(I’ve been writing this in my head for a couple of months now, and here’s an opportunity to get it out.)
I started at Groupon more than two years ago now. I was excited about the company then, but I’m way more excited now. This may come as a surprise to someone who only follows the market or the Silicon Valley tabloids, but for me, Groupon is the place to be. Here’s why:
- The Business - Groupon's core mission is to get people out from in front of the computer, out of the house, and trying new things. We succeed when we help people find an awesome new restaurant that they love to bring their family to, or when someone tries skydiving, or when you take your friends out bowling for the first time in years. We continue to succeed when we help local businesses acquire new customers. We win when people are out and about in their town, spending money at their neighborhood shops. I think this is a net positive for society, and a stark contrast to most other online businesses. For comparison: Amazon wins when you stop buying stuff from local businesses (worse than WalMart!). Facebook or Google make money only when you spend more time on Facebook or Google looking at their ads. I prefer to work for a company whose motivation is a societal good.
- Andrew Mason - The guy is a humble genius. He's the real deal, and shoulders a lot of responsibility for building...
- The Team - This is a seriously talented group. From the original crew who started The Point to the team now. The engineering team has grown from 25 people when I started to more than 300 now. The level of consistent quality of people I get to work with is off the charts -- not only in technical aptitude, but in demeanor, attitude, and interesting hobbies. A significant portion of the engineering team growth has come from acquisitions, so there's a distinct lean toward "entrepreneurial" in Groupon's culture. This is a great thing. Humor is one of our core competencies and it permeates all aspects of our office life. This makes things which would otherwise be dull at most companies into big fun.
- International - We're taking what we've learned and built for the US business and rolling it out to the rest of the world. If it works internationally as it has worked in the US, we will see a significant revenue lift from improved deal targeting and product experience.
- Merchant OS - We're expanding beyond the Daily Deals market into what we call the "Merchant OS". This is tools and services for merchants to help them do a better job, and to save money over existing systems. We've announced an online appointment scheduling system, iOS based credit card processing system, a restaurant management system. There are more very interesting projects in the works. I think we're uniquely positioned to succeed in this market because of the personal relationships we've forged with tens of thousands of local businesspeople. This is a significant asset that no other company can match, and why a typical technology company will fail to make inroads.
So those are the big reasons why I’ve decided to dedicate my work time to Groupon. Maybe you’d like to join me?