Update to this success story:
In February of 2013 the Groupon Board of Directors dismissed Andrew Mason as its CEO. This was a result of the company losing 75% of its value since its initial public offering (IPO) in November of 2011. At the time of the IPO Mason had an estimated net worth of at least $1.3 billion.
Mason had been described as everything from charismatic to smart, deviant, funny and even a little weird. But the same characteristics that helped him found a billion dollar company, apparently did not work to sustain it.
At the time he was dismissed as CEO his net worth was still valued at $200 million. Regardless, $200 million in net worth is not a failure. Andrew Mason still holds the title of becoming a billionaire faster than almost anyone in history, even if he did not remain one. It is still an inspiring success story worthy of study!
(Here is the story of Andrew Mason as it originally appeared)
From musical obscurity to Billionaire- Faster than anyone in history!
If you have not heard the name Andrew Mason before, don't worry, neither have most Americans. But the 29 year old Pennsylvania native is fast becoming one of the wealthiest people in America, and he is doing it faster than almost anyone in history. Mason’s focus on “collective action” in the marketplace would drive his wealth creation.
Even Google wanted to be involved in Mason’s money making ideas
The online company that Mason founded in November of 2008, Groupon, is expected to hit a billion dollars in sales faster than any other company- at least in American history. And at the age of 29 years old Mason has the distinction of turning down a buyout offer from Google Inc. in the amount of 6 Billion. It would have been one of Google's largest Acquisitions to date.
So just who is Andrew Mason and how did he suddenly, almost out of nowhere, become one of the wealthiest 20 something year olds in the country? Mason is originally from Mt. Lebanon Pennsylvania where at the age of 15 he launched his first foray into the business world: A Saturday morning bagel delivery service.
From Music to Internet Millions- How to make real money
After high school Mason moved to Chicago to pursue a degree in music from North Western University graduating in 2002. So what about that music degree? Mason states on his company website that "the uselessness of which served as chief inspiration not to be useless."
After college Mason began building websites while working weekends at Electrical Audio, a small two story recording studio near downtown Chicago. While Mason's primary duties were managing the setup of equipment, he was not above making sure the studio's clients got their coffee.
For a short time Mason flirted with a master’s program in public policy. But he soon dropped out of school to work full time on the development of a new web platform that would eventually become 'The Point.' The Point was an extension of Mason's interest in public policy, but more specifically the purpose of the platform was to bring together groups of people to accomplish certain goals or "online collective action" as Mason describes it to include fund raising. Mason was able to move forward with the concept after receiving $1 million in seed money from a Chicago entrepreneur for whom he had worked with in the past.
Sometimes good ideas give birth to Million dollar ideas
In the business world it is not uncommon for real success to happen while the entrepreneur is chasing after what was originally a different idea. This is very similar to what happened with The Point, as Groupon was born out of this original platform designed by Mason.
Groupon is a creative variation of a coupon website, but it depends on groups acting collectively, agreeing to purchase a product, before a discount is realized. Essentially a retailer agrees to give a discount on a product, but only if enough people agree to purchase it on a single day, otherwise known as "Deal of the Day." Groupon of course gets a cut of each deal that is reached between the retailer and a group of buyers.
Groupon is set up to serve customers regionally or by market areas. The website currently covers approximately 150 market areas in North America and about 100 additional markets in Europe, Asia and South America and boasts about 35 million subscribers. Groupon's customer base tends to be young- educated women, therefore many of their offers center around health, fitness and beauty markets. Revenue from the site is expected to hit $350 million in 2010 and the site is already estimated to be worth 1.2 Billion dollars.
Billion dollar business in 2 years-Fastest way to make money
So just what kind of a person launches a billion dollar business in 2 short years? If you think Mason is all serious all the time you would be mistaken. He has been described as a "prankster" who devotes a portion of his office to a completely fictitious character, and has even made up a holiday called Grouponicus...... Nothing wrong with being a little creative!
Ways to make money- Talking points
Failure is part of success. Virtually every millionaire business owner or inventor has experienced failure before they were successful. History is full of people who had multiple business failures early in life only to succeed later in live and become millionaires or even billionaires.
[See what I learned when I read and analyzed the top 20 Google search results for the phrase "How to get rich."]
Don’t count Andrew Mason out. It will be interesting to see what he does next. By focusing on collective action in the marketplace Mason was able to provide a valuable service to millions of people, making him a Billionaire; Even if it was just for a few short years.