York Union Review: The fall and rise of Ivan Massow

Having amassed fortunes through a variety of business endeavours, initially through introducing gay-friendly financial services when contemporary competitors existed in an environment of homophobia, Massow is the archetypal entrepreneur and compassionate Conservative

Ivan Massow at the York Union. Image: Benjamin Wright

Ivan Massow at the York Union. Image: Benjamin Wright

Ivan Massow is an influential man who cannot be defined through one endeavour. It’s not possible to capture all of Massow’s history in one interview alone, but in the candid public interview he gave to York Union in the Ron Cooke Hub on 12th November, it was certainly possible to capture a feel of his character and achievement.

Read the interview with him here

Massow is the archetypal entrepreneur and compassionate Conservative

Having amassed fortunes through a variety of business endeavours, initially through introducing gay-friendly financial services when contemporary competitors existed in an environment of homophobia, Massow is the archetype entrepreneur and compassionate Conservative. Whether politically aligned or not, any spectator of ‘In Conversation with Ivan Massow’ was bound to be impressed by the rags to riches tale of a man who had moved through foster families as a child before being adopted as a pre-teenager, left school with one O-level and was essentially living in a squat in his early twenties, ended up earning his first million by the age of thirty.

Some would expect it to be unbelievable to watch someone casually talk about they earned millions of pounds and what they would do had they been successful in their bid for candidacy for the London mayoral elections. Yet Massow was completely convincing in his account of his own history and his responses to his general views and thoughts.

Ivan Massow. Image: Benjamin Wright

Ivan Massow. Image: Benjamin Wright

Massow was very careful in what he said for someone who prides himself on being a ‘slightly crazy package’ for the London electorate. This may have been because he didn’t want to say the wrong thing but more convincingly it seemed he wanted to accurately convey what he genuinely thought and was careful to do just that, even if it meant that he took quite a long time to deliver his responses.

His account of the Conservatism which some may think might run contrary to his outspoken gay activism proved its compatibility

His account for subscribing to free-market meritocratic values as a means of social mobility shows that he genuinely felt anyone had the capacity to get far in life as long as they sincerely committed their efforts, creativity and talent to it. His account of Conservatism which some may think might run contrary to his outspoken gay activism proved its compatibility and he was clear that whilst he was highly critical of the current Conservative government, that there were many dimensions of the party, some of which he strongly subscribed to and others which he rejected.

It seemed clear that there were a few hopefuls in the audience that were keen to hear Massow speak so as to gain lessons to replicate his success.

stunning success is still possible but that the nature of the game has changed

Massow didn’t have anything original to say on this – work hard, find a gap in the market – but the resonation of his success may well have given sufficient inspiration to focus on the necessary skills to succeed.

Massow still thinks that stunning success is still possible but that the nature of the game has changed. The technological age has developed so much that it should be utilised as productively as possible. Young people who do not go to university should use their time innovatively and be made better aware by the government of the paths and possibilities of success.

‘In Conversation with Ivan Massow’ proved entertaining, inspirational and thought-provoking. The attendees of yet another one of York Union’s successful evenings certainly were not disappointed in engaging with Massow.

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