Andrew Mason, the former CEO of Groupon, after leaving the company, has gone on to follow through with his education in music: he has made an album, “Hardly Workin” which is ostensibly meant to crystallize the business wisdom he’s picked up over the years. Considering his goodbye letter, this could be another prankish gesture. In his letter he wrote:
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… 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.
Meanwhile, the “motivational business” songs including such songs as “The Way to Work” and “My Door is Always Open,” and were produced by Don Gehman, who has worked with R.E.M. and John Mellencamp; they are available on iTunes, and contain such lyrics as the song “Look No Further”:
“I see you looking at my bookshelf, eyeing Catcher in the Rye. Jack Welch didn’t need no Tipping Point, and friend neither do I. I was climbing Machu Picchu, as I beheld a splendid view an idea came for 100 million of shareholder value.”
And consider the introjected sense of duty he means to impose on some addled employee:
“Why do we keep our thoughts bottled inside of our heads? Worried that they might do some harm, instead we let problems fester.
“My door is always open. In a culture of transparency, it’s not just a right, it’s a responsibility.”
As quoted by NYDailyNews, he explained his inspiration for the album:
I managed over 12,000 people at Groupon, most under the age of 25. One thing that surprised me was that many would arrive at orientation with minimal understanding of basic business wisdom. “Haven’t you read any business books? Good to Great? Winning? The One Minute Manager?” I’d ask. “Business books? Not really our thing,” was the typical response. I came to realize that there was a real need to present business wisdom in a format that is more accessible to the younger generation.
It was with this in mind that I spent a week in LA earlier this month recording Hardly Workin’, a seven song album of motivational business music targeted at people newly entering the workforce. These songs will help young people understand some of the ideas that I’ve found to be a key part of becoming a productive and effective employee. I’m really happy with the results and look forward to sharing them as soon as I figure out how to load music onto iTunes, hopefully in the next few weeks.
Whether the work is ultimately meant to impart business wisdom (maybe), or meant as some elaborate prank (more likely), is up to the listener willing to purchase the album for $9.99 (or for $6.93 if you buy the tracks individually, but then you’d miss out on the “digital booklet”). The idea that art and music, the last bastion of beauty in a plutocracy dominated not so much by nationalism, but corporatism, should itself be infected at the heart by business wisdom made slick and sleek by a CEO too cool to care: sounds like fun! Check it out.