What would you do with your time if you were an unemployed 33-year-old worth $200 million?
If you’re Andrew Mason, the ousted former CEO and founder of Groupon, you cut an album of “motivational business music” titled “Hardly Workin’.”
It’s a pretty natural transition for Mason, who graduated with a degree in music from Northwestern University and interned with famed producer Steve Albini.
It would be easy to make fun of it or to dismiss it as camp. But in putting his talent on display in such a public fashion after such a high-profile dismissal, Mason’s taking a risk that’s seldom seen in the business world, even if it’s not going to get the Pitchfork crowd buzzing or land him on the cover of Spin.
At least his reason for creating the album is interesting.
Mason wrote in his blog two months ago:
I managed over 12,000 people at Groupon, most under the age of 25. One thing that surprised me was that many would arrive at orientation with minimal understanding of basic business wisdom. "Haven't you read any business books? “Good to Great?” “Winning?” “The One Minute Manager?" I'd ask. "Business books? Not really our thing," was the typical response. I came to realize that there was a real need to present business wisdom in a format that is more accessible to the younger generation.
Business wisdom dispensed in the form of three-minute pop songs—how would that work?
Mason explains in a post on Monday, noting how different songs can aid in certain situations:
Try ending your next all-hands meeting with "It's Up to Us," for example. Or, having trouble communicating with a low-per/hi-po employee? A "Thinkin' of You" note attached to a flash drive preloaded with "My Door is Always Open" might be the catalyst you need for that transformational breakthrough.
As for the songs themselves, the seven tracks on the album range from rock to blues to funk and even a country song titled “K.I.S.S.” The ballad duet, “My Door is Always Open”—bizarre as it may seem—has a certain Muppet-esque charm to it. While it might initially be foreign to hear phrases like “complexity,” “key resources” and “transparency” in pop songs, they make sense.
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Whether this is the way you connect with Millennials unfamiliar with standard business practices—well, that’s a different story. It’s a story that we’ll probably hear, though, as Mason is asking for listeners to share their “implementation success stories.”