E052: with Andrew Mason





about this episode

Jason Calacanis hosts This Week in Startups with guest Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon

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00:02:25  Message to Gen Y part 2: If you choose to work at a startup bring something of additional value to the table

00:04:00  Aspergers discussion

00:05:45  Too much word policing going on

00:07:45  Insight From Tyler – Trust is a big issue if you are running a social network

00:10:00  Temple Grandin

00:10:20  Chat question – Jason are you interested in talking at TED?  No, he doesn’t feel like he needs to change the world

00:10:45  Chat Question – Will you ever go HD?  depends, tricaster has 6 out puts and we need them all the HD unit only has 3 but they are working on one with more

00:12:00  Sarah Silverman TED

Soon launching WebSpy Soho – Easily monitor Home & Small Network bandwidth usage, Internet connection speed and much more – Test Alpha version

00:16:00  Buckingham Palace uses WebSpy

00:16:20  Insight From Tyler “Underwater Scuba Diver”

00:16:35  Ask Jason – John Meneses – How do you start a business with bad credit?  You should start a service based business or a client backed company.  Solve a companies problem and let the company license the product to use it, previous employers work best they know you and work backwards

00:25:30  Shark Tank – Raphael MorozovUcubd – a mashup service for bloggers, you take an object and wrap it into our ad network and we create a simple widget and it works automatically, it adds revenue with little work

00:27:00  (Tyler) reminded him or micromachines he was barely able to make out most of it because of the speed, pitch 5.5 idea 8, (Jason) pitch 6, idea 7.5

00:28:30  Jason simplifies the pitch

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00:31:00  Andrew Mason of Groupon, the same company everyone is talking about, “Groupon is synonymous with success”

00:32:50  When did you start?  we started as The Point and pivoted in Nov. 2008 and quietly launched Groupon

00:36:15  Did you get any resistance from the team when you pivoted from The Point to Groupon?  no, it was a gradual shift

00:37:40  How do you get the deals?  Businesses see it as an alternative to advertising, merchants don’t pay anything unless someone buys the service/product and they get huge exposure

00:40:00  Editorial process of emails?  they have stuck with their original motto to keep things fun

00:42:10  Explain your company culture?  we hire great people, give them freedom to be awesome and they are a very humble group, they are all equal

00:44:30  You have the same investors as Facebook and Zynga how did that happen?  They were introduced by someone from Facebook

00:45:30  The investment was a way to get liquidity for early founders and build the company

00:46:00  Is Groupon going to compete with companies like Amazon?  No they will stay local for the time

00:47:20  What do you think of the Groupon clones?  he’s over it and focuses on his company

00:48:30  Was The Point backed by an investor?  Yes, Andrew was new to the startup scene, he didn’t even consider himself and entrepreneur but yes it was backed by Eric Lefkosky

00:49:45  Will you look for a professional CEO?  No but all he wants to be is useful, the board doesn’t want to fire him

00:50:30  Is thier a new direction for Groupon?  they will continue to expand and will be in Europe soon

00:51:00  What is the key to your success?  solving a problem in a way that entertains and stays focused on the long term goals

00:53:00  Are you seeing a saturation from clones?  no the knock-offs tend to kill each other, they have far more demand than supply

00:55:00  They try to balance a win win for business and customer

00:55:50  How do you deal with high end restaurants?  If a particular business doesn’t need customers they don’t need Groupon

00:57:00  What worries you?  A lot, but nothing seems overwhelming, “how do they not suck?” worries him

00:58:20  How many employees?  300 and they are adding 40 a month but he is not worried about the core editorial team

00:59:30  Who do you respect as an entrepreneur?  Eric Lefkosky, people on the Groupon board, Jason Fried

01:03:00  How you like the Skype interviews?

01:04:00  The News – Special Announcement – Lon is now the Creative Director at ThisWeekIn, he will be focusing on content and quality of shows, best practices.  Working at Mahalo is like business school, everyone does multiple things and you have the chance to learn a lot

01:10:10  Jason will be on TWiT, Sunday at 3pm PST

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01:12:40  Leo Laporte deativated his Facebook account along with others, why haven’t you?  Jason uses his for marketing purposes, JasonNation and TWiST are his primary means of communicating with the world, their is no viable competitor at the moment, Open Message To Mark Zuckerberg video was created in Dec. he just noticed a pattern that doesn’t look honorable.  Facebook is now associated with Farmville and no privacy, people are starting to think Facebook is weak

01:19:30  Diaspora – Do you think this could be the Facebook replacement?  Would you invest?  Kickstarter is the real story here, people want trust and reliability, open source projects are generally not good for customer facing businesses, he does wish them the best and hopes they succeed, people want an alternative, it is telling when people donate their own money in an idea.  Jason thinks their are sleepers out there who think this is the moment.  Defaults matter, it says something about you, Facebook’s are way too complicated

01:26:10  Facebook’s Continuing Woes – Is it rash to make something out of IM chat?  Jason believes the transcripts are real and are being leaked by the lawsuits from discovery documents and believes more will be leaked

01:31:25  RIP TechCrunch50 – It was over how to split proceeds, Mike and Jason had a different opinion and Mike stepped away, Jason is sad it ended this way

01:34:30  The Launch Conference – How do I make it more accessible?  It will be affordable, it may change a bit, Jason doesn’t need the money from it, all profits will be reinvested in demo pit and presenting companies, new business model for conferences, it’s about his reputation, they want to build a different conference and celebrate the entrepreneur

01:44:30  Anyone who watches 10 TWiST shows live and tweets the weekly message and checks-in with ThisWeek (in Ustream chat will) at the end of the show will get a free ticket

01:47:00  Deadpool Radar – why did it fail to get traction?  Photosharing is a tough space and is too featurized

01:49:25  Hulu Changes – Is their a way out for Hulu?  he doesn’t think they are in danger of dieing but will never reach their full potential, watching a movie on the iPad is delightful

02:01:40  ThisWeekIn casting call May 22nd

02:03:30  END

If I  missed anything please include it in the comments and I’ll integrate it  into the post.

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  • Chris Oliver says:

    You guys should make the timestamps links to the sections in the youtube video with the “#t=2m10s” section of the url. Would be handy to jump to the parts quickly like that

  • thisweek says:

    Chris, thank you for the suggestion. We will look into this.

  • Steve says:

    this episode lacks any viewable or useful content. Jason seems to be more full of himself than ever… big surprise. I am pretty certain he has Assholeburgers syndrome :-)

  • Another excellent show I am very excited about The Launch Conference. Just need to make sure I get into those ten live shows now ;)

  • Elliot Nash says:

    Thanks for a great show Jason! I look forward to this every week!

  • yakshaving says:

    Pretty exciting to see Chicago folks on TWIST. thanks, good show

  • thisweek says:

    Yakshaving, thx!

  • Ben_Lopez says:

    Jason, if there was one thing that really resonated with me in this show (don't remember if it was this episode or the previous week) it was that you don't get to be a reputable personality without being opinionated. I'm always one to inject personality into my blogging, but after hearing some of your wisdom on this, I went back and looked at my blog entries for the past month. Not very opinionated at all. Interesting and with injected with a dose of charm perhaps, but not many really strong opinions.

    You've inspired me to do a piece that will probably make me some enemies, but you know what, I've got to be truthful and genuine, even if it means potentially upsetting some of my readers. So Wednesday's blog entry will be one that will likely upset a large number of Tumblr users, as I'll be calling out a specific portion of the Tumblr community.

    Thanks Jason!

    Ben Lopez
    Author of From Dimes To Dollars (Tumblr)

  • 1:09:25
    If you want to see Jason with Leo Laporte on TWiT, here is the url:
    http://twit.tv/248 specifically @ 0:51:10

    Also, be sure to watch for Jason drinking a bottle of shampoo near the beginning of the show.

  • Jay Bose says:


     Jason’s joke about the guy with Asperger’s making fun of other people with Asperger’s was genius.
    You have to go down the rabbit hole a little to get it, but it’s a goodie…

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