Dreamforce 2014 is right around the corner! To gear up, we’ll be giving you the lowdown on some of the most exciting Dreamforce keynote speakers and events going on at this year’s conference. Today, get to know keynote Max Levchin with these 9 fast facts!
1. Max Levchin is currently working as the CEO and co-founder of Affirm. Previously, he worked at PayPal and Yelp, and currently sits on the board of directors at Yahoo.
2. Levchin was born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1975. Levchin moved to Chicago with his family at 16 years old as a Jewish refugee from the Soviet Union. After a few years of high school, he moved on to the University of Illinois.
3. A man of many talents, Levchin served as an executive producer on the movie Thank You For Smoking. The movie received two Golden Globe nominations.
4. Trained in Computer Science at the University of Illinois, Levchin’s first major role was as the CTO of PayPal. In a 2002 article, Businessweek trumpeted Levchin as a “fraud-buster” for his contributions to PayPal’s online security. His security software was so effective that it was implemented by the FBI to detect fraudulent wire transfers.
5. Levchin has appeared at Stanford’s “Startup School” event to offer lessons that he has learned over his career to entrepreneurs. In his most interesting piece of advice, he revealed that he thinks of himself as a “15 year old girl” when developing a new product as a way of gaining insight into how the customer will interact with it.
6. In 2002, Levchin was named the under-35 year old “Innovator of the Year” by the MIT Technology Review.
7. Levchin recounts that when first living in the US, he would sit in front of the TV as a teenager, repeating the words in an attempt to sound “more Midwestern.” He believes this immigrant experience made him a better entrepreneur, as he was more willing to reinvent himself and his products in the future. If he could reinvent the way he spoke, he thought, making product adjustments would be easy in comparison.
8. A member of the “PayPal mafia,” Levchin is connected to several other Dreamforce keynotes from various times in his life. He worked at PayPal with Reid Hoffman and Jeremy Stoppelman, and went to the University of Illinois at the same time as Marc Andreessen.
9. Levchin works with a political lobbying group led by Mark Zuckerberg and Reid Hoffman, with the goal of enacting immigration reform. He briefly tells his own immigration story in this interesting video.
Max will be part of a session called “The Future of Innovation from the ‘PayPal Mafia,’ along with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Yelp CEO and co-founder Jeremy Stoppleman. Click here to see the full list of sessions, and we can’t wait to see you there!