Inventor of the credit card magnetic strip talks to Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance

newsintern@bradenton.comJuly 18, 2013 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Sarasota resident Ron Klein has earned his moniker as the "Grandfather of Possibilities."

As the inventor of the magnetic strip on the credit card, credit card validity checking system, multiple listing services for Real Estate, and BOND quotation and trade information for the New York Stock Exchange, Klein is somewhat of an overachiever.

"I solve situations by simplifying them," Klein said.

The 78-year-old Philadelphia native has earned his spot as an exceptional entrepreneur, business consultant, inventor, and mentor.

"I'm going to simplify every single situation and turn the situation and I want you learn to simplify and turn situations, too," Klein told a group of small business owners during his presentation to members at the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance.

The magnetic strip on the credit card is only one of his many simplified solutions.

In the early 1960s, merchants would have to look at a long list of printed account numbers -- given to them by credit card companies -- consisting of negative accounts to determine valid credit card accounts from invalid ones. This process was time consuming and needed simplifying, Klein said.

"It was basically a very simple invention," Klein said. "I approached the situation by asking what's the given, and what's the end result we're looking for."

By taking a piece of tape and recording the long list of account numbers on that piece of tape, Klein was able to paste that on the back of the plastic card, which he built to function like a tape recorder.

"I saw that I could build a system to record the long data on the magnetic strip," Klein said when relating the magnetic strip on the credit card to how a tape recorder functions. "You're basically simulating and mimicking a tape recorder."

Even though he did not profit from this invention, Klein went on to profit from other developments, including a nutrition system to raise chickens effectively in only eight weeks.

"We really look at alliances to bring entrepreneurs who have the spirit of development," business development director at Lakewood Ranch Business Alliances, Robin Parsons said. "Getting Rob Klein here today is a great value."

Klein is not slowing down. Despite his previous accomplishments, he looks to make more impacts on the world.

"I classify myself as someone who is still a young man," Klein said during his presentation. "There are old people, and those people who have had one too many birthdays."

Klein's latest project is his involvement with Empowering Small Business, an organization designed to mentor small business owners.

"We are a resource for small business owners," owner of Empowering Small Business, Dave Kauffman said. "We are a business to help other businesses grow."

Klein has been a member for two months.

"Empowering small business is everything I believe in," Klein said.

"I've retired to be a speaker and consultant but every speaker needs a tool," Klein said.

Klein's book "The Grandfather of Possibilities" tells his story.

"His inventions have affected every business and attendee here," said Annette Gueli, owner of Pro-Motion Notions and incoming chairman of Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance. "His abilities to inspire others is incredible."

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