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Entrepreneur Speaks to New Venture Class

Recently, students studying entrepreneurship had a chance to hear from serial inventor Ron Klein, the inventor behind the magnetic strip on billions of credit cards worldwide, as part of the final meeting of Sean Lux's new venture formation class. On Nov. 13, the College of Business class got some sage advice from the free-thinking triathlete, who insists that anyone could have accomplished what he has achieved, including starting his own business, consulting for a variety of industries and overhauling the way payments are processed.

Ron Klein speaks to students

"Basic, simple thinking works. We tend to complicate issues. If we just ask 'what am I dealing with?' we can obliterate challenges," he shared.

Klein didn't stop once his first invention made it big. He proceeded to automate the bond trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. He developed the multiple listing system for the National Board of Realtors. And he invented a new nutrition system for chickens.

The serial inventor attributes his success in so many fields to seeing opportunity and persevering. He said "don't quit three feet from gold. When you reach a challenge, think about the given and the goal." He emphasized reducing problems to their basic principles and goals and proceeding from there.

At 78, Klein has had a lifetime of experiences, including retiring at 35 only to return to work creating "simple solutions to problems that no one has thought about yet."

The students in Lux's class are a part of the College of Business' graduate entrepreneurship track. They received career and life advice from the inventor, who also engaged them in a discussion of political solution-making. "I'm a great advocate for internships and getting out into the world after college to figure out what you want to be," Klein said. "Then you'll find out why you need extended education."