Why Everyone Should Think Like An Entrepreneur: Jim McKelvey, Co-Founder of Square
Jim McKelvey is the co-founder of Square and author of the book Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time. Jim knows that lots of people are going through a time of reinvention, and he believes having the mindset of an entrepreneur is invaluable.
Jim says true entrepreneurs solve problems that haven’t been solved before. They don’t just start a business, they do something that has never been done before. When they created Square, Jim and Jack Dorsey solved a problem in a way no one else had ever thought of. They even were able to beat out Amazon when the company tried to copy Square’s setup.
When it comes to true entrepreneurship, Jim doesn’t believe in starting with a product or a service. He says it all starts with a problem that needs to be solved.
He puts it this way: “I’m not particularly interested if somebody has an idea for a thing, but I am interested in a problem that somebody tries to solve. If somebody says to me, ‘Hey, I invented this widget’, I don’t care. If somebody says to me, ‘Jim, I’ve got this problem and here’s how I plan to eliminate it’, that’s fascinating because the solution to an existing problem is what moves the world forward.”
Jim also says the first rule of being an entrepreneur is that you can’t be an expert. He says, “Nobody is qualified to do something that has never been done before because nobody’s done it. We don’t know what the qualifications are. You may have them. I see these bright, capable people who have been so indoctrinated into this way of thinking that they have to be qualified before they start that they never start. That’s an appropriate feeling, but when you’re doing something new, that feeling of being unqualified isn’t the reason to give up. Jack and I were completely unqualified to start Square. Zero qualifications in payments. Zero.
When I spoke with Jim, he told me the story of how they beat Amazon when the company tried to copy the setup Square had. Listen below.
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