The real deal with Groupon

(Activity shared by Rocío Alvarez. Thanks Ro!!!)

Before you watch

Vocabulary Work: Discounts and price reductions

Match the expressions with their definitions

1.      discount (noun)
2.      special offer (noun)
3.      cash discount (noun)
4.      on offer (expression)
5.      off (adjective, adverb, preposition) 
6.      on sale (expression)
7.      economies of scale (noun) 

a.       available for people to buy at a price that is less than the usual price. The British expression is on offer.
b.      used for saying that a price has been reduced by a particular amount
c.       a reduction in the price of something that is offered if you pay the full amount immediately in cash.
d.      a low price that a shop offer for a short period of time
e.       a reduction in the price of something
f.        being sold for a lower price for a short time
g.       reductions in the cost of making and selling products that are made possible because a business is very large.

  •  What kind of discounts do you usually get?
  • Do you usually take advantage of special offers? If so, when was the last time? What did you get?
  • How do you usually find out about the current discounts?
  • Have you ever used GROUPON? Do you know how it works?
Links to online video: 

After you watch

What was the video about? Use the mind map to help you and also add more information to it.

Language work

ü  Look at the extracts from the video and put the verbs in the right form

1)      If we ___________ (be) smart, evil people, we ________________ (be) more cunning and subtle in our evil ways.
2)      Analysts began _______________ (call) Groupon "unviable," "a Ponzi scheme," and wondered if any grownups were minding the store.
3)      I ________________ (check) it once yesterday afternoon. And then, I felt dirty and I __________________ (not check) it again since then.
4)      ________________________ (Groupon become) part of our lives like Google and Amazon?
5)      The company began in 2008, when everyone _________________ (look) for a bargain.
6)      Groupon ended up ________________ (have) a wildly successful opening day trading on Nasdaq as a public company.

ü  Complete the sentences with other, another, the other, others, the others.

1)      Is Groupon the next Amazon or ________________ MySpace?
2)      There are 500 ________________ competitors out there that all want to do and be Groupon.
3)      Can you name ________________ CEO with a demo on YouTube in which you're sitting around in front of a Christmas tree doing yoga?
4)      Am I as experienced or mature or smart as ________________ CEOs?
5)      …when you enter their offices and there's the Forbes cover. But it's surrounded by ________________ covers of hi-tech has-beens.
6)      Amazon is getting into this business. ________________ are getting into this business -

Look at these expressions in context, do you know what they mean?

  • “The company took off, almost overnight. It's global now…”
  • “The answer depends in part on the 31-year-old who came up with the idea”
  • “The company began in 2008 at the height of the recession, when everyone was looking for a bargain and then it grew so quickly, so fast it took everyone by surprise.”
  • “Groupon looks like a real business. Where most websites rely on algorithms, Groupon relies on actual human beings.”
  • “What these human beings, the salespeople, do is think up deal ideas…”
  • “Groupon has found out by trial and error how to present its deals.”
  • “Now Groupon is tailoring its offers by age and gender.”
  • “Four hundred writers and editors - more than most newsrooms - come up with hundreds of these pitches a day, with twists of phrases and logic…”
  • “The loopy write-ups give Groupon its personality, which seems to seep down from the very top.”
  • “Andrew Mason is known as a little whacky himself. As a gag, his executive washroom is a port-o-potty.”
  • “…with a demo on YouTube in which you're sitting around in front of a Christmas tree in your skivvies doing yoga?”
  • “And his urge to be goofy makes him one of the most unlikely corporate CEOs you'll ever meet.”
  • “…it's that I've been unwilling to change myself or shape my personality around what's expected.”
  • “But it's surrounded by other covers of hi-tech has-beens, as if they're asking themselves: "Could we be the next to fall by the wayside?”
  • “…the biggest downside is how easy the model is to replicate.”
  • “But what Andrew Mason will tell you is that so far, they've killed them all off.”
  • “…they spend more money than they take in on such things as wooing new subscribers and…”
  • “…but with the steep markdowns, she lost $20,000.”
  • “Analysts began calling Groupon "unviable," "a Ponzi scheme," and wondered if any grownups were minding the store.”
  • “It looked as though something was fishy.”
  • “…it seemed like a bush-league mistake.”
  • “…we would be more cunning and subtle in our evil ways. You know?”
  • “But his impatience drove him to do something that drew the wrath of the regulators”
  • “Here's some of the adjectives that were used to describe you when that memo leaked: Thin-skinned, impetuous and childish.”

Video glossary:
Fad: a style or activity that suddenly becomes popular but which usually does not stay popular for very long
Overnight: for or during the night
IPO: initial public offering: the first sale of a company's shares to the public
Came up with: to suggest or think of an idea or plan
Bargain: something sold for a price that is lower than usual or lower than its value
Rely on: to depend on or trust someone or something
Think up: to invent a plan or solution
Trial and error: a way of achieving an aim or solving a problem by trying different methods and learning from your mistakes