Friday, March 1, 2013

Andrew Mason's farewell to Groupon

Andrew Mason has been fired.  He posted a very candid farewell letter publicly anticipating that the letter will be leaked to public anyway.  You can read the letter here.

I have only watched the his interview on Charlie Rose, and seen his talks, so I don't know how he has been in the office.  But the farewell letter really spoke to me as his genuine message.  The way he shared his disappointment was well handled and I think it offers a few lessons that we can all learn from.

1. Tell the truth

When a set back happens in life, we all tend to hide behind something.  It could be sugar coating it with cliche like looking for more family time for example, or it could be not admitting the failures that we made.  Mason openly admitted that he failed as CEO by not maintaining the IPO stock price, and it would be better for the company to have a new CEO in place.

2. Announce it publicly

Instead of sharing the news internally, he made an announcement to everyone.  By making a public announcement, he got in front of the rumor cycle, and got his messages out to everyone.

3. Keeping the authentic voice

Mason did all these while keeping his authentic voice, a dorky sense of humor and self deprecating perspectives.  Because he kept his authentic voice, the announcement felt much more genuine, and we could relate to his emotions.

It must be a difficult transition to go from startup founder to CEO of publicly traded company.  Especially when you were the fastest growing startup ever and to experience the negative growth in stock price, it must have been a rough journey for Mason.  I just wish that he can share his experiences with startup communities, and bounce back from this failure.

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