Lay Off Groupon's Andrew Mason, He Was Already Fired
I have seen most of North America -- which is good enough for me -- and met all flavors of interesting people from myriad lines of work and play. Headed into year thirty-eight, I'm entering what could end up being the most exciting time.
The video we're shooting from the West Coast, packaged as TheBeach Meets TheStreet , including our start-up founder series , takes the work I'm doing as part of TheStreet's turnaround to another level.
My focus on new and perpetual start-ups -- see the growing stack of content at our YouTube playlist -- generates an incredible amount of energy.
I'm always fired up to do this job, in large part because, on a daily basis, I interact with entrepreneurs.
They're a special, inspiring breed. In some ways, they're akin to hockey players. Just all-around friendly and unassuming people. Might seem counterintuitive, but, by and large, the entrepreneurs I have talked to over the last 18 months -- some multi-millionaires, others just starting out -- are incredibly humble and down to Earth. That doesn't mean they're not confident, intense and animated. This mix of qualities is exactly what makes serial entrepreneurs as well as many people working at or closely connected with startups so fun to be around.
Two things happened Thursday that put me on the present train of thought.
Andrew Mason got fired. Groupon (GRPN) did what it had to do and cut loose its 32-year-old co-founder.
Groupon had/has its problems. No doubt. Mason deserves a significant share of the blame. That said, it's unfortunate to watch the media and other observers pile on the guy with catcalls and wiseass shots.
Andrew Mason pioneered a category. He led the leader in the space for more than four years. He had an idea. He went for it. He did it. He made it. Big time. Maybe he got in over his head as CEO. He undoubtedly made mistakes, but that doesn't erase his incredible achievements.
Folks who try to take Mason's accomplishments away from him or label them insignificant because the daily deal space appears broken suffer from what Howard Lindzon called entrepreneur envy.
It's the same dynamic when people dog Zuckerberg at Facebook (FB) or the people at Pandora (P) . They call it a bubble because they don't understand it. They can't feel the energy of start-up culture.
Mason could have exited Groupon without a word on Thursday with his head still held high. Instead, he penned four paragraphs and one sentence that you absolutely should do yourself the favor of reading . If you don't walk away from this whole episode liking the guy -- and even feeling bad for beating on him -- you're something other than human.