Paul McKellar paves the way for safe mobile transactions with Square
If your best friend owes you money but never has cash, you need to download Square immediately and ring her up. This app and attachable card reader allows your iPhone to accept credit and debit cards to complete a safe, secure transaction effortlessly. One of the founders of Square, Paul McKellar, fills us in on the inspiration for this incredibly useful app, which (really, we mean it) you need to have if you don’t already.
- What was your inspiration?
Square was invented by Jim McKelvey when he lost a sale for a $2,000 glass faucet because his credit card terminal didn’t accept his customer’s AmEx. He realized that cell phones have all the technology required to process card payments, but with arduous bank applications and processes, it was very difficult to start accepting credit cards. Since then, a very large and strong team has developed and finessed the product into what it is today.
- Any updates coming?
Square is constantly being updated. Two very recent releases include Register, which aims to replace the outdated cash register, and Card Case, which makes paying local merchants much easier and more fun.
- What advice do you have for novice app developers?
People who are interested in starting their own companies should focus on trying lots of small projects — and making the projects for themselves. That way, they get a broad set of reactions and feedback, which helps them fine-tune their ability to measure if a product is going to succeed. And the effort is never wasted — even if it doesn’t take off on a large scale, they still created a product that was personally useful.
- What’s your favorite way to unplug?
Movies. I unplug by watching movies. Lots of them.
- Besides your smartphone, what’s your favorite gadget?
I love my Kindle. It does one thing well and that’s all I want. I can read it anywhere. Also, it feels durable.
We thank you, McKellar, for your hard work in making our plastic money card driven society ever more easy to navigate. You've earned yourself time to unplug with a movie (lots of them).
Apps I Love
Eating Healthy is a Snap with Dr. Oz’s App Pick
Photo credit: Getty Images
Dr. Mehmet Oz, famous cardiac surgeon and star of TV’s The Dr. Oz Show, spends much of his time giving nutritional guidance to his show’s viewers and patients. But we bet he never thought advice could get as simple as “take a picture of your food.”
Dr. Oz told USA TODAY that he likes the Meal Snap app. Just use your smartphone to take a photo of your food in front of you, and the app calculates how many calories you’re consuming. Bam—food recording is done.
Of course, the app is not always 100 percent accurate, but we still think the simple act of recording our food helps us be more conscious of what we’re eating. You can share your meals on Twitter, Facebook and foursquare if you want some extra motivation, and you can even view your eating patterns over time.