The best way to manage a fledgling business is to be impatient for profit but patient for growth.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Network Effects
This HBR article points out that rare is the company like Facebook or Amazon that achieves huge growth BEFORE demonstrating a profitable business model.
In both of those cases -- as well as companies that WERE profitable before scaling like eBay and Google -- the main asset demonstrated significant NETWORK EFFECTS.
Groupon has neither found a profitable business model, nor does it have network effects.
This could be a cautionary tale in the making.
The Bubble IPOs Convo also discusses Groupon and Zynga and questions whether these companies have demonstrated sustainable value: http://pandawhale.com/convo/99/bubble-ipos
Also, don't mean to be alarmist but Groupon might be running out of cash: http://www.businessinsider.com/groupon-low-on-cash-2011-8