Jim Mckelvey, Co-Founder of Square // The Artist Who Became A Billionaire

🎨 Who Is Jim?

Jim McKelvey is an entrepreneur, glass-blowing artist + philanthropist.

He’s most well known as the co-founder of Square, the financial payments company he started with Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter). Jim also co-founded the non-profit “Launch Code” and he’s an independent Director of the St. Louis Federal Reserve

Jim’s book, The Innovation Stack, is available for purchase. Or sign up to the email list at the bottom of this post to win 1 of 5 copies we’re giving away to listeners 👇


🧠 Topics We Discuss

  • the origin story of Square
  • Square’s 14 part “innovation stack” that allowed them to win in this tough market
  • reducing the cost of a card reader from $1000 to $0.97
  • going up against Amazon + winning
  • examples of innovation stacks from other companies
  • the unbanked + underbanked
  • his thoughts on digital currencies
  • invention vs innovation
  • entrepreneurship vs owning a business
  • if “billionaires should exist” + his “billionaire moment”
  • why being a billionaire ≠ happiness


⏳Time Stamps (YouTube)

00:00:00 Intro
00:00:49 Welcome
00:01:50 Early Career as a Glassblower
00:03:10 Meeting Jack Dorsey
00:05:59 Beginning of Square
00:10:59 Underserved Markets
00:15:13 Studying a Market for Something That Doesn’t Exist
00:19:03 The Unbanked + Underbanked
00:24:49 Square’s Innovation Stack
00:28:21 Invention vs Innovation
00:30:21 Getting Square’s First Users
00:33:38 What Were The Large Existing Players Missing?
00:42:22 The Delusion of Innovation
00:45:26 How Square Went Up Against Amazon + Won
00:50:43 Entrepreneur vs Business Owner
00:52:32 His “Billionaire” Moment
00:54:52 Being Treated Like a “Walking Wallet”
00:56:33 Should Billionaires Exist?
01:00:21 Industries That are Ripe for Innovation
01:05:30 Digital Currency
01:08:13 Advice on Investing
01:10:30 “If you inherit wealth, you’re not rich”
01:12:24 Being Rich ≠ Being Happy
01:13:44 Philanthropy
01:16:39 Dealing with the hardest period of his life
01:19:33 Wrap Up


💌 Win A Copy Of Jim’s Book

We’re giving away 5 copies of Jim’s book to email subscribers. You can sign up to receive my lessons learned from each interview + instructions for entering the giveaway here 👇

Win a copy of Jim Mckelvey’s book👇

Sign up for exclusive content + free giveaways

    I promise to never spam you. 5 winners max. Unsubscribe anytime.


    Thank you to our partner

    This week’s episode is supported by InstaSleep Mint Melts, the drug-free, convenient sleep aid.   They’re easy to take without water & melt in your mouth like a mint. They’re designed to help you fall asleep faster & wake up without feeling groggy in the morning.   If you’ve had issues sleeping like I have, try them out – available at select Walgreens stores and their website: www.upgradeyoursleep.com

    Connect On Social

    More Stories
    Avinash Kaushik // Interview With Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist