What do you do when you’re famously fired from the company you founded
Well, if you’re ex-Groupon CEO Andrew Mason, you record an album of songs offering business advice.
“I’ve probably listened to the album over a dozen times now,” he admitted on his blog Sunday, “and with each spin I feel like I learn something.”
It’s nice to know we live in an age where, thanks to things like social media and the voracious content requirements of a 24-hours-or-less news cycle, Internet CEOs can attain the level of comfortable celebrity where they feel it’s not just acceptable, but a good idea to unleash pet projects such as this upon the world. At least he used his own money as opposed to hitting up Kickstarter or Indigogo like some other celebrities are wont to do.
Throughout Hardly Workin’s seven mostly classic rock, blues-tinged tracks, the optimistic Mason dispenses advice, name-drops both Steve Jobs and Charlie Munger, potentially rips off Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection” and raps in a collaboration with ex-Dr. Dre protégé Bishop Lamont.
This musical turn may not be the leap it seems. Mason holds a degree in music from Northwestern, once played keyboard in a punk rock band and interned for legendary producer Steve Albini, who also counts him as a personal friend.
“I think it sits in a tradition of absurd but sincere gestures,” Albini said when reached by phone at his studio. “I think it’s one of the most amazingly realized great ideas I’ve stumbled across in a long time.”
Albini, who was a member of iconic punk outfit Big Black and has worked with some bands you may have heard of such as Nirvana, the Pixies and Cheap Trick, admits that while he and Mason spoke often during the recording of Hardly Workin’, “unfortunately I can’t take any credit for it.”
He goes on to point out that many people are “getting it” and many are “not getting it in a beautifully clumsy way.”
“It’s lighthearted,” he laughed. “Obviously it’s not a career move.”
As for the future, Mason and his wife recently relocated from Chicago to San Francisco, where he claims to be drawing from a “backlog of ideas,” his favorite of which he’ll be turning into a new company this fall.
I’ll leave you with some lyrics from “K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid),” which form a better conclusion than this writer likely is able to.
“Don’t make me cut through no thistles / You can keep all your fancy bells and whistles and shove them / Where the sun don’t shine.”