A fast-and-furious account of how Groupon and its young founder bucked acquisition trends by rejecting a $6 billion buyout offer from web titan Google.
Time Out Chicago Editor-in-Chief Sennett’s focused analysis centers on Groupon founder Andrew Mason, a former Northwestern University music major with a penchant for computer coding and a passion for public policy. In 2006, Mason met Eric Lefkofsky and pitched his idea for a collective-action campaign website called The Point, Groupon’s precursor. As Groupon emerged from Point users who exchanged services, the pair’s disparate personalities flared; Mason was a diligent perfectionist eager to make Groupon the “new ecosystem for local commerce,” while “alpha dog” Lefkofsky craved fast results. Desperate marketing strategies and a crudely constructed online presence drew incremental profits in its initial Chicago and Boston markets. Despite the spawning of knockoff sites, Groupon expanded to more than 150 markets by 2010, garnering Google’s attention. Sennett appropriately profiles Mason as a performative, goofy guy who, along with high school buddies, hatched short-lived businesses repairing computers in their teens. Culled from interviews, research, emails “random eavesdropping on sales support calls,” the author conveys Groupon’s rapid expansion. He also acknowledges the collective power of online communities that fueled Groupon’s stateside and international sales, making Mason the Web’s newest “budding mogul.”
A justifiably dramatic look at the machinations of a resoundingly successful startup and its “Andy Kaufman of CEOs.”