YAPClassic: Billionaire Jim McKelvey on Building an Unbeatable Business | E69


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There are two types of entrepreneurs: those who copy other people’s businesses and those who create an entirely new market.

When you disrupt an existing market, you run the risk of being lumped in with your competitors. For example, you can probably name five of your local coffee shops off the top of your head.

While some entrepreneurs thrive off of copying other business ideas, the most successful businesses are the ones who solve a problem that nobody else has solved. If your business idea is completely original, then whoever needs your product will come to you because nobody else is filling that hole in the market.

Over the years, Jim McKelvey has become an expert at building businesses that solve problems no one else is addressing. He has founded several groundbreaking businesses like Square and LaunchCode, both of which fill a hole in their respective markets.

In this episode of YAP Classic, Hala and Jim break down the two different types of entrepreneurs. Jim tells Hala about how he met Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Square and Twitter. They also talked about why money is a weak motivator in entrepreneurship and how Jim and Jack survived an attack from Amazon.

Topics Include:

- The impact of his mother’s suicide

- Jim’s relationship with social media

- ‘Don’t do’ list

- How does Jim define entrepreneurship?

- Pros of copying someone

- Our copy-centric world

- Becoming aware of solvable problems

- Why money is a weak motivator

- How Jim met Jack Dorsey

- Age bias

- Starting Square

- The Innovation Stack

- Competing successfully against Amazon

- Writing The Innovation Stack

- And other topics…

Jim McKelvey is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded Square. He also founded Invisbily, LaunchCode, and Third Degree Glass Factory. He still serves as the owner of all seven companies he started, but does not hold a leadership position at any of them. In 2017, he was appointed as an independent director of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

He’s the author of three books, the most popular being The Innovation Stack, an inside look into the world of entrepreneurship that details Square’s battle with Amazon. He also wrote The Birth of Baking, a graphic novel about The Bank of America’s conception, and The Art of Fire, a beginner’s guide to glassblowing.

Sponsored By:

The Jordan Harbinger Show - Check out jordanharbinger.com/start for some episode recommendations

Indeed - Visit Indeed.com/YAP to start hiring now.

Resources Mentioned:

YAP episode #69: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/69-the-innovation-stack-with-jim-mckelvey/id1368888880?i=1000478091591

Jim’s Book, The Innovation Stack: https://www.jimmckelvey.com/books/

Jim’s Website: https://www.jimmckelvey.com/

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