Scott: I’m extremely excited and jacked up a little bit level above my normal crazy mode to have such a great guest. Steph and I are honored not only to call an acquaintance, but a friend. Somebody that I enjoy visiting with. When I run into them, he and his wife are two of the most amazing people on this planet Earth. We’re so lucky to call them friends. We’re honored to have the man, the myth, the legend, the grandfather of possibilities, our friend, Ron Klein, joining us. Ron, how is it going?
Ron: Thank you so much for having me.
Scott: Ron, you’ve done some amazing things. For those that don’t know who you are, go check out The Grandfather of Possibilities and you learn a bit more. Ron, why don’t you share a couple of the things that paved the way for where you’re at?
Ron: I changed a little bit of how people exist in this world. I classify myself as a strategic adviser, a mentor, an innovator and inventor, a speaker. I try and put them all in there, but mostly I’m a problem solver. In solving all these problems, I invented the magnetic strip on the credit card that changed a few billion people. I develop the MLS system for real estate, the voice response for the banking industry where the key with your phone and get your account information back in voice. I had spent a lot of time on Wall Street. I automated the New York Stock Exchange. I developed the bond quotation and trading system and the treasury system and did a little bit and I’m not empty yet. I failed retirement three times.
Scott: Let’s talk a little about some of the Wall Street stuff. It’s such an interesting story how you came and identified that as an opportunity. You find solutions to problems and solve some things relatively easy compared to what the problem is, what most people think. Wouldn’t you agree with that?
Ron: I agree. The way I do it is very simple because my whole mantra is simplicity. There is no such thing as a problem. A problem is the frustration. I turn it into a challenge and when I hear the word challenge I say, “There’s got to be a gift behind every challenge or an opportunity.” I simplify it and I say, “What is the given and what is the solution I’m looking for and everything else in between is the journey.” That’s the minutia. I don’t get caught up in that. If I want to go from point A to point B and that’s the purpose, that’s what I solve. It’s simplifying everything. The simplest challenge I ever had in my life was the credit card solution.
I was born in 1935, so I wasn’t privileged. My dad was a mail carrier. My mom worked in a department store. My most exciting thing were my toys, the old shirt cardboard that comes from the cleaners and a roll of masking tape so I can build anything. That was my education. For my birthday, I expanded. I would get a bowl of string and then it can be even more innovative. I was drafted into the service in the Korean War. I was fortunate because I had the GI bill and without the GI bill he couldn’t have gone to school. I went to school, I took electronic engineering and mathematics. I’ve got myself a couple of good jobs. I was known as a problem solver.
What happened was that a developer or a director of a very large department store came to me and said, “We have a problem and we’d like to see if you can solve it.” It takes too long to make a charge purchased. At that time, they didn’t call credit cards, credit card purchase. They called them a charged purchase. “What do you mean?” He said, “The merchant has to write it up and then we give them a big book every month of all the negative account numbers and he’s got to go through that and look up all those numbers. It takes so long and the burden’s on the wrong person, the burden is on the merchant.” I said, “Let me think about that a few minutes. What you want to do is take the burden off the merchant and speed up the process. That’s pretty simple.”