Cat Drawing Guy on ABC's Shark Tank

At Groupon, we pride ourselves on giving our customers the inside scoop on the best local restaurants, unique adventures, and newest trends. We know a good thing when we see it–that’s why we’re extra excited to see former featured Groupon merchant and creator of “I Want To Draw a Cat For You“, Steve Gadlin, on ABC’s Shark Tank. Not only did he appear on the program, but he walked away with Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, as a business partner by the end of it!

When Steve first contacted us we fell in love with his unique idea, dance moves, and knew our customers would equally enjoy his creative approach to these personalized gifts. Says Steve:

Using Groupon was amazing for my company – it brought me invaluable exposure, and opened me up to a whole new audience. Some of my best returning customers were introduced to my stick figure cats through Groupon – I’ll definitely try to partner with them on future products and promotions!

After a successful run with Groupon, Steve set out to conquer even bigger audiences. Now Chicago’s favorite cat drawing guy has made it into America’s hearts and living rooms by appearing on ABC’s Shark Tank. After pitching his business idea to a panel of celebrity investors he won them over with I Want To Draw a Cat For You.

Being on Shark Tank was such an incredible experience. I assumed I was there for comic relief, but was delighted to walk out with a deal. I hardly have enough time to process – I’ve got a whole mess of stick-figure cats to draw!

If you’d like a personalized drawing, click here to order a cat drawing of your very own. Good luck, Steve! We’re glad we jumped on the catwagon when we did and wish you continued success!

#TEAMCARL Wins!

Daniel, the Groupon employee participating in the “Walk of Shameless” challenge for charity, walked with Team Carl for five days. You rallied, you tweeted, you tuned in to your televisions. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, Team Carl won the competition! They will split the grand prize of $50,000 and earned $13,600 for their charity, The ALS Development Institute. We asked Daniel about his time on the treadmill:

Tell us about your experience!

The experience itself was almost surreal. I never thought in a million years we would get picked to compete, much less win it. We put everything we had into this competition for five days straight and raised an unprecedented amount of buzz and support for ALS. It is quite amazing to see the effect you have when you really reach out to people and humbling to see how many were willing to show their support and spread the word.

What was the toughest part?

The hardest part was keeping all our followers/supporters engaged and voting throughout the entire competition. It was easy to spark interest the first few days through social media, but you can only send out so many emails and so many tweets about the same thing before people start to disconnect. We were constantly trying to come up with creative ways to get our message out and engage supporters. (Also, walking while simultaneously typing on an iPad and talking on the phone is quite a challenge!)

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Friday's Microwave Theater

Groupon culture will now be captured on one of the oldest forms of technology: The Cam

The Lunch Cam made its first appearance last Friday. Decked out in green curtains, the Lunch Cam captured the gritty, real-life drama of Groupon employees’ habitual grazing hour. Riveting highlights included spilled soup, homemade autumn leaf pasta mixed with a spicy arrabiata sauce, scallops, calamari, and shrimp, and a suspenseful two minutes with a double-nuked bag of microwave popcorn.

Thanks for tuning in, viewers. Let us know what else you’d like to see!

Winter Biking at Groupon

Tomorrow is Winter Bike to Work Day in Chicago. Our city’s weather has been relatively kind to us this year, postponing the inevitable snow dump until…Well, we don’t want to jinx it and get too cocky. Last year’s blizzard kept us shoveling for months.

From the Active Transportation Alliance website:

Winter Bike to Work Day takes place on Jan. 20, the 27th anniversary of Chicago’s coldest day, when the official temperature at O’Hare International Airport was 27 degrees below zero.

There are several brave souls at Groupon who continue to commute regardless of the elements. They don their helmets, gloves, second pair of gloves, tights, other tights, booties, balaclavas, two sets of socks, layered shirts, and waterproof windbreakers to head out on the open roads throughout the winter months.

To make this post personal for a moment, I looked like this the other week and thawed at my desk after the windchill clocked in at 6 degrees. Yes, my toes were cold. Yes, I looked like a spelunking enthusiast. But it’s a faster commute, exercise, and until the snow remembers it’s supposed to make a heavy appearance, I’ll be cycling. Some will even be cycling through that snow, but they have super powers and can shoot lasers out of their eyes.

Other bike commuters in the office offered these winter-cycling tips:

Patty: If you don’t have booties, or even if you do, plastic bags over your socks is a good way to keep your feet dry.

Marne: Just a warning–With the plows pulling stuff from the depths of the gutter into the bike lanes, flats might be more likely.

Kelsey: Lights and reflective gear. It gets dark earlier and cars are not as used to watching for cyclists in the winter.

Are you planning on riding through the winter? What’s your winter routine?

 

Support #TEAMCARL for Walk of Shameless

Other than G-Team, our employees take it upon themselves to perform random acts of kindness outside of the office as well. Daniel was picked to compete in Showtime’s “Walk of Shameless” (STARTING TODAY!) and will be battling against others to raise money for a charity of his choice.

Please introduce yourself and tell us what you do at Groupon. GO!

Hi, my name is Daniel Usem and I am from Mendota Heights, MN. I am a Groupon Now! sales rep for the city of Boston.

What have you gotten yourself into, sir?

We are going to be walking on a treadmill from 8 AM to 8 PM for five days straight. Each team consists of three people. One person from your team must be walking at all times. Throughout the entire competition they will also be asking us Shameless trivia questions and if you get one wrong they bump up the speed on the treadmill for the next 60 minutes. Also, with each passing day they will be bumping up the incline on the treadmill by 1.0 so by the fifth day the incline will be up to 5.0! This could get real interesting real fast, so stay tuned!

What can we do to help?

The main reason we’re doing this is to raise money and awareness for ALS research. One of my camp counselors and good friends was diagnosed with the disease at the young age of 24. We are committed to bringing awareness to ALS through fundraising for the premiere organization solely dedicated to research and a cure. That organization is ALS-TDI, or the ALS Therapy Development Institute. To show your support you can check out the “Walk of Shameless” website and tweet on our behalf using the hashtag #TEAMCARL, or text “CARL” to the number 74688. You can also show your support by donating directly to the institute!

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Featured Merchant of the Week: The Massage & Day Spa

The only thing better than receiving a relaxing massage may be getting it at half price. Today’s Featured Merchant is Neil Barakat owner of The Massage & Day Spa in Chicago.


As a massage therapist himself, Neil was excited to open his own business and get to work. What he didn’t expect was not bringing in enough customers to keep himself and his four massage therapists busy. Click through to learn how Groupon Now! helped Neil spend less time worrying about marketing and more time focusing on his customers.

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Behind the Deals: Accounting Department Meeting Minutes

Groupon holds thousands of meetings every day to discuss everything from company operations to strategies for making time for more meetings. Here are the official minutes from a recent meeting of our accounting department:

**9 a.m.** CFO calls meeting to order.

**9:05 a.m.** Jacob G. makes a motion for everyone to put away their Tamagotchis until meeting is over because he “can’t hear himself think over all the beeping.”

**9:06 a.m.** Motion rejected.

**9:07 a.m.** Fiscal earnings discussed.

**9:15 a.m.** Baird D. makes motion to repeat fiscal earnings discussion because he was not listening, but it was not his fault because he was very hungry.

**9:20 a.m.** Jacob G. can’t remember what he said, makes motion to abandon discussion.

**9:21 a.m.** Tamra L. makes motion to abandon Jacob G.

**9:21 a.m.** General laughter.

**9:22 a.m.** Tension silently mounts toward Jacob G.

**9:28 a.m.** Grey A. experiences a fleeting moment of extreme self-loathing. Nancy E. looks forward to humming to herself in the bathroom later.

**9:30 a.m.** Jacob G. makes motion to halve company zoology budget in order to get new printers.

**9:32 a.m.** Motion rejected.

**9:34 a.m.** Everyone spends one full minute coughing.

**9:36 a.m.** Jacob G. suggests that “everyone chill out.”

**9:36 a.m.** Mounting tension breaks into hand-to-hand combat.

**10:12 a.m.** Jacob G. badly injured, Tamra L. crowned president of the accounting department.

**10:15 a.m.** Bagel feast.

 

Clicky, The Clickable Value-Wheel

Groupon Announces New Promotional Marketing Instrument – Clicky, The Clickable Value-Wheel

We’re excited to be a part of the launch of Clicky, the Clickable Value-Wheel which gives users the opportunity to potentially score a discount on select Groupons by the simple act of spinning a wheel! Clicky was designed to provide momentary distraction and meet the minimum threshold of amusement necessary for users to share Clicky, the Clickable Value-Wheel through social media channels, thereby virally spreading Groupon and increasing its number of active customers.

Before I go further, check out this behind-the-scenes video about Clicky’s origin:

We want to let users know that the chances of winning are slim, but not impossible. As with many online computer games, the win ratio was determined to ensure that the lifetime value of the new customers attracted to Groupon by Clicky, the Clickable Value-Wheel will be greater than the total cost of the program, thus making the program a practical and sustainable investment for Groupon. And since spinning is moderately enjoyable, every user of Clicky, the Clickable Value-Wheel is a winner – metaphorically. Literally, most people will not win anything.

Clicky, the Clickable Value-Wheel, is one of several potential marketing instruments Groupon has and will continue to test over time, some of which will be successful while others will not.  Continuously experimenting with new marketing mechanisms is an important part of the growth of any company.

For full terms of the game, visit http://www.groupon.com/pages/clicky-terms.

Let us know what you think!

Naveen Koorakula and Sakina Arsiwala

Directors, Groupon Social


Honeymooning with Groupon

Congratulations to our guest-author, Rachel, a details writer at Groupon and recent newlywed!

My husband and I love Groupon—it inspires our date nights and helps us find favorite places near our new apartment. Also, after I work there all day, Groupon the Cat signs my paychecks with an inky paw-swipe. So it fit that as we searched for our honeymoon destination, we began browsing the Groupon Getaways e-mails as they materialized in a puff of sunset-colored smoke each Tuesday. That’s how we ended up in sunny San Antonio, lounging by the heated pool of the Riverwalk Plaza Hotel & Suites as we chortled with glee over saving a cool 46 percent on our boutique hotel (and at swimming in December—probably illegal where we live in Chicago).

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Behind the Deals: Groupon’s Executive Team

Like an expedition to the frozen north, every innovative company is guided by an intrepid band of rugged adventurers specializing in different but vital aspects of leadership. Here’s a look at the management team of Groupon:

**Andrew Mason, CEO (Chief Executive Officer):** Andrew, Groupon’s founder and principal tailor of all company-related jumpsuits, uses his inner astrolabe to guide our company to the safe harbor of business excellence.

**Gil Carton, CFO (Chief Feared Occultist):** Like every Internet company, Groupon harnesses the power of the dark arts to make sure our computer servers remain operational. Dressed always in crimson robes, Gil sends haunting rumbles through the hallways with his voice, an unsettling mix of ancient Sumerian and good-natured giggles.

**Smiler, VP (Venomous Panda):** Bred by our underground bioengineering department, Smiler possesses blood that has been replaced with a searing acid that the oft-seething bear is only too eager to spit on Groupon’s enemies. Kids love him.

**Androo Mayson, SIC (Scarecrow in Chief):** Made of straw and dressed in Andrew Mason’s soiled overalls, this lifeless doppelganger makes public appearances when the real Andrew Mason is busy hibernating in his Dream Tent.

**You?!, PRT (Person Reading This):** The real power at Groupon lies not with our executive team but with our customers. Specifically, we’re looking for someone whose blood can help provide the antidote for Smiler’s venom. He’s being really angry and terrifying lately.