“If you’re seeking business wisdom/ You don’t need no MBA/ Look no further than the beauty / That surrounds us everyday.”
Thus begins former Groupon chief executive officer Andrew Mason’s seven-track album Hardly Workin’, released Tuesday on iTunes and Spotify. The roughly half-hour long record, which Mason described on Twitter as “motivational business music,” is a combination of wisdom the former CEO absorbed while running the online coupon empire and the occasional riff on more conventional music themes, like personal fears and insecurities (albeit taking place against the backdrop of an employee orientation.)
“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,” Mr. Mason writes on his blog. “Executives, mid-level management, and front-line employees are all sure to find valuable takeaways.”
“The Way to Work,” though ostensibly about one’s professional journey, is also, quite literally, about driving to work – complete with references to actual intersections (specifically State and Chicago, in the vicinity of Groupon’s Chicago headquarters.) “My Door Is Always Open” is a first-person managerial lullaby of sorts, beckoning troubled employees who might be feeling “small, like one in a million” to open up to their supervisor.
“K.I.S.S.,” the title of a horn-infused track, turns out to stand for the leadership cliche “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” and notes, “The best things in life are clear without instructions/If you’ve got to explain it your plan needs reductions.”
Mr. Mason’s offering is less Who Moved My Cheese? than a collection of observations that happen to rhyme about having a job. Each track is vastly different in style and production from the one before, and at times a listener might find themself wondering if Randy Newman is singing to them about project management, or why the Pet Shop Boys want them to try new methods for increasing productivity.
But, Mr. Mason cautions managers who want to utilize the album effectively, “Context is king.”
“Try ending your next all-hands meeting with ‘It’s Up to Us,’ for example,” he says. ” 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.”
If you’re actually considering shelling out the $9.99 iTunes is charging for Hardly Workin’ you might want to wait to see if Groupon makes it available at a discount.