By Sarah McBride in Palos Verdes
Once he got entrepreneurial, Groupon founder and CEO Andrew Mason had to change his stance on copycatting. What he once considered plagiarism – after a few years in the wild and woolly world of business – he now considers fair game. Sorta.
“They call it competition,” he told conference-goers at All Things Digital in Rancho Palos Verdes.
These days, “I’m used to it. I’m on board,” he said without enthusiasm, while the audience laughed. (Groupon’s online-deal competitors include Living Social.)
The music student-turned-Web entrepreneur also shot interviewer Kara Swisher a series of increasingly stoney looks as she probed insistently about a possible IPO for Groupon, before finally warning her off with the deadpan comment “awkward”.
Mason can afford to be cavalier about many things these days. A Web and consumer phenom, Groupon has the wherewithal to continue growing at a breakneck pace while fending off suitors — it reportedly told Google and its $6 billion takeover offer to shove off. The company is now rocketing toward what would be, when it finally comes to pass, one of the Internet world’s most-anticipated IPOs.