Headline, August28, 2013

''' THE ! GROUPON !! -GAME '''

Just no denying the fact that while e-commerce sites like Amazon and eBay have absolutely thrived in the Internet age, it turns out that people still spend the vast majority of their disposable income on stuff that can't be shipped in boxes. 

In a good and factual  view, every year Americans spend more than $300 billion on  -''eating out''-  (staggering figure)!!?   
-$380 billion on recreational activities,  - and another $100 billion on personal care services!!!
Some -Great-  country this, America! Truly, God's own     I dare confess!!   

Somehow and someway, one very bright lad, armed himself with an insight that turned the world and wheel of commerce differently when he understood these figures and reckoned how he could bring them in to a leveraged play. And he did just that by forming a company called Groupon.

At its most basic level,  -Groupon is a local advertising company for the Digital Age. Over the years, small businesses have had a notoriously tough time acquiring new customers, relying primarily on ads in newspapers and Yellow Pages, on the radio, and online. The trouble is that they're never quite sure if these placements are working.

Andrew Mason loves explaining how he exploded the age-old model. ''So Groupon comes along and for the first time merchants are able to get customers in the door without the risk of putting money up front, and for much lower cost of customer acquisition than anything else.''

Groupon deals can be irresistible to customers. The merchants typically agree to discount a product or service by  50 to 90 percent, Groupon then sells the coupons via its e-mail distribution list. Usually a minimum number of people have to buy the offer before the deal  ''tips'' and becomes redeemable. 

Groupon and the merchant and then split the revenue from the deal 50 - 50. They both keep the money even if the customer never redeems the voucher. An estimated 20 percent of Groupons don't get used, which amounts to free revenue for local merchants.

Let me enumerate that somewhat more. Some time back, in the Chicago area, Groupon offered a deal  to its subscribers for 92 percent off personal-fitness classes at a gym. For $29, customers could get 20 passes to the gym and one personal-training session, a deal normally worth $350. The tipping point for this offer, set by Groupon's customer-service reps in consultation with the gym was 100. 

Once that many customers had committed to the deal, their credit cards were charged, and their memberships were redeemable. More than 1000 people bought the deal and had a window of six months to redeem it.      

As a teenager Mason launched a bagel delivery venture   -buying bagels at 40% discount and charging his customers full price, plus a delivery fee. Every Saturday morning he'd pick up the bagels, load them into Radio Flyer wagon, and make his deliveries.

In 1999, Mason moved to Chicago's North Shore to attend Northwestern University, where he studied music. Mason, a pianist from a young age, says that he wanted to pursue his dream of becoming a rock star. In his downtime he taught himself computer programming.

While at Northwestern he interned at a recording studio run by Steve Albini, a producer who has worked with the Pixies and Nirvana. Many of Mason's ideas, Albini says, ''seemed sort of preposterous on first blush, but he can very quickly abandon a bad idea and pick up a good idea without being interrupted by inertia. He's one of the most nimble thinkers I've run into.''

Mason graduated from college in 2003 without a clear plan. He took a job at a Software developer at   InnerWorkings, where he met Eric Lefkofsky, a prominent Chicago Investor and businessman. Lefkofsky immediately identified Mason as preternaturally hard worker. ''He was here morning, noon, and night,'' he recalls.

In 2006, Mason landed a scholarship at the University of Chicago's school of public policy to develop  an Internet site he had created that mapped out policy arguments on issues ranging from the war in Iraq to School Security reform. 

In graduate school he began working on new fund-raising and social-action Web site based on the concept of  ''tipping point''. He got the idea after he became annoyed at having to pay a  $150 early termination fee to his cell-phone provider : ''I was like,  This is bullshit. How is this allowed to happen? And it seemed like everybody felt the same way.''
The idea caught the eye of Lefkofsky, Mason's former boss at InnerWorkings.

''There was  almost nothing like it on the Web,'' Lefkofsky says. He offered $ 1 million to develop the site.
Mason took the money and ''dropped out of graduate school''. He then developed what became known as the Point, a Web site aimed at converting a shared problem into action. His slogan was 
''Make something happen. More than a petition. Better than a Fundraiser!''

''I'd always thought with the Point that I'm going for the big win and Changing the World,'' Mason muses.

Right On! 
Here is your Grade from !WOW!  : Five Stars, from the whole world!

This unique Tale and Post continues. 
With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of Saudi Arabia. See ya all on the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless : '' The Dynamo ''

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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