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Groupon founder relishes bizarre bon mots

Wailin Wong Chicago Tribune

Few CEOs have mastered off-kilter elocution like Andrew Mason. On Groupon’s website, he even claims to be the author of a book called “Unleash the Power Within the Power Within: Self Help For Self Helpers.”

Here are some of his real-life gems.

• To on hot and not-so-hot deals, June 2009: “Our least popular deal was a live lobster delivery service for $75 – only sold about 15 of those. I think it’s because we were confused and positioned them as pets, not food. But we still feel great about that deal; a Skokie resident e-mailed to let us know that she can’t imagine life without her new lobster companions.”

• In a company news release about opening a Silicon Valley office, May 2010: “Now there is no excuse to not work for us. And Chicago is still super cool. Did you know that we have the world’s largest water-filtration plant? Great city, can’t understand why people wouldn’t want to move here, but whatever – now we’re in the Valley too.”

• To the Chicago Tribune, on his planned presentation at Allen & Co.’s annual forum in Sun Valley, Idaho, July 2010: “I plan to hold my breath underwater for 18 minutes – which is especially impressive when you consider that my presentation is only 15 minutes long.”

• On CNBC, on whether he owns 20 cats, August 2010: “No. Most CEOs will make stuff up about themselves to sound way smarter and cooler, and people are disappointed to find out otherwise. I decided to set the bar very low and make up lies about myself that make me sound lame.”

• To Silicon Valley Insider, on more rumors of Yahoo buying Groupon, November 2010: “I totally was going to comment except the way you asked for my comment suggested that maybe I shouldn’t and I didn’t want to let you down so I decided not to comment.”

• To The New York Times, on whether he would grant an interview about the acquisition rumors, November 2010: “Only if you want to talk about my other passion, building miniature dollhouses.”

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