12 Months, 12 Pictures, 12 Stories: September

2011 was a long, fascinating year for Groupon, Chicago’s biggest Web 2.0 company and the fastest-growing one in history: preparing for its IPO, fighting off the SEC. If corporations are people, puberty is no less awkward for them.

Groupon headquarters

Groupon, the funny little company that could and the fastest-growing one in history, prepares for its IPO and finds that a company’s puberty is difficult, cutting its stated revenues in half after a complex back-and-forth with the SEC and some dogged accounting bloggers. In 2010, Marcia Froelke Coburn found Andrew Mason to be a wholesome, awkward boy-next-door; in Time Out Chicago, Frank Sennett captured the youthful, comedic vibe of the company. Less than a year later, Nicholas Carlson of Business Insider look a long, detailed look at what happens when a company simultaneously blows up and grows up:

“Working there was crazy,” says another early employee. “[From 2009 to 2010] we hired 10,000 people.  That was completely insane — something that’s never happened before, and should never happen again. We ended up in 45 countries in 16 months.  It was nuts, it was fun, it was a blast.”

Photograph: Chicago Tribune

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