Song Of The Day 7/22/2013: Andrew Mason - "My Door Is Always Open"


Perhaps you are familiar with the story of Andrew Mason, the founder of Groupon who was fired from the company -- the company he founded -- last February. This came after a severe devaluation of the corporation under Mason's watch, during which he had a flair for practical jokes. More than a "flair," actually. This was a guy who reportedly used to walk the halls of Groupon in a tutu. He once bought a spotted pony as a gift to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's daughter, unaware that she had just previously suffered injuries in a horse-riding incident. (Groupon staffers managed to stop the gift exchange before it happened.) He did an interview with a respected tech journalist in which, when she asked a question he didn't want to answer, he simulated having an aneurysm. He took an apprenticeship at a sushi restaurant in the name of research, which you just don't do at sushi restaurants. Ever. I mean it. Nobody but trained experts touches my tuna roll, dawg.

So anyway, Mason got fired, and since then Groupon's stock value doubled. But Mason kept busy in the aftermath. As all disgraced corporate types do, he picked himself up, dusted himself off, and confidently and determinedly -- recorded a soft rock album.

Not just a soft rock album: a "motivational business music" album. According to his blog:
I managed over 12,000 people at Groupon, most under the age of 25. One thing that surprised me was that many would arrive at orientation with minimal understanding of basic business wisdom. "Haven't you read any business books? Good to Great? Winning? The One Minute Manager?" I'd ask... I came to realize that there was a real need to present business wisdom in a format that is more accessible to the younger generation. It was with this in mind that I spent a week in LA... recording Hardly Workin', a seven-song album of motivational business music targeted at people newly entering the workforce. These songs will help young people understand some of the ideas that I've found to be a key part of becoming a productive and effective employee.
First of all, it's an EP, not an album. Seven pop-length songs are an EP. Geez.

Second of all, is this a joke? I'm planning on addressing that later, in a separate post. I'll just offer "My Door Is Always Open" as a subject for further review. This is a pop-country duet in which Andrew plays the part of a concerned CEO, singing about how his shy, scared-mouse employee needs to feel free to come to his office and talk to him about their concerns, no matter how small or petty they may feel.

The surprise is who sings the part of the employee. That artistic choice reveals a whole lot, I think, as to whether Mason is pulling off a grand-scale practical joke in the spirit of Andy Kaufman. Well, I just made that statement rather complex, so you probably know what I think. But I'll address it later, after I've gotten my aneurysm out of my system.

(Bonus: I also analyzed parts of this song for Rap Genius, under my paulshrug username.)


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