Jim never stops learning, trying new things, and pushing himself through adversity while still maintaining his optimism.
An Excerpt from the Book:
“Scarcity of resources forces creative solutions”
Jim McKelvey is involved with more than a dozen companies, either as founder, investor or advisor. In 2009, he co-founded the Square Mobile Payment system. With a diverse background in computer science and business, he never stops looking for creative ways to solve problems. He started his first company out of his garage and finds many of those early lessons still applicable to his latest startup, LaunchCode.
You’ve never heard of my first company, “Disconcepts.” It was based upon a simple idea: the herd was wrong.
In the 1980’s, after Sony introduced the Compact Disc to the marketplace, storage solutions for multiple CD’s were second-rate. The options were limited to these poorly made plastic shoeboxes with these annoying slots. The slots kept the discs from falling over, but reordering your music collection was a chore; a double-CD would not fit at all. Out of sheer frustration, my best friend Dave Mitchell dumped Memorex’s best solution into the trash; I fished it out, and removed the slots with a pair of vice grips. Not only had I solved the idiotic slot problem, but I increased the capacity by more than a third.
The available storage options had been based upon Cassette Tapes and 8-tracks before that. It was my first exposure to the herd mentality in product design: there was no recognition that the CD was fundamentally different from those earlier products, and so required a new solution. I knew I could do better with both the design and the craftsmanship. Herds aren’t just wrong: they are clueless – they don’t even realize when they’ve run past the opportunity they should have taken.
I developed multiple prototypes, and worked closely with Missouri Craftsman to make a high quality product out of walnut and oak. I found out what it was like to pay those craftsmen, and have inventory sit on the shelf for months at a time. Bringing a new product to the marketplace was substantially more difficult before the Internet; connecting with buyers took a lot more than cracking Google’s latest algorithm for search engine optimization.
I had to scrap to find customers, and found the hard reality behind the old saying: nothing happens until there’s a sale. I got thisclose to a substantial deal with Memorex, which would have fundamentally changed the company; I got caught in this recursive loop that only Kafka could enumerate, as successive rounds of management would not commit to what they all agreed was a superior product.
For the entire profile, click here