Groupon’s Stumble – Barrier to Scalability


I wasn’t surprised to see Groupons latest announcement, they have always had a potential fatal flaw for long term Scalability – Barriers To Entry. Their business model is easy to replicate, maybe not by one particular competitor but an aggregate of  thousands. And that’s what’s happening – mass replication. It’s coupons, discounts.

They should’ve taken that $5 billion form Google when it was offered – probably won’t see that valuation again without a major pivot.

They can fix this problem; they could reshape themselves into an defensible winner before it’s too late and they go down the Yahoo path (start out with a spike then descend forever).   @tomnora


Responses: Santa Fe Friends + Cali Friends + +

CEO Succession, early stage, founder, Launch, Scalability, startup CEO, Uncategorized
Responses to my Santa Fe Friends + Cali Friends + + letter. In chronological order.
So you and Rich Murray became friends? how long did he last at NMCC?LOL
Hey Tom Baby!!! Im HERE!!!Patsy

Lets get together soon

Loved this message!
Thank you.
I have some good ones for you to meet.
Can you send more info on your social media (or otherwise) focus?

– Show quoted text –
> * **@tomnora* <>* |
> *@cowlow<>
> * | *LinkedIn <>* *
Tom,Thanks for the thoughtful note. We miss you and look forward to seeing you soon.The NM Green Chamber of Commerce wants a ‘buy local’ app. Does such a thing already exist?Would you be interested (or know someone) in creating it? Alex works with the chamber and I know the folks involved.

Don’t get shot out there.


Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

yeah very good friends. he runs the poker game! Not long with Jarrett. He barely remembers him.
Tom Nora ✆ to MeiMei
show details Sep 16 (3 days ago)
I missed the excitement of the real business world and the water.
I made amazing friends out there and enjoyed small town life very much, but needed to plug back in and wanted to launch a startup here.
New Mexico is a weak startup location – missing many parts and move too slowly. The best of both worlds is to have both, but I can only live in one place at a time.

Napa is probably similar to Santa Fe in many ways, I could see you living there. Hope all is well for you, have a glass of wine for me.

Tom: Congrats on your move, I wish you the best.

Enjoyed our discussions and adventures. Hope we can stay in touch and please let me know when you get back this way.

Best personal regards,


yeah just say when. lunches are pretty open. will you have a car?

Yes I’m interested, building up a strong little team here of app developers. Tell me whom to connect with. 
Also interested in Teres Kids progress. Did u guys get funding yet?

I’m sure 9/11 was a thoughtful day for you. Take care.
Tom,Wow, what a great letter, what a great way to catch us all up on your move.
As someone who still hangs on to her LA area code, I love your new city and consider it still “my city” even though after seven or eight years here,
I have to admit I’m not living there anymore.

I’m going to be out there in early October to attend Indiecade…do you have a free couch?

You should see my paintings!  I am making major progress!

I wish you all the possible best in your new environs and really do hope to stay in touch.

Note my new phone number and I cc’d you on my go-forward email address after I leave EPIC in January.


Big hugs,

Good luck Tom, thanks for staying in touch.
Stephen Hadwin

Hi Tom. Thanks for your soulful update. Gotta get tough if you’re gonna stay in LA though! Just remember, compliment everyone on everything and you’ll fit right in. – JB

yes i’m back in the groove, moving faster, no mo “manana”, headed to Arrowhead today to catch up with OC friends.
Good luck, Tom. Let’s try to keep in touch.

I had a great weekend in San Francisco and I’m trying to figure out how to get back more often.
Need to start generating some income so I can afford a small apartment in the city.
Trying to figure out how to schedule a trip to India with my new partner in our social enterprise.
Anyway, give me a call when you get a chance. Enjoy the urban life.
Thanks for the official welcome – i’m stuck in town this weekend but could go next wkend if ur still painting. Are u painting walls or canvases?

Heather: Now that Tom is living in Los Angeles, it would be a real favor to my friend if you would drag him along to some events there so he
can get integrated into the social media and tech scene there.Stewart
wow.  Life changes, the one thing we can always count on.  Back in LA, must feel strange in some ways,
exciting in others. . . curious Tom, as we haven’t talked in awhile, what prompted the move?  And, did you rent a u-haul?
I know you like Nascar and all, drive fast and all, but somehow you and Frieda in a u-haul?  Nah. . .
I may be in LA to look at some projects there, so maybe we’ll connect.
Texas is unreal, even for me, but here I am.
Brazos y besos

Iim at district 13 right now u gotta check it out.

Gonna miss you! I had no idea that you left to the bigger city.  I do get out there as my sister lives near you, in the West Hollywood area and my son, is enrolled at Claremont McKenna College.  

So, I’ll be sure to give a call when in the area.  Let me know when you are visiting NM and I’ll make a point of taking you for drinks.


Have fun and make a difference out there!   Lillian


Hi Tom—

Wow I had no idea you were moving!!! We are definitely going to miss seeing you and hearing about all your entrepreneurial experiences at our events.

Best of luck in California and next time you are visiting in NM let me know. J

Take care! Shandra

Tom, please feel free to email or call me. Social Media Week LA is happening right now and I believe there’s some events
(looking into it). If not this week, there’s a few good events every month. Would love to connect.Heather

From: Stewart Alsop <salsop@

Realizing Your Astoundingly Great Idea… through Process and Execution.

Business Development, early stage, founder, Launch, Revenue Growth, Scalability, startup, startup CEO, venture

Many dream of being the instigator or part of the “Startup Launch”: First Discussions, Initiation, Developing a business and product(s), and most of all Success. What many dreamers don’t realize is that all of these steps are the by-product of the core reason the startup is being formed – a great product or service. It’s not a TV show where Ashton Kutcher claims he’s an “Internet billionaire” and no one questions it; in the real world great startups become great companies by focusing on Execution of ideas into products and services. A startup becomes a sustainable enterprise by repeating the process over and over.

An idea in itself isn’t worth much, and this applies to the tech world more so than most other segments of industry. Because of the vast amounts of publicity lavished on Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and the Google twins, many fashion themselves as making a few key steps and then finding themselves on the cover of Time, or at least in a million dollar home.

I often encounter people who have great tech ideas – friends, colleagues, employees, neighbors. Many are very good ideas; almost all of them drift away into the ether, unless someone else executes one of them. Then my friend will inevitably say “I had that idea! They ripped me off!” Or they tell me that I should execute their idea and then give them a percent of the “winnings”.

Ideas without execution are just talk, I’m a culprit also, for many reasons. I used to try to explain this to people when they approach about a tech idea, but it usually just bursts their bubble and they don’t quite hear the message. The act of execution tests whether the idea can become more – it causes validation, formation, proof of concept, exposes fatal flaws, creates adjustments, essentially turns it into reality or the discard pile. This process IS the company, extremely important and often misunderstood.

There are countless examples of startups that begin as one thing then morphed into something different – HP, arguably on of the first Silicon Valley garage startups, was first successful with an audio oscillator, which they built after very little planning or product thought. Their process was correct.

So your original idea is likely to change some anyway through the process. Other people will help take it over the line; welcome them. So please contact me if you’re anywhere along the startup road, and Ill try to help you turn your ideas into things that the world wants.

personal:  @tomnora

business:  @cowlow