In late 2010, Andrew Mason told the New York Times that he wouldn’t discuss a possible Google-Groupon deal, but said that he would “talk about my other passion, building miniature dollhouses.”
The Times apparently wasn’t interested, but Fortune magazine’s Dan Primack was ready to go.
“I figured it was worth a follow-up,” he wrote on Dec. 1, 2010, just after the Times piece ran. “So I e-mailed Mason to chat miniature dollhouses, knowing full well that there is virtually no chance that his comment was anything other than sardonic. No reply yet, but I’ll be sure to let you know if that changes.”
Last Friday – the day after Mason resigned as Groupon CEO – I asked Primack if he ever got around to chatting about dollhouses. He emailed:
My memory is that Andrew never replied. If they sent something, it never got to me (nor did anyone at Fortune mention it to me). I remember that I spent 30 minutes learning the basics [of miniature dollhouses], on the off chance he did ring.
I was curious because Daniel Kibblesmith, one of Mason’s writers, disclosed last Friday that the dollhouse inquiry was “my favorite writing assignment I ever got from Andrew Mason.” He also posted the “never-before-printed responses from Andrew Mason to Fortune Magazine on the subject of Miniature Dollhouses.”
I asked Kibblesmith about this. He wrote in an email:
I was never in contact with Primack. Andrew contacted me about crafting his responses. I believe the interview never ran, but I’m not sure whose decision that was or why.
Hmmmm. That got me wondering if Kibblesmith also wrote — or helped write — Mason’s last note to his employees, which the Chicago Tribune called “the gold standard for farewell letters.” (Policymic.com said it was “hilarious and touching,” while a Washington Post headline dubbed it the “best resignation letter ever.”)
No, said Groupon spokeswoman Julie Mossler, “it was all Andrew. For something that personal, it was important that he write it himself.”
I reminded her that Mason does — or did — have a team of humor writers and that it wouldn’t be surprising if he tapped them for a line or two. (Mossler talked to the Wall Street Journal about these Groupon funny guys in 2010.)
“It was totally written by Andrew,” she repeated. Kibblesmith said the same: “The resignation letter was all Andrew.”
* Kibblesmith: The best writing assignment I got from Andrew Mason (kibblesmith.tumblr.com)
* Dan Primack: OK Andrew, let’s talk miniature dollhouses (fortune.cnn.com)
* Groupon’s humor blitz (blogs.wsj.com)