Groupon Makes History in More Ways Than One

Imagine this: a small group of folks band together in Chicago in early 2007 to build a web business. They choose Ruby on Rails. Their first product doesn't catch on, so they pivot hard, find their groove, and become one of the fastest growing companies in history. Over the years, Engine Yard has grown along with our customers. It's been an honor to help our customers launch and grow their applications. Friday, November 4th marked a singular event in our history: one of our oldest customers, Groupon (GRPN), went public amidst much fanfare. In an odd twist, I initially learned about them when our first employee asked me “Have you heard of Groupon? It's a really cool site that sends coupons every day. Everyone is using them!” Being a dutifully geek I engaged my curiosity and tracerouted Much to my delight, they were deployed on Engine Yard!
I quickly discovered Groupon had recently changed their name from [](, a customer I knew quite well. In fact, Engine Yard co-founder Lance Walley and I had met with their then CTO Ken Pelletier in early 2007 at Intelligentsia, their favorite coffee shop in Chicago. The rest is history: years of exponential traffic increases, database optimizations, increasing compute requirements, Super Bowl ads, infrastructure migrations, big data, capacious bandwidth usage. You name it, Groupon has seen it, and is proof that Rails and PaaS can scale. :-) In 2010 I read an article in a business magazine that charted their revenue growth alongside the fastest growing companies ever. I perused the legend to see which exponential curve was theirs. To my surprise, I could not locate it! Their growth was so fast, it was on the FAR left side of page, a line going nearly straight up. It was far removed from the rest of the group; the trajectory truly put them in a league of their own amongst their peer group of fastest growing companies. This all occurred while running their production web application ( on Engine Yard! This was an inconceivable idea when they signed up. Years later they're still a customer for the same reasons they initially chose to launch on us: they want to focus on their application and their business, not on the details of managing infrastructure. If you ever heard something along the lines of “At some point, you'll HAVE to run in-house!” you can rest assured that billions of income, thousands of employees, and going public can, and have, been achieved otherwise. Thank you very much for choosing Engine Yard, and thank you very much for continuing to entrust the operation of your site to us. And thank you too for showing the world that PaaS and cloud computing are the future of application development and delivery. After all, a public company's primary product surely qualifies as both mission critical and enterprise class! Congratulations, GRPN, on your stellar IPO. We're in your corner, on your side, and will always have your back!