The Groupon Guide to the "Quiet Period"

At the bottom of each Daily Groupon feature, users can find Groupon the Cat, slouching majestically across a cloud of pure wisdom. Groupon dispenses ancient truisms that still have relevance to our modern lives, as evidenced by today’s entry:

The “Quiet Period” is the time right before a company “goes public,” during which it is legally prohibited from saying anything to the press that may make the company look “good,” “successful,” or “not currently on fire.” During this sensitive time, it is the duty of the press to force the adolescent company through a series of brutal hazing rituals, designed to desensitize it to public criticism. This tough love helps the naively optimistic company to thicken its skin, atrophy its soul, and finally grow up into a real corporation. Here are some traditional hazing rituals you can use to torture companies in a quiet period:

  • Wait until the company is sleeping to smear scream-activated bees on its face. Lesson Learned: Don’t believe your company’s own “buzz.”
  • Photoshop the company’s logo to appear to be shaking hands with James Buchanan, America’s worst president. Lesson Learned: Everything you see or read about a company is true, if it’s on a computer.
  • Use the company’s cell phone to text a vote for the new M&M’s color to be a sickly ashen gray. Lesson Learned: Customers aren’t capable of making their own decisions.
  • Kick sand in the company’s face. Lesson Learned: If the company survives, it’s time to move on to sand’s close relative, powdered glass.
  • Write disparaging articles about the company. Lesson Learned: That’s what they get for trying to be a company.
  • The thing I’m most impressed about regarding this article is that a cat wrote it. Those LOLcats lull one into a false sense of security – they actually have excellent grammar.

  • Seems the media coverage is hitting a sore spot.

    I’m sorry, but even before the bad stories started piling on, I was sitting at lunch with other folks who had survived R1 of the dot com bubble. When I started reading the numbers in your filing to the table, jaws dropped.

    Instead of complaining, what you need to do now is prove the skeptics wrong.

  • Even if “The Company” burns out after a mushroom cloud and decades of radioactivity, Company will be positively remembered for such writings. Keep it human!

  • Never did a Groupon deal that was a disappointment.
    There’s no way to idiot-proof the world……..

  • IPO rules for insiders to cash out big:

    1) Be the current market leader in a fad industry attracting deep pocketed rivals with few barriers to entry, and have a “flexible” business plan.

    …Check

    2) Be massively unprofitable and tell everyone it’s required to rapidly gain market share. Bonus points for concocting new financial metrics which attempt to obscure this.

    …Check

    3) Follow other similar companies that have floated a small amount of stock and gotten absurd valuations (at least temporarily).

    …Check

    4) Pray that common sense doesn’t prevail before putting shares in the hands of the public.

    …Oops

  • You raised 1Bn, and paid out most of it to investors (instead of it going to “international expansion”, as reported at the time). Most previous media reports up until the S1 suggested the company was profitable or close to it. The S1 reveals you lost $450M last year, and $146M in Q1 2011. Your receivable and payables are totally out of whack.

    Now you’re complaining about unfavorable media coverage? This company has been a media darling. Now that it’s numbers have seen the light of day, people are questioning the substance behind the hype. It’s time for GroupOn to put up or shut up. Cute kitties don’t cut it anymore.

  • Most of Groupon’s “press” critique centers on the inability to see how Groupon might possess a defensible position. These criticisms come of course from a number of very bright people who, unlike Groupon’s CEO Andrew Mason, never saw the opportunity in the first place.

    The Cat’s repose is an important icon in this process. Well done Groupon!

  • Resorting to this kind of humor will not make you guys any cooler or hip. Long live ScoutMob and every other free coupon aggregator! You guys showed poor decision-making in your early TV ads, and nothing tells me you are capable of doing anything better. Should have taken the Google money…

  • It’s amazing. Your top execs will cash out and hit the beach. Meanwhile Google analysts will be giving a huge sigh of relief that they didn’t take on the massive losses. Groupon has had more positive press than just about any company EVER in the history of start ups. Now they complain when the truth of their true performance is on display. $713M in revenue and you can’t make a profit? You actually lost $413. OMG! Fire the entire management team!

  • Short Short Short Short….. I can’t wait for this stock to go public and watch as the once ‘fastest growing company ever’ implodes upon itself and become one of the ‘worst investments ever’. The coming IPO for Groupon could very well cause the ‘tech bubble’ to burst if it doesn’t before then and bring new perspective on how people valuate technology companies. Companies like Bankrate that go public with solid financial’s and little hype are good examples of solid investments. Pandora and Linkedin, I Groupon very well loses annually 20x these other companies while executive leadership has already liquidated most of their shares. This IPO is sure to lose money for any investor in the short run, and with little leadership, a poor business model and little hope to show profits, any investment is probably a bad one.

  • The press, bringing you Anthony’s Weiner for 72 days straight.

    When you need real information go to individual blogs, they tend to have a realistic view of the world. (Unless reviewing Duke Nukem Forever of course..)

  • “Should have taken the Google money… ”

    That would have been the ultimate Daily deal. 75% off. Get a $25 Billion company for only $6 Billion.

  • I am short Groupon and am gleefully waiting for the IPO.

    Bubble….burst…sound…

    that is almost a haiku.

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