Reclaiming the Entrepreneurial Spirit

I read an article in Bloomberg Business Week about Andrew Mason. Mason is the headwaiter at a Japanese restaurant in Chicago’s Wicker Park. However, the job is Mason’s part-time evening job as by day he is the chief executive officer and founder of Groupon. What struck me reading the article is that Mason has matured from his playful childlike demeanor, which allowed him to develop the Groupon concept. Mason has become a more seasoned entrepreneur trying to hold on to what he started and run it in a more businesslike manner (Etter & MacMillan, 2012).

Although investors and analysts have challenged Mason’s running of Groupon, he has kept a lock on what he created. Mason wants to improve Groupon without giving it away to suitors offering him large amounts of money to buy the company. Mason turned down an offer by Google to buy the company, which would have allowed Mason to cash out. Mason turned down the offer despite problems it has had with profitability and holding up share value.  Mason admitted the company has had problems with its operating system and commented, “we have to get good at this” (Etter & MacMillan, 2012, p. 50)

Meanwhile, executives at Groupon have noted the level of seriousness has notched up and the company now employs more lawyers and accountants. Groupon has even purchased other companies and has set up a location in the Silicon Valley in California.  Despite his critics lashing out at him, Mason wants to preserve control over the company he started and claims he is in the business for more than just the money.  Mason said his company wants to solve a business problem, which is his main motivation (Etter & MacMillan, 2012).

Although Mason may have much to learn, he has the entrepreneurial spirit to perfect and hold on to what he started.  Mason still has a vision and he wants to cement it instead of giving it away to someone else.  Mason still studies the disconnect in the operating system as maitre d’ of his part-time job at the Japanese restaurant and has learned from the experience. Even though Mason has learned from his experience, he realizes still has much to learn.

Only time will tell if Groupon can get to the next level, but I admire Mason for his stick-to-itiveness. I believe Mason has the characteristics of a genuine entrepreneur as he loves what he does and wants to perfect it. Money is not his only motivation and his quest for perfection overshadows any thirst to get rich quick. Mason continues to learn from his experience and enjoys every minute of it. Mason does not fear failure, but looks it straight in the eye. I believe more entrepreneurs need to reclaim the entrepreneurial spirit.

What is your take on reclaiming the entrepreneurial spirit? I want to hear from you. If you want to develop the entrepreneurial spirit I suggest learning more about how you can starting now. Learn more.


Etter, L. and MacMillan, D. (2012, July 16-22). Groupon tries to ‘Get Good’ at growing up. Bloomberg Businessweek.

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  1. #1 by Tom Eakin on July 16, 2012 - 9:07 am

    Thanks for providing your readers with an example of a person who exemplifies the true American entrepreneurial spirit. I have a deep concern about the get-rich-quick mentality often observed in the following areas:
    -People who want to start-up a small business.
    -People who have successfully started up a small business only to sell it to investors to reap a profit.
    -People who believe they only have to “put their time in” to rise to the top.
    -People who believe they only need to gather credentials in the form of diplomas and certificates to justify promotion through corporate ranks.

    Creating value through meeting customer needs is the underlying motivation for true entrepreneurs and Mason is a great example others would do well to learn from. It’s easy to see that while he’s attempting to provide value to his customers, he in turn receives value in the form of satisfaction in his own efforts and the efforts of those he Leads within his organization.

    As an entrepreneur who is in the start-up phase with a small business, my goal is to help people become effective and genuine in their approaches to Lead with conviction. That is the value I provide and the value I want to get back more than anything is knowing I have done everything I can to help my clients. I am concerned with also realizing revenues so I can continue to operate, but I know that won’t happen if my main purpose- creating value for others, isn’t my first priority. Like Mason, I may not get it right the first time, but I will continue to do what it takes to continuously improve.


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