Wednesday, April 1, 2020
7:45-8:15am Continental Breakfast
Live Talks Business Forum with
Serial Entrepreneur, Inventor, Philanthropist, Artist
Co-founder of Square
discussing his book,
The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time
500 South Figueroa Street
Downtown Los Angeles, CA 90071
$46 General Admission (includes book)
$20 General Admission
* Tickets include continental breakfast 7:45-8:15am, and a book signing follows the event
The cofounder of Square shares 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
Jim McKelvey is a serial entrepreneur, inventor, philanthropist, artist, and author of the The Innovation Stack: Building and Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time. He is the cofounder of Square, and served as the chairman of its board until 2010, and still serves on the Board of Directors. In 2011, his iconic card reader design was inducted into the Museum of Modern Art. McKelvey founded Invisibly, an ambitious project to rewire the economics of online content, in 2016. He is an Independent Director of the St. Louis Federal Reserve. Visit his website.
“The Innovation Stack is a deeply useful book about the characteristics of successful companies and how and why to build one, complete with inspiring case studies that literally span centuries. But it’s also much more than that: a witty, humane exploration of living in the complicated, inequitable world we all share and working to make it less so.” — Eric Ries, Entrepreneur and bestselling author of The Lean Startup
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.