Jim McKelvey

Co-Founder of Square

The LaunchCode - New Ways in Education

Jim McKelvey speaker, keynote, square, conferencias

Named one of Inc. Magazine´s "15 entrepreneurs to watch"

English

Chances are good you’ve run across a Square device at some point, especially if you’ve recently visited a food truck or similarly mobile small business. The tiny piece of plastic that allows you to swipe credit cards on your smartphone or tablet has been joined by a full iPad docking system, essentially becoming a full cash register (without the cash). The company, co-founded five years ago by Jim McKelvey and Jack Dorsey — also the co-founder of Twitter — has more than 600 employees and is now valued at $6 billion. This summer, the company announced its intentions to move into the food-delivery market by buying a startup called Caviar. Stay tuned for more. —Inc. Magazine, “15 Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2015,” December 2014

Jim McKelvey is an inventor, entrepreneur, artist, author and licensed pilot. While perhaps best known for co-founding Square, one of Silicon Valley’s hottest startups, McKelvey is, in some circles, better known as a master glass artist and author, having written the world’s most widely read text on the subject, The Art Of Fire.

His most famous venture, Square, is changing payments. His latest venture, LaunchCode, is making it possible for anyone to learn programming and land a full-time job in under six months–for free.

Jim McKelvey will discuss founding successful companies in payments, education, scientific publishing, construction, printing, glassblowing and software. Each business is founded upon a simple idea and run by people committed to that idea. Jim has never sold any of his companies and as a result now oversees a diverse portfolio of businesses. Referencing personal experiences and local challenges, McKelvey offers a fresh, Silicon Valley-approach to problem solving.

McKelvey is founder of Third Degree Glass Factory, one of the nation’s main centers of glassblowing arts. Jim McKelvey also founded Mira Digital Publishing, an early digital technology startup, where he gave a young programmer an internship and a place to hone his tech skills. That programmer, Jack Dorsey, went on to create Twitter and partner again with McKelvey in the development of the Square Payments Platform.

Jim is the author of three textbooks, two on computer programming and one on glassblowing. He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis and lectures internationally on art and entrepreneurship.

Jim’s high-energy style and power-packed presentations have built his reputation as a speaker who really delivers. He has been known to change presentations on the fly based on audience feedback and to welcome interruptions during his talks.

Innovation and Creativity - Upcoming Technology Trends

Building a Billion Dollar Business

The LaunchCode - New Ways in Education

Payments, Mobile and the Future of Money

Seeing Around Corners - Location, Mobility and the Future of Retail

Connecting Science and Arts with the Business World

The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time.

From the cofounder of Square, an inspiring and entertaining account of what it means to be a true entrepreneur and what it takes to build a resilient, world-changing company

In 2009, a St. Louis glassblowing artist and recovering computer scientist named Jim McKelvey lost a sale because he couldn't accept American Express cards. Frustrated by the high costs and difficulty of accepting credit card payments, McKelvey joined his friend Jack Dorsey (the cofounder of Twitter) to launch Square, a startup that would enable small merchants to accept credit card payments on their mobile phones. With no expertise or experience in the world of payments, they approached the problem of credit cards with a new perspective, questioning the industry's assumptions, experimenting and innovating their way through early challenges, and achieving widespread adoption from merchants small and large.

But just as Square was taking off, Amazon launched a similar product, marketed it aggressively, and undercut Square on price. For most ordinary startups, this would have spelled the end. Instead, less than a year later, Amazon was in retreat and soon discontinued its service. How did Square beat the most dangerous company on the planet? Was it just luck? These questions motivated McKelvey to study what Square had done differently from all the other companies Amazon had killed. He eventually found the key: a strategy he calls the Innovation Stack.

McKelvey's fascinating and humorous stories of Square's early days are blended with historical examples of other world-changing companies built on the Innovation Stack to reveal a pattern of ground-breaking, competition-proof entrepreneurship that is rare but repeatable.

The Innovation Stack is a thrilling business narrative that's much bigger than the story of Square. It is an irreverent first-person look inside the world of entrepreneurship, and a call to action for all of us to find the entrepreneur within ourselves and identify and fix unsolved problems--one crazy idea at a time.

The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time.