Former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason rocks on, sort of

Now that’s alternative music. Tech and other executives write business books all the time, why not sing about business? Andrew Mason released an album today called “Hardly Workin’ ” — which shows he actually has been working on something since he was ousted as Groupon CEO earlier this year.

“If you’re seeking business wisdom, you don’t need no MBA,” Mason croons in the first song, “Look No Futher.” Your humble SiliconBeat blogger is no music critic, we’ll leave that to others. But we do know folksy/country/light rock/meant to be uplifting and motivational when we hear it. And in case the album’s very existence hasn’t already thrown people for a loop, track No. 6 is “Stretch,” with a cameo by rapper Bishop Lamont: “Don’t you wanna win, don’t you wanna shine? Don’t you want a mansion and a yacht like mine?”

When he was CEO of the online-coupon company, Mason was always quite quotable. From a Quoted two years ago amid questions about Groupon’s accounting methods: “In fact, feel a little bad about how downhearted the critics will be when we don’t turn out to be a Ponzi scheme — those are good impulses for journalists to have, and I hope our non-evil ways don’t destroy their spirits.” Groupon also ran controversial Super Bowl ads that year, and this was part of Mason’s defense: “Not a single person watched our ad and concluded that it’s cool to kill whales.” And we can’t forget his parting thoughts upon leaving the company he co-founded: “I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding — I was fired today. If you’re wondering why . . . you haven’t been paying attention.”

Why the album? Mason blogs that “executives, mid-level management, and front-line employees are all sure to find valuable takeaways.”

Is he serious? “If you can ignore the feeling that this is a man going through a midlife crisis after getting fired from his own company, there is some worthwhile wisdom here,” writes Seth Fiegerman for Mashable. And Mason’s producer was Don Gehman, who has worked with artists such as John Mellencamp, R.E.M. and Hootie and the Blowfish.

Let’s go to the early reviews (there are nine so far) on iTunes. “Andrew Mason is famous for being a prankster. And I’m pretty sure no self-respecting man would put out this kind of music seriously,” writes gpanger, who gave the album one star. And we’ll let another quotable CEO have the last word. Box CEO Aaron Levie, whose Twitter profile says he’s a huge ABBA fan, tweeted this morning: “Hands down, Andrew Mason’s record is one of the best business-focused rock albums out right now.”

Photo of Andrew Mason on Groupon’s IPO day in November 2011. (Associated Press archives)


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