Sing it with us! "Now I'm a trumpeter of Joseph Schumpeter/I'm a disruptor! I'm a disruptor!"
For years, Philippe Kahn was our most celebrated software mogul/recording artist. Now we have Andrew Mason, former CEO of Groupon, who last month released an album of business-themed songs titled “Hardly Workin.” Given Mason’s recent experiences, including being named Worst CEO of the Year by CNBC in 2012 and his firing a few months later, you’d expect something in the tarnished troubadour mode of Tom Waits. Instead, the album is sincere, upbeat, and instructive: kind of Bob Seger meets Fraggle Rock.
Aimed at young people new to the workforce and raised on an irony-free diet, Mason’s songs are full of earnest advice. In “Rise Above the Pack,” he counsels someone on the first day of employee orientation: “Always do what you say you’re going to do/Don’t bring people problems; bring them solutions/Yeah, with self confidence and humility/you’ll ask for and receive the feedback you need.” In ”My Door Is Always Open,” Mason croons with a Muppet-voiced underling:
Underling: How can you make time for someone like me?/My problems are very small
Boss: Where do you think good ideas be coming from?
Underling: From people like me who bring them to your door
A colleague suggests the album is, in fact, a brilliant piece of Andy Kaufman-style performance art. I prefer to take Mason at his word, that he wants to educate and motivate. The album certainly motivated me--to write my own management song. My daughter, Emma, set it to music and recorded it (complaining all the while that by doing so she was selling out).
You can find the recording here. The lyrics are below.
The Disruption Song
When I was young I thought so small
Change came in baby steps or not at all
I tweaked my label, added colors and sizes
My customers starved without delight or surprises
Yeah I was young with no ambition
Knew I had a company but not a mission
I learned the lie behind new and improved
The public can’t be satisfied it’s gotta be moved
Now I’m a trumpeter of Joseph Schumpeter
I’m the mission man for Clayton Christensen
I’m a disrupter! I’m a disrupter!
Things are never gonna be the same
I’m a little guy with a king-sized goal
Innovation is the engine that powers my soul
I’ll change my sourcing and the means of production