As I was watching CNN this morning while getting ready for work, one of the feature stories was on the firing of Groupon CEO and Co-founder, Andrew Mason. The banner headline across the screen and the morning anchors highlighted the first paragraph of Mason’s letter to Groupon’s staff, which read in part:
“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….”
It’s a humorous and very human way to begin a corporate goodbye letter, which is why that first paragraph is receiving so much attention, but truly – at least for me – Mason saved the best of what he wanted to convey for last. It’s the last paragraph that talks about the customer:
“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!”
That’s the line that grabs my attention, and hopefully, as Groupon and other brands move into the future, it’s the line that will keep their attention, too.
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” ~ Sam Walton, Founder of Wal-Mart