Groupon Fatigue

Look, Groupon Is Totally a Serious Company Now, Okay?

Are you investors happy now?
groupon ceo andrew mason on cnbc Look, Groupon Is Totally a Serious Company Now, Okay?

Andrew Mason, American treasure.

We haven’t heard too much from Groupon CEO Andrew Mason lately. (One gets the impression he felt the need to lie low for a little while.) But it seems he’s decided to reemerge into the public eye with a Businessweek profile wherein he puts on his absolute most serious, most adult, most professional game face.

Well, considering the company’s plunging stock price, it’s probably about time for a charm offensive.

For one thing, the man dressed up:

 Mason, 31, is looking a lot less scruffy these days. His hair is neatly parted to the right, and he’s wearing tortoise-shell glasses and a crisp light-blue dress shirt with a pen in the pocket.

Forget the daily deals and the crazy cat mascot and the boozy staff meetings. Mr. Mason now has an enterprise vision:

The CEO’s focus now is on building what Mason calls the “operating system for local commerce”—a suite of software and technology services that would embed Groupon into every facet of every transaction on Main Street…. Merchants would use the system not only as a form of advertising but also as a touch point for every sale they ring up and a hook for bringing customers back.

Point-of-sale systems are serious tools built by serious companies with serious balance sheets.

But then, after spending the entire interview demonstrating that he’s the right man with the right vision for Groupon’s long-term stability, Mr. Mason makes a terrible last-minute blunder:

With the dress shirt and neat haircut, he even looks like the centi-millionaire CEO that he is. Then he heads out the door, and the impression dissipates. There’s no car and driver waiting for him, just his sage green Vespa. He hops on and rides off into Chicago traffic, without a helmet.

Never change, Andrew Mason. Never change.

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com