Tuesday, February 22, 2011

GROUPON. COM

Oh no! Oh YES! There's a new social network!

So, what's that famous painting by Michelangelo doing here?

Want to buy 10, 20, maybe 50 exquisitely rendered prints at a bargain price? Don't you love bargains? Don't you want new friends, successful fat-cat, moneyed pals?

Groupon. com, is now two-years-old, and probably hitting $1 billion in sales. Groupon promotes low price, local deals such as restaurant coupons, as well as higher priced deals -- like buying art work prints, or getting a Mercedes-Benz dealer to sell cars, with a big discount. A Groupon member dealer in China took 20% off the price of cars that retailed for $23,000 -- in 4 hours 205 customers bought cars.

In the U.S., Groupon got a deal going on Lasik, corrective-vision surgery -- got a group of members buying Lasik surgery for $3,250. (The usual prices for the surgery is $5000.)

That's it, folks -- the newest new thing. You join Groupon because it can get you discounts on goods and services, if a group of Groupon members agrees to buy the deal. Groupon deals are emailed to you each day. No matter what you want -- just about anything is available in the 500 cities and 35 countries where Groupon is now operating.

Yep, you get a bargain. Yes, the seller gets income from its new customers. And ohh yes, Groupon takes a cut.

Groupon's founder and CEO, Andrew Mason, has the look -- the flat, blank stare -- of a slightly bored kid. Nothing about Mason seems extra alert, except maybe his fingers, which, to my eye, look ... well, there's tension in them, his fingers look alert.

The company is booming. It's hiring 100 employees each month. Mason declares, nonchalantly, that he has better ideas than Groupon. "To me, as somebody who likes to come up with ideas, it's kind of stupid," he explains. "Like, I've had way better ideas, way cooler ideas."

"Cooler!" Damn word still doesn't mean to me what it means to everyone else nowadays. Most escapees from the older generation, who never before used "cool" to denote excellence, have joined the "cool" club. Not I. The only time I use "cool" is in regard to the weather.

Anyhow, Andrew Mason is being watched, admired by Forbes, by investment experts, Silicon Valley shrewdsters, and big God-o Google tried to buy Groupon for $6 billion. Yep, "bill,: not "mill," but Mason said no -- he's seeing more cool, cooler money coming his way.

Are you interested? I am not. Again and again I realize what most people want -- more than anything in life -- is money. Money is success. Money is freedom. Money is IT!

Um hmm, but money can't buy you, get you, win you the inner whoopee of "I DONE DID IT!"

Musicians know what I'm talking about -- the DO RE ME FA SO LA TI DO.

Okay, painters, writers, choreographers make something. But it gets involved with selling, so the DONE art sits, and isn't seen, or used unless it's art in the Sistine Chapel.
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It's your life. What do you want? Is it money or art? And don't ask me "what is art?" You'll know it when you do it.

I VOTE FOR ART.

1 comment:

Carolyn Kalmus said...

Amazing that your topic today is Groupon as I just saw a magnificent exhibit at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of art this afternoon thanks to Groupon's cut-rate ticket offer. Instead of paying $20 per ticket, we were able to buy 2 tickets for $25. Such a deal! Neither of us had previously availed ourselves of a Groupon bargain...but after a thrilling afternoon at the museum we'll definitely be checking Groupon for other local deals. (BTW, the exhibit, entitled "Vatican Splendors: A Journey through Faith and Art", featured approximately 200 works of art and historically significant objects, many of which have never before left the Vatican.)

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