The co-founder of Square outlines an inspiring philosophy of entrepreneurship, telling the story of how his company was born out of a passion to solve frustrating problems in both business and society, and giving entrepreneurs a strategic guide to building a resilient business. In 2009, Jim McKelvey and his friend Jack Dorsey (the co-founder of Twitter), launched Square, a payments processing startup that would allow small merchants to accept credit card payments on their mobile phones. With no expertise in this industry, they set out to fix a problem they had experienced personally; experimenting their way through early challenges led to massive innovation. But just as Square was beginning to find success, Amazon launched a similar product, marketed it aggressively, and undercut Square. For most ordinary startups, this would have spelled the end. Instead, less than a year later, Amazon was in retreat, and soon discontinued its service. How did Square beat the most dangerous company on the planet? Was it just luck? These questions motivated McKelvey to study what Square had done differently from all the other companies Amazon had killed and stuffed into smiling cardboard boxes. He eventually found the key: a strategy he calls the Innovation Stack. The Innovation Stack is a cascade of interdependent business decisions that force innovation. In Square's case, it was a series of fourteen inventions from free signup to immediate settlement that formed an impenetrable defense against copycat competitors. Your competition might be able to copy one innovation, but a business model based on a series of interlocking solutions is a lot harder to replicate. McKelvey's fascinating and humorous stories of Square's early days are blended with historical examples of other world-changing companies to reveal a pattern that is rare but repeatable. Squaring Up is a thrilling business narrative that's much bigger than the story of Square. It is an irreverent first-person look inside the world of entrepreneurship, and a call to action for all of us to find the entrepreneurial spirit inside ourselves, identify and fix unsolved problems in unique ways.
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