Less than six months after getting fired from the company he started, former Groupon CEO Andrew Mason has come out with a motivational rock album about making it in the business world — as in, like, Jack Welch-style advice but pop-country — and it is apparently not just a big joke. His introductory blog post for Hardly Workin', at least, sounds completely serious: "This album pulls some of the most important learnings from my years at the helm of one of the fastest growing businesses in history, and packages them as music." Mason, always a big goofball at work, suggests managers play his songs at the end of meetings, for example, to get their workers pumped up.
The album itself is bad. Like corny-children's-rock bad, except worse, since every song's message is about corporate life, which is the opposite of what music should be about. Nonetheless, we listened to the entire thing so you don't have to, then picked out the best parts. You're welcome.
- If you're seeking business wisdom / You don't need no MBA / Look no further than the beauty / That surrounds us every day That's the opening line to the opening track, "Look No Further," which suggests that looking at art can inspire the next "100 million... shareholder value" company.
- I see you lookin' at my bookshelf / Eyeing Catcher in the Rye / Jack Welch didn't need no tipping point / And, friend, neither do . From the same track, Mason suggests that a book for angsty teenagers could inspire you to be the next... Jack Welch, as in the former CEO of General Electric who actually wrote decent books about this kind of stuff.
- Driving home thinking about nothing / A thought appears in my mind / A solution to an HR issue / That's been vexing me for some time In "The Way to Work," Mason underscores the importance of the commute. The track opens: "Look in in the rearview mirror / but just a momentary glance / for the road ahead is long and clear / and paved with no small plans." As it continues, Mason suggests that a little reflection in the car ride to work could lead to a "breakthrough," like, say, on a pesky human-resources dilemma.
- Why would we keep our thoughts bottled inside of our heads? / Worry they might do some harm / But instead we let problems fester The creepiest song on the album, "Door Is Always Open," features a duet between Mason and a very young girl, who sounds like a Sesame Street character. He tells her that his door is, you know, always open. "How can you make time for someone like me my problems are very small?" she asks. "Where do you think great ideas be coming from," he responds.
- There's a double edge sword of ambition / It's natural to impatiently wait for recognition / Obsess and pout and position / Yourself to get to that higher level. Well now I'll tell you / To forget what you've learned / You push before you're ready you're gonna get burned Advice for getting ahead in "Risin' Above the Pack."
- Don't you know, oh my darling / Complexity will kill you / The users, they'll be gone in a blip / The best things in life are clear without instructions / If you got to explain that your plan needs reduction / Just put it in plain site and give me a K.I.S.S. / Keep It Simple Stupid This song cites Steve Jobsian simplicity as a metric for success. You know he told Woz to give him a K.I.S.S.
- Don't you want to win? / Don't you want to shine? / Don't you want a mansion and yacht like mine? / It doesnt come easy / You gotta stay determined / It might look like magic but I'm not Merlin / You gotta stay focused retain that hunger / Or you'll never ever ever be the next Charlie Munger This part is a rap by Bishop Lamont. Again, we have a reference to an old-fart business "hero," for aspiring moguls.
As you can see, it seems like a joke. Maybe it's not? In that case, it's just a sad look into the psyche of a young failed Silicon Valley executive trying to make a comeback.