This week's Industry Focus: Financials is a special one. Host Jason Moser and contributor Matt Frankel, CFP, chat with Square (SQ -5.83%) co-founder Jim McKelvey, author of the soon-to-be-released book The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time. McKelvey shares his experiences in Square's very early days, tells stories of his journeys through the business world, and more. You don't want to miss this one!

Mr. McKelvey also talks about his business philosophy and his upcoming book. Also, find out how you can get a free comic to complement your copy.

To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. To get started investing, check out our quick-start guide to investing in stocks. A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on March 2, 2020.

Jason Moser: It's Monday, March 2nd, I'm your host Jason Moser, and on today's Financial show we've got a fun interview for you. Jim McKelvey is the author of The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time, which is available now for preorder wherever books are sold. Jim is also the co-founder of a little company some of you may have heard of, Square. Yes, that's right, the payments company.

Recently, Matt Frankel and I had the good fortune to speak with Jim about what led him to write The Innovation Stack, his experiences in Square's very early days, business lessons from Dr. Seuss, and a whole lot more. We hope you enjoy our conversation.


Matt Frankel: All right. So we are here with Jim McKelvey, who is the co-founder of Square. Jim, thanks for joining us today.

Jim McKelvey: Good morning, Jason! Good morning, Matt!

Frankel: Good morning! You're here, first of all, you just wrote a book called The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time. So the first question on my mind is, what is the innovation stack?

McKelvey: Aw! It's this thing I, sort of, stumbled over trying to answer a question that had bothered me for two years. And the question that bothered me is, why was Square still alive? [laughs] We had something happen to us in our fourth year that almost always kills or eliminates small companies, which is Amazon. Amazon came in, copied our product, undercut our price, and offered a bunch of stuff that we didn't have. And people thought that Square was going to go the way of or fifty other companies that Amazon's tried this to, and somehow we survived.

And I was really happy [laughs] that we didn't perish, but I was also really confused, because I could never find another example of a company having survived a direct attack from Amazon while they were a start-up, you know, Netflix is OK, but start-ups don't survive a direct assault from Amazon. And so I went on this -- basically a research quest looking for any other company that this had happened to, and though I couldn't find any other companies that had survived an attack by Amazon, looking back in history, I saw a bunch of parallels from centuries ago up until recently, and they all shared this thing that I call an innovation stack. So there was this process that I saw, and when I saw that, I was like, "Oh crap! I guess I got to write about this." Nobody else had described it, and writing is really difficult, but I just had to do it. So that's why there's a book.

Moser: What were some of the big challenges in your early days with Square? I mean, the more you dig into the payments industry, the more confusing it becomes, that value chain is not exactly the easiest thing to connect all the dots in, but what were some of the bigger challenges beyond Amazon that you all faced in Square's early days?

McKelvey: So one of the things you just mentioned, which is that the payment system, especially in the credit card world, is extremely confusing. And that's not an accident, it turns out that the confusion allows the vendors in that system to hide a lot of complexity and tricks. So, for instance, when I was a small merchant and processing credit cards, some guy in a necktie would show up in my studio about every two or three years and he'd say, "What are you paying for credit cards?" And I'd say, "Well, I don't know." And he'd say, "Well, give me your statements and I'll tell you." And so he'd come back a couple of days later and he'd say, "Guess what, I can save you money, you just need to sign a three-year contract with us." So I would. And this went about three cycles until I realized that there was always a new guy in a necktie and the deal was never what he said it was going to be. It would always be some hook, sort of bait and switch.

And the reason they could do that was that my contract was 42 pages of six-point type. There were so many tricks and gotchas that no merchant really had any idea. So that confusion, what you just pointed out, that was not an accident. But then as we started to get into it, what Square was doing was trying to enable credit card payment for very, very small merchants, in some cases individuals. And in order to do that we had to build an entirely new system, because none of the banks, none of the processors were capable of handling transactions with our type of clients. So Square had to stand up this completely different system and then figure out some way to connect it to the existing rails, so that we could actually get people paid.

Moser: You know, it's interesting you say that because I did spend a couple of years working at a bank and I had some exposure to the merchant solutions side of the business. So speaking to your point on contractual obligations that were pretty much impossible to fully understand because of the documents, I mean, I saw that firsthand at the bank, and that was kind of what opened my eyes to how confusing the space was. But when you look at that confusion, it does feel like -- we talk about one of the bigger risks in this space being regulation. Now, how do you feel about the regulatory environment here in the payment space? Do you feel like this is something that is still going to face some serious change as far as regulations go or is it more or less, kind of, resilient to that?

McKelvey: Well, I mean, look, regulation is good. And by the way, I'm technically a bank regulator now. I mean I'm the deputy chair of the Fed at St. Louis. So I literally oversee. [laughs] And I'm not allowed to own stocks in banking entities that the Fed regulates. So I see it from that perspective. I also see it from this perspective of, you know, as a small-business person who has to deal with all this stuff, and then as somebody who's built systems for payments and then regulates. So I'm on both sides of that equation.

And what I'd say is this. Look, you absolutely need regulation when it comes to moving money; you absolutely need rules. And better that they be consistent rules and better that they be thoughtful rules, because we want a level playing field, we want all the players to be able to compete. In the case of the credit card world, what we discovered was that many of these regulations were not Federal or sort of government regulations, they were industry practices, they were things that banks were doing, sometimes just out of spite.

And I have some great stories from the Head of Payments from Walmart about how the banks were abusing Walmart. Now, at the time, Walmart was the biggest retailer in the world and the banks are still slapping Walmart around. So if you can imagine how powerful an industry has to be in order to abuse Walmart, just imagine what they can do to start-ups.

So a lot of this regulation falls into this category of just, sort of, unnecessary rulemaking, which is, it's almost like a built-in bias in the system. And the biases, when we started, were strongly against small merchants. And so Square made 11-year effort, and counting, to create systems on behalf of small businesses so that they can compete on level playing fields.

Frankel: I feel like the big payments companies could have done this 10, 15 years ago, if they really wanted to, but it feels like they were a little complacent in terms of technology. Do you think that's kind of been a big edge for Square and others who have really innovated in the payments industry, that the big banks have just really been complacent over the years when it comes to embracing small businesses?

McKelvey: Possibly. Although, I don't think it was complacency, necessarily, I think it was just the inertia that they had. They were making so much money doing what they were doing that there was no reason to expand the market. And by the way, when we started, they didn't think the market existed system, and by the way, neither did we. So I'm not going to tell you that Jack and I were prescient and were able to foresee what would happen. As a matter of fact, we made a bet the second day in business that we would celebrate in a year our success or failure, because we literally did not know.

Frankel: You didn't see it getting to, you know, $100 million of payment volume or anything like that?

McKelvey: [laughs] No, we didn't. I wish we had; I wish we were that farsighted. No, we were in a situation that many entrepreneurs were in. And by that, I mean, we were building something that had never been built. And if you're building something that has never been built, you don't know if there's anyone who wants to buy it. Okay. So you know now everybody is raving about electric cars and how cool electric cars are. But it was funny, when I was starting Square back in 2008, I was actually working on an electric car company. At the time there were basically no electric cars and Tesla hadn't really come out yet and I was trying to build an open source electric vehicle, because I thought they had a lot of advantages, but when I went around to the various folks I know in the auto industry, they all said, "People don't want electric, people don't want electric. They'll never want them. They'll never drive it. And, of course, you can't argue with them because, well, there are no electric cars, so there's no market.

What we saw at Square was the same thing. The big banks, I think, very rationally, were concentrating on their big businesses that were making a lot of money for them and they were ignoring all the small guys. And whenever one of them would try to serve the small guy, they'd get killed because they didn't have the tools to do that. And what Square ended up doing, and actually it, sort of, gets back to the thing that allowed us to survive an attack by Amazon, was that we built an entirely different ecosystem to serve the small merchants. And it was not just one or two things but 14 different things that we had to do in order to move that first dollar for a little guy.

Frankel: Sure. Well, actually let's rewind the clock then. A lot of our listeners, I'm sure, don't know the story of the early days of Square. Can you just briefly share how the idea came into your head?

McKelvey: So Jack Dorsey and I've known each other for almost 30 years now. We have been buddies and sometimes co-workers. He used to work for me at another company that I actually still own. And right after Jack was kicked out of Twitter for the first time, I reconnected with him over Christmas. So he came back to St. Louis, where we're both from, and we were hanging out and he told me what they've done at Twitter. And I got really angry because this is my buddy and he had started Twitter and they, kind of, kicked him out, which was really, sort of, despicable. And I said, "I got some time, we should go back to California and get even with those guys." [laughs] And Jack to his credit was like, "Well, why don't we do something more positive?" [laughs] So I was like, "Okay, well, what do you want to do?" He's like, "I don't know, we'll start a company." I said, "Cool! Do you have an idea?" He's like, "No, do you have an idea?" I was like, "No."

So we went started brainstorming about business ideas and we came up with this idea that was sort of a journaling app. It was actually Jack's idea. And I don't think either one of us were that psyched about it, but we had already hired our first employee, so we had to do something. So I went back to my studio. So I'm a glassblower in St. Louis; I have a hobby of making stuff that nobody needs out of glass. I'm an artist, right. And it's a hobby, but it used to be a profession and I take it pretty seriously. And I was back, trying to sell a piece of glass to a lady who had an American Express card but she didn't have her Visa or MasterCard, and we don't take AMEX at my studio. So I said, "I can't take an AMEX card, do you have a Visa?" And she's like, "Oh, no, my husband has the Visa card." And she was buying this ridiculous piece of glass and I knew her husband, if he found out how much money she was about to spend on this thing, he would shut it down. And so I lost the sale and I was upset, because it was a phone sale.

It was this lady calling me over the phone and I was looking at my phone. And it was an iPhone at the time; I think it was an iPhone 2. And I was so angry, because my expectation to my phone is it does anything, you know, it turns into an email server or a camera or a video recorder or it turns into a book or a TV. Like, my phone magically becomes whatever I want it to, but it couldn't magically become a credit card reader. And I said, this thing needs to magically become a credit card reader just for me. I didn't know if anybody else had that need, but for myself I wanted it. So I called up Jack, on the same phone, and I said, "Hey, man, I think I got a problem for us. I think I have something that is worth fixing. And by the way, I'm really angry about this. So let's use that anger as our motivation."

So Jack thought about it a couple of days and then he agreed that that would be a really cool direction for the company, largely because there had been no innovation in payments for 10 years. The previous, sort of, innovative burst in payments was PayPal but that was 10 years prior to Square. So we thought it was a good time to get into an industry that nobody else had touched. Fintech wasn't a thing at the time and we were just coming out of a recession, so talent was plentiful, office space was free. I mean, it was a good time to start a business. Like, the depth of the recession, that's a good time to hit the gas.

Moser: Good time to buy stocks, too, we found.

Frankel: Definitely. And so since you're the artist out of you and Jack, I'm assuming you're the one who came up with the design for the original Square reader. It is like a piece of art, almost.

McKelvey: Well, you know, Jack's got his artistic side, too, so I wouldn't say I'm the only one, but I'm the guy who makes stuff, I'm the builder, I'm the physical builder. So yes, I designed and built the early Square readers and designed electronics and built the case and came up with the proportions and then physically made them. I mean, the other thing is, these were not just subcontracted to some other company, like, I went to my studio and I got a Bridgeport mill and a bunch of Lucite and I started milling out the components in a little sweatshop operation. Yeah, that's me.

Frankel: And I ask because I think you won a modern art award, I think, for the Square reader.

McKelvey: So the Museum of Modern Art featured the Square reader in a show and the Smithsonian also did. So, ironically, as a guy who's been making glass art for 25 years, I get into MoMA on a little piece of plastic, so, you know, irony, there you go.

Frankel: [laughs] Well, the other reason I ask you is because I feel like the design itself was a big differentiator. All of a sudden, not only could you plug this little thing into your phone and accept credit card payments, but it was an aesthetically pleasing design, too, that, I think, appealed to a lot of -- because a lot of your target market is artists. And in my local craft market, for example, everybody has a Square reader. So I think the design could have been a big part of the innovation itself, would you agree with that?

McKelvey: I think the design was. And I'll tell you a funny story. I purposely designed a reader that didn't work particularly well and I'll tell you what happened. So before Square, I was hanging out in Japan, a lot I was in Tokyo. I had an apartment in Tokyo. And my girlfriend, who's now my wife, lived in Tokyo, and she took me to the store called Loft. And if anyone of your listeners has been to Loft, then they'll know what I'm talking about. This is a store that sells nothing but phone charms, OK. We're talking about an entire retail store with nothing but little bobbles you put on your phones, and the Japanese are obsessed with these things. You would watch some guy walking down the street with like a dreadlock of phone charms, you know, Hello Kitty, like, banging on his head as he sort of barked into his phone. This was the Japanese culture.

And I looked at these little charms and I thought, wow! it would be cool for the Square reader to be something that could be sold at a Loft, and it had this certain quality of it had to be small and cute and precious and like a piece of jewelry. So when I built the Square reader, I tried to make it really small and cute, but the problem with that was that the credit card would wobble as you tried to swipe it through, because the track about two-and-a-half inches long and then the card wouldn't wobble and the read would be correct. But the problem with that was it wasn't interesting.

So I built two readers. I built a small reader, which is the one you know as the Square reader. And then I built a large reader which worked better, it worked way better. But when I'd test them, I noticed that people who used the big reader were sort of ho-hum about it, but people who used the small reader were just blown away. They couldn't believe that something so small would read a credit card. And what happened, I think this really helped the company, because people would have to practice their credit card swipes. And once they learn how to do it, they would show off, right. So now I've got people practicing my product, OK, paying attention to my product and then showing their friends how good they are and teasing their friends who can't do it. Like, it became this thing to learn how to do it. It was so much attention on this little company.

And, of course, once you have that attention, it's not just on the card reading, they would think about Square, they would think about how our system was free, how the pricing was fair, how we'd get them the money three days before anybody else would, how we allowed them to leave at any time without a contract. I mean, they would think about all the stuff that we were trying to tell them. And that moment when they were playing with that little toy that we gave them was a precious moment for getting attention on what was a new idea.

Moser: So I want to pivot here for a second. And going back to the challenge from Amazon in the early days and just generally at how difficult it is to start a business and to really gain traction and get to the point where Square is today, you have an interesting business philosophy, I guess. You've learned a little bit along the way from Dr. Seuss and The Sneetches, in particular. I read that, Jim, OK, and I thought it was really cool, I enjoyed it. For all of our listeners out there who don't know what I'm talking about, tell our listeners what is the business lesson you got from Dr. Seuss that's still serving you today?

McKelvey: So the business lesson from Dr. Seuss was from The Sneetches. Star-Bellied Sneetches had stars upon their bellies and the Plain-Bellied Sneetches didn't. And the Star-Bellies were cool and the Plains were not, OK. So then this businessperson Sylvester McMonkey McBean shows up on the beach with his Star-On machine and he stamps stars on the starless Sneetches for $3. And then, so now they can't differentiate the Sneetches, so the Sneetches with stars go on to Sylvester's Star-Off machine and they have their stars removed and then chaos ensues; it's a great book.

But the critical thing that happened to me -- when I was a little kid, I was so uncool. I was this skinny, geeky little kid. My parents, my dad was a teacher, you know, like, we weren't cool, OK. And I was really desperate to fit in. And I remember that feeling and I remember reading The Sneetches and thinking how stupid it was for these Sneetches to be stamping stars on their bellies and then having them removed. And it somehow dawned on me, at some point, to just not try to fit in that hard. From a very early age, I gave up being cool. And if this was a video, if we were doing this on video, you would look at me, you'd go, "Oh, yeah, you're continuing the trend today."

Moser: [laughs] Why do you think we'll do -- I mean, you could say the same about us, that's why we focus on podcasts and less on video.

McKelvey: Yeah, I have a face for radio. Yeah. Look here's the thing about entrepreneurship and why I think The Sneetches is a business book, but for the following reason. What I do is not business, it is entrepreneurship. And what I mean by that is, I don't do things that have been done before, I do things that have not been done before. So if you look at all the stuff that I've done, basically, I mean, serving on the Fed; OK, people have done that before. But the companies that I've started, the nonprofits that I've started, all have this thing in common which is, there was nothing to copy when we started. I mean, we would love to copy something that worked, but we didn't have anything. So I end up having to build things that haven't been built and because of that I take a lot of grief.

So in the early days of Square, one of the executives from a $4 billion payment company took me out to dinner and told me for two hours what an idiot I was for trying to serve small merchants. He was like, "You're stupid, you don't understand payments, you're going to lose all your money." And he just berated me. And you know what, I had to sit there and take it because I couldn't argue. If you do something new, if you do something that has not been done before, you will feel so alone because you don't have any company. And that's a feeling that is never comfortable, but you can kind of get used to it; and I, over the years, have kind of gotten used to it.

I'm so accustomed to people coming to me and saying, "Well, that isn't going to work," and then I say, "Well, I think it will," they say, "Well, prove it." And I can't because the only way to prove it is to point to another example of the same thing working somewhere else. Well, that doesn't exist. So being a starless Sneetch at an early age was a real help to me, yeah.

Frankel: Speaking of something that is, kind of, polarizing, it doesn't fit in -- and a lot of people tell me that I'm an idiot because I like -- is cryptocurrencies. Speaking of something, that I know for a fact Jack Dorsey is a big cryptocurrency advocate. I went through his bitcoin tutorial on Square's website. What are your thoughts about how that could be, kind of, an innovative concept in finance going forward? I know you can't talk about too much of what Square is doing, but ... ?

McKelvey: So the good things about crypto is you don't need permission. Nobody can tell you what to do. That allows for tremendous speed, both, in terms of what you're allowed to build and what you're allowed to transact. The problem with that, however -- and my views differ from my co-founder's a little bit, and that is, I'm worried about anonymous payments because they tend to be vectors for crime. So what I have thought with crypto is that there are going to be some very angry governments that do not like their citizens avoiding taxes, they do not like enabling criminal activity and that those governments are likely to regulate in ways that will be sort of unknown but probably pretty heavy-handed. So I think we're just seeing the beginning of this.

Now, that said, I love what blockchain can do. I love the speed, I love the utility of it, I love the openness of it. So there's a lot of good stuff, but we're early days. And the thing that has not happened yet is a government stepping in. You've seen a little bit in China; the government of China is starting to step in. But there is more to come there. And I'm cautious when it comes to the cryptos because I think there has to be some sort of next step with governments coming in and I don't know what that's going to be. But my guess is, that if it's typical government regulation, it's going to be pretty heavy-handed.

Moser: So one thing we've enjoyed following here, one thing our listeners enjoy following. Square is a recommendation in our services, another company that's a recommendation, Shopify, two very popular companies in our Foolish universe and investment ideas that have done very well for listeners. But to see the competitive jockeying that is going on between Square and Shopify, it's becoming more interesting. Because you see two companies that they started off in different areas, but it seems like they're both working their way to becoming more the same thing. You know, Square starting off on that payment's hardware and software sides. Shopify starting out really helping people build websites, focusing on that small business customer again.

But now you're seeing Shopify making more efforts into hardware point-of-sales and trying to become a little bit more of what Square is like and Square trying to become a little bit more what Shopify is like. I think that Weebly acquisition was something along those lines as well. But I wonder if you could speak at all to the competitive jockeying that goes on between companies like Shopify and Square as they become more alike. I still feel like you got to own both of these businesses, I mean it seems like a really big market opportunity for both companies to exist and succeed, don't you think?

McKelvey: Oh, yeah. And you don't typically have singular points in these larger markets. And, look, I've got a respect for the folks at Shopify and I think both companies are responding to market need. So you see two companies, who're both trying to serve their customers really well, and the customers have similar needs. Some of their customers are our customers and vice versa. And it's natural that those needs are going to be reflected in product lines that are going to overlap to some extent. So yeah, that's natural and probably healthy.

Frankel: There's definitely a big opportunity going in payments and Square has historically focused on the physical merchant side of it. How much do you worry about e-commerce disruption, and is that kind of why Square is pivoting toward -- with the Weebly acquisition and trying to become kind of own [...]?

McKelvey: We're not here pivoting. So the pivot is, sort of, an abandonment of the previous, right?

Frankel: Sure.

McKelvey: Okay. What we're doing is we're adding features that our customers want. [laughs] So yes, online sales; yes, absolutely. Have we added that? Yes. Are we continuing to work on it? Sure. Are there a bunch of other things that we're adding on top of that? Absolutely. So it's an ecosystem that is growing all the time and it's going pretty good. The goal here is, I want a business to be able to focus on what they do. So if your business is cutting down trees, then cut down trees, don't run an accounting firm, don't run a payroll operation, don't become your own tax company.

If you think about what happens, especially with small business, is that the small business person typically spends only a fraction of their time doing their actual business, they spend the rest of their time wrangling payroll or handling a loyalty program or balancing their bank books or trying to figure out to how to get credit or, you know, there all these things that distract you from your actual business.

And so what Square is doing is we're trying to make that stuff just disappear. So you just use Square, we have a dozen wonderful products that will make your payroll hassles go away, make your loyalty program manage itself. You need a line of credit, we got that, too. So just make all those other things, sort of, fade into the background so now you focus on what you're good at, what's your business doing, that's where you should be spending your time.

Moser: What's a good example of a business out there today that exemplifies the innovation stack? I mean, any companies out there that really have impressed you in the way that they've been able to grow and evolve?

Frankel: And you can't say Amazon.

Moser: [laughs] Yeah, no Amazon.

McKelvey: So I can't say Amazon, although I would say they've got a fantastic innovation stack at Amazon, they really have been a maverick in online commerce for decades. But the classic one that I use a great example of in the book is IKEA. There's a couple of things that are interesting about IKEA. First of all, furniture has to be the industry that has the least innovation in the world, because we have had furniture for millennia. Since mankind was able to, sort of, shape trees into stumps, like we have had tree stumps to sit on. Like, if you would think of an industry that doesn't have innovation potential because it's just been done completely, it was furniture. And if you look at what IKEA did, they completely revolutionized furniture to the point where it is now possible for normal people to afford new furniture. And this was not always the case, you know, when I grew up and went to college, everybody in college had stolen milk crates and 2X4s as shelves. And these days, they have these beautiful IKEA things.

And IKEA has really revolutionized furniture. And the question was, what in the world did they do? And the answer was, they built an innovation stack. And by an innovation stack, I mean, they were prevented from copying. So the key to an innovation stack is you have to do things that have not been done before. And since copying what has been done before is almost always, sort of, the first move, there has to be something preventing you from that. And what I found in IKEAs case, and this is why it's such a perfect parallel to what happened at Square, was that Kamprad, the Founder, was actually kicked out of Sweden. They basically boycotted him, there was a boycott, they kept him out of the factories, they kept him physically out of the tradeshows, they wouldn't let him sell his work. I mean they wouldn't let him go to the fairs where all the other furniture stores were selling. I mean, he was basically a starless sneetch, OK.

And then they kicked him out. And they basically said, you can't manufacture your stuff in Sweden. So he had to go to Poland. And he had these old factories in Poland, but the factories needed retooling. Every time they kicked Kamprad out, he invented something else, and he invented and he invented and invented. He kept innovating. Eventually coming up with this thing that you now know of as IKEA, but a lot of the things that IKEA does were first in the world.

So the catalog showroom, where you had catalog in your hand, but all the merchandise is there in front of you, so you can touch it. Well, that's revolutionary. IKEA invented that. Knock-down furniture, they didn't invent that but they perfected it. The warehouse showroom, they perfected that. So they did all these things. And then when they were pretty viciously attacked by the existing furniture industry, they were able to survive.

Moser: I think, I can't help but feel like maybe the cinnamon rolls are really the key differentiator, though, you know what I mean. It's impossible to walk out of an IKEA without a pack of those cinnamon rolls.

McKelvey: And the hotdog, oh, my God! the hotdog.

Moser: And the meatball. We're sitting here talking about IKEA. It's a restaurant and a furniture store. I mean, that really is, at the end of the day, what this is all about, right? Food, that's the answer.

McKelvey: Oh, food and a ball pit. I mean, if you can't dump the kids in the ball pit, you're missing the best four hours of couple time you're going to get this weekend. You know, bury the kids in balls and boost their immune system and get some shopping done. That's a great combination.

Moser: Oh, yeah. We have all been there. He is the author of The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time, you can preorder now wherever books are available. Mr. Jim McKelvey, thanks so much for taking the time to join us this week.

Frankel: Yes, thank you, Jim.

McKelvey:  Jason, thank you. Let me tell you one other thing, because why would anyone preorder a book? The answer is, because I'm giving away a comic book along with it.

Moser: Aha! Yes, the graphic novel idea.

McKelvey: Yeah. So, true confession, I don't particularly like reading business books, I think they're boring, and when I started to write this I thought, I didn't want to write another boring business book. So the original draft of my book was a graphic novel, it switched from text to graphic novels in a way that I thought was really cool, but then I gave it to my publisher and they were like, "You idiot, people use e-readers, people use audiobooks, no one is going to read this thing if it's half comic." So what I did was I split the comics off and I published it myself and you get a copy for free if you preorder. So if you preorder, you not only get the book but you get the comic book, and you'll learn about the world's most badass banker.

Moser: Well, that is an offer that we just can't refuse.

McKelvey: There you go, some bonus for Fool listeners.

Moser: Jim, thanks again.

Frankel: Yeah, thank you, Jim.

McKelvey: Matt, Jason, thank you so much. Bye-bye!

Moser: And that's going to do it for us this week folks. Remember you can always reach out to us on Twitter @MFIndustryFocus or drop us an email at [email protected], let us know what you thought of the interview, give us ideas for future shows or, hey, just tell us about the latest stocks you bought.

As always, people on the program may have interest in the stocks they talk about and The Motley Fool may have formal recommendations for or against, so don't buy or sell stocks based solely on what you hear.

Thanks to Austin Morgan for his constant innovation behind the glass this week. For Matt Frankel, I'm Jason Moser, thanks for listening and we'll see you next week.