Leadercast Live is the world’s largest one-day leadership event, with more than 100,000 attendees at 500+ locations across 20 different countries around the world.  This simulcast event is targeted at those who desire to learn and grow in their leadership aptitudes.

Over the next week I will post my notes from Friday’s Leadercast event I attended in the Atlanta, GA area this past Friday. Today’s post is my notes from Jim McKelvey’s talk.

Jim McKelvey

Founder of Square

What’s Your Problem?

Nobody cares about your success but you. People can relate better to the person who talks about the challenges he has overcome. The problems he has handled.

All of my success came from being focused on the problems that I solved.

Finding the right problem is transformative.

Being focused on purpose has not led to my success, but instead I have been focused on problems.

  1. Problems are obvious.
    • Obvious problems give us clarity.
    • Have you ever been at work and not known what you are doing?
    • What are the problems you are trying to solve?
    • When I chase opportunity I get overwhelmed and confused.  That is because opportunities are ever-present, endless and always there.
    • When you chase opportunity you lose focus.
  2. Solutions are Clear
    • When you have an obvious problem the solutions are always clear.
    • The ability to know what you are supposed to do is tremendously empowering.
    • Knowing what you are supposed to do is internally rewarding and gratifying
    • Grasping for an external reward is a frustrating thing
    • When you solve a problem it is personally gratifying. No matter if you solve it alone at 2 in the morning alone, it is still gratifying to solve a problem.
  3. Problems are Motivating
    • Problems energize you.

Success is powered by the right problem!

    • Gratitude is to be unexpected.
    • The first company he founded, Third Degree Glass Fabricators, was founded to solve a problem. He needed a place to work. He is a glass blower by trade first and foremost. His town didn’t have a place for him to do what he loves. His only book is only glass fabricating.
    • His companies have been powered by problems.
    • The second company he founded was launch_code. This company was established to solve two problems: 1) develop talent 2) find people who don’t have opportunity to participate in our economic system. This company is a non-profit.
    • The third company he started was Square. This company was started to solve the problem of not being able to take AMEX in his glass fabricating company.
    • The problem that powered Square was a story of friend of his, Bob, who was talented a glass blower but couldn’t play in the world of commerce.

Don’t Seek Opportunities—>Solve Problems

How it Feels to start stuff?

  • He has started 6 companies and been afraid every time!
  • Each time I’m guessing & blind & driving on, realizing if I don’t keep going I am going to get wiped out!
  • I am driven by thought the solution is around the corner and no one has to sleep in their car because they can’t participate in our commerce system.

Learn To Lead

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