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The Usability Blog
A Practical Guide to User Experience Insights

A lesson in Andrew Mason’s firing

March 1 saw Groupon’s founder and CEO Andrew Mason fired. He tweeted a very humble farewell letter, within which was a piece of advice to his colleagues. Here’s what he wrote: “If there’s one piece of wisdom that this simple pilgrim would like to impart upon you: Have the courage to start with the customer. My biggest regrets are the moments that I let a lack of data override my intuition on what’s best for our customers.” This, I believe, is perhaps a more common problem that is widely acknowledged. Few enterprise-level companies these days lack data about their customers. To the contrary, most of them are awash with data and drowning in it. What they lack is timely, relevant data. This is the problem our WA(RP) page-tagging technology helps address. Customers, especially those of pure-play e-commerce or multi-channel retailers, arrive at their websites in the millions. Their relationship and behavior qualifies them to answer many of the questions that people like Andrew Mason would like to have had answered. The time required to deploy quick, targeted surveys on major websites, however, often makes the data (the answers) obsolete before it can be collected. This is because the IT department typically has a backlog of projects running months behind and it requires divine intervention to get a simple survey inserted into the appropriate pages. So the questions remain unasked. Decisions that would have been made with greater confidence (and presumably much greater effect) had customer feedback been available, become little more than guesses. WA(RP), once installed, removes the IT department from the process, leaving the marketers or the researchers — or even someone like Andrew Mason — free to ask questions of whomever they please whenever the need arises. Perhaps we can sell WA(RP) to Mr. Mason’s successor.

-Roger Beynon, CSO, Usability Sciences Corporation

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