Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior at IMD Business School
From master glass artist to digital pioneer, Jim McKelvey has made a career of bringing useful things elegantly to life. As co-founder of Square, he empowered small businesses to compete with larger, better-equipped firms. With LaunchCode, he has helped thousands of aspiring professionals find substantial work. Events that celebrate ingenuity in the service of humanity find a distinctively entertaining keynote speaker in McKelvey.
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Technology speaker Jim McKelvey has changed the way small businesses operate, and the way larger companies embrace entrepreneurism. A popular keynote speaker, Jim McKelvey shares insights gleaned from one of tech’s most successful and varied careers.
In 2009, Jim McKelvey and Square co-founder Jack Dorsey revolutionized the way small businesses serve customers. Their smartphone device and its suite of business management tools have helped millions of sellers reach new customers. By 2020, Square employed nearly 3,500 workers and was valued at more than $55 billion.
McKelvey is a highly successful entrepreneur, but Square’s origins are directly related to his other great passion: glassblowing. One of the world’s most respected glass artists, McKelvey wrote the definitive text on the subject, The Art of Fire. found himself unable to receive payment for a simple job. He and Dorsey quickly came up with the idea for Square, and launched its first products in 2010.
After launching Square, McKelvey co-founded LaunchCode, a non-profit that helps talented people find apprenticeships in the tech sector. He also joined with other investors to found Cultivation Capital, a successful manager of venture capital funds. In 2017, he was named an Independent Director of the St. Louis Federal Reserve.
His 2020 book The Innovation Stack describes how companies can build stable organizational structures on the principles of entrepreneurship.
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 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.
Jim noticed a very talented artist who was living in his beat up car and wondered why. He was a talented artist who could be getting paid well for his work. Why wasn’t he? Jim realized the artist had no access to the systems that paid him. As he built Square, Jim always kept this one artist in mind and thought about how he was solving this one artist’s problem. In this motivational speech, Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square - a payments company now valued at $30 billion - will inspire audiences of entrepreneurs to look at the world and try to find solutions for the problems they see. Jim has used this method to build several of his successful companies and become a millionaire.
Getting out there and trying to build is one of the best ways to get started on learning technology skills. You don’t have to quit your job. See if your employer has time set aside for personal learning. Join a hack-a-thon and start tinkering. Just try building something. This is the advice of Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square - a $30 billion company - who will inspire your audience in this motivational speech aimed at boosting creativity and help entrepreneurs come up with great ideas that can be turned into companies that can change the world.
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