Why did the former Groupon Tech CEO get fired?

In an almost joking manner, Groupon’s now former CEO Andrew Mason announced to the world in a very public letter that he was fired and why. Below is a copy of his comments and why he feels he was let go.

(This is for Groupon employees, but I’m posting it publicly since it will leak anyway)

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. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention. 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.

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.

For those who are concerned about me, please don’t be - I love Groupon, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve created. I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey. If Groupon was Battletoads, it would be like I made it all the way to the Terra Tubes without dying on my first ever play through. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to take the company this far with all of you. 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), and then maybe I’ll figure out how to channel this experience into something productive.

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 leadership change gives you some breathing room to break bad habits and deliver sustainable customer happiness - don’t waste the opportunity!

I will miss you terribly.

Love,

Andrew

Groupon followed with a response shortly afterwards in an attempt to get in front of the letter and saving face trying to thank Andrew for his time with the company.

In many ways I agree with Andrew’s comments that his being fired was a great thing for a company that has become the but of jokes in the Tech Sector, but Groupon has more problems than a simple management change can solve.

The real problem that faces the Chicago Tech Giant is that they lost track of who their real customer was, the businesses that provided the deals sold to the end users.

By focusing so much on making deals and getting people to order Groupon Deals over the satisfaction of the businesses providing those deals, they shot themselves in the foot.

They didn’t create real value for most of those businesses leaving a sour taste for most former Groupon embattled business owners who now want nothing to do with the company because of it’s somewhat shady practices.

In the end I don’t believe Groupon can really be saved, the model is too easy to copy and unless they get bought out by a bigger brand like Facebook or Apple (Amazon already has Living Social and Google has it’s Offers platform) they are probably dead in the water anyways.

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