff and the investors had a genuine disconnect with Andrew Mason.CITATION Jus17 p 686 l 1033 (Longenecker, Petty and Palich 686)
Andrew Mason should have listened to every department at Groupon. When the sales staff voiced concerns and needed guidance, he should have implemented a plan to address those concerns. He should have realized where his weakness lye and sought help from those with more experience with the skill sets to address the everyday management of the business side of this creative and innovative company.
Andrew Mason was directly the cause for the poor transition during the staggering fast pace rise of Groupon. Andrew Mason failed to see his behavior as anything other than normal and creative. After all he did take the company from a startup to a multi-billion-dollar company at the time of its IPO, in few short years. Andrew Mason did not grow and mature with his company. He failed to act on information and the feed back that he was getting from his staff and from the investors. He failed to see that his great idea had exceeded his expectations and that it was time to hand off the day-to-day management to people that could take his company to the next level. His ego got the better of him by refusing a 6 billion dollar offer from Google and that was the pre-cursor of the demise of Groupon.CITATION Jus17 p 686 l 1033 (Longenecker, Petty and Palich 686)Ideal Leaders
The ideal leader for Groupon would be that of leaders, that is plural. Often time the creator of a start up idea is the best to get the company off the ground; much like Andrew Mason did. The leader would still need to keep that entrepreneurs spirit and remain innovative and forward thinking so to evolve the product with the time and demand. The start up leader would need to have knowledge enough to understand the business or money side of the company so to revenue flowing and the bills paid. Very seldom does an inventor or innovator have prowess to manage both sides of the company after it reaches a certain level. That is where the other side of the founders brain kicks in. The founder would have foreseen this possibility and would have started slowly transitioning and delegating managerial power to other executive staff and leaders. I believe that is what Bill Gates and Steve Jobs along with other successful start-up technology company founders have done.
In my opinion Groupon was, for a short time, destined to be Roman Empire of the tech world. It could have had it all. The lack of structured leadership from its founder began the company and decimated it as well. The laxed work environment, while helping some, alienated others in the company. The failure to notice the flaw the concept of the original idea caused loss of business. The pride and the ego of the company and that of the founder caused the company to faulter. There was paradigm shift happening within that niche of the market and the company failed to be proactive. The controlling investors failed swift enough to prevent Groupon from losing 75% of its value. To know your strengths and weaknesses and be ready and willing to act on them is the key to knowing and controlling your companys future.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Coburn, Marcia Froelke. 14 July 2010. 10 04 2019.
Longenecker, Justin G., J. William Petty and Leslie E. Palich. Small Business Management: Launching & Growing Entreprneurial Ventures, 18e. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2017. Electronic Book.
Plumer, Brad. The Washington Post (WP Company LLC). 1 March 2013. E-Magazine. 10 April 2019.
Sennett, Frank. 30 Decemeber 2010. 10 April 2019.
Steiner, Christopher. 12 August 2010. Web Article. 10 April 2019.
Weiss, Bari. 18 December 2010. 10 April 2019.