Part 1: Visa Founder and CEO Dee Hock: One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organisation.

stay hungry stay foolish fifty-two years ago our guest foresaw and implemented the foundations for the world’s first trillion-dollar organization back then Visa was little more than a set of unorthodox convictions about organizations slowly growing in the mind of a young corporate rebel today according to the visa 2019 annual report payments and cash volume for the year was a staggering eleven point six trillion dollars transactions processed on visas networks totaled 138 point three trillion dollars and the year saw some 3.4 billion visa cards in operation our guest is the man who imagined this reality who had a once deemed impossible vision fifty-two years ago a vision which has become a concrete reality today he is a man and who has a different view on what the next 50 years can deliver but that vision will require a radical shift in mindset for every single one of us his book one from many is much more than the story of the scarcely believable events that brought visa into being and led to its extraordinary success it is also the story of an introverted small-town child passionate to read dream and wander the woods the youngest of six born to parents but with an eighth grade education it is a story of confinement and boredom and school and church along with sharp rising awareness of the chasm between how institutions profess to function and how they actually do what they claim to do for people and what they actually do to them it is about three compelling questions arising from that awareness that came to dominate his life why our institutions everywhere whether political commercial or social increasingly unable to manage their affairs or individuals everywhere increasingly in conflict with an alienated from the institutions of which they are part why our society and the biosphere increasingly in disarray this is the story of a lifelong search for the answers to those questions it is a story of harboring four beasts that inevitably devour their keeper ego envy avarice and ambition and of the great bargain trading ego for humility and vie for equanimity avarice for time and ambition for liberty it is a story of events impossible to foresee that sent a man of 92 at the time 55 on an odyssey more than improbable than visa and infinitely more important 92 he is still in the midst of that Odyssey beyond all else it is the story of the future of something trying to happen of a 400 year old age rattling in its deathbed as another struggles to be born it is not the story of today’s guest although he is central to it it is not just your story or my story it is a story of all of us it is such an immense honor to welcome the founder and CEO of Meritus of visa and the author of the pioneering work the birth of the chaotic age and it’s updated version one from many visa and the rise of the chaotic organization the hawk a very warm welcome to the show well thank you thank you for inviting me in very nice introduction it’s fantastic savvy on the show Dee I know I’ve been chasing you for many years when I discovered the book I just had to have you on but it’s gonna be a multi-part show a multi-part series because there’s so much to tell and what we’re aiming for is to share the years preceding Lisa your background those formative years the concepts marinating in your mind and the struggles you had with a control obsessed world then we’ll turn to the next fifty when you’re left visa why you left why you listen to that inner voice that you refer to throughout the book as monkey mind and what we all need to do to make order from today’s incessant chaos before we share those early years let’s share some concepts lenses if you will through which the listener can view your story D for example your thoughts regarding control you tell us control requires denial of life life is uncertainty surprise hate wonder speculation love joy pity pain mystery beauty and a thousand other things we can’t imagine life is not about control it’s not about getting it’s not about having it’s not about knowing it’s not even about being life is eternal a perpetual becoming or it is nothing becoming is not a thing to be known commanded or controlled it is a

magnificent mysterious Odyssey to be experienced I thought this was a beautiful way to view your story Dee and I’d love if you’d give us a few words on your view of control in this world that’s obsessed with control the question of control is at least one of the things that’s central to my way of thinking we live in a world and we’ll probably get into this later in the series that has been totally dominated for the last three centuries or four centuries by the mechanistic hierarchical command and control organizations which we experience everywhere in religion in schools in commercial organizations in government and these notions of command and control go clear back to Aristotle and Plato but it was primarily Newtonian physics and Cartesian philosophy that made them the dominant way of thinking some three centuries ago and that led us to create societal organizations gave rise to what I would call the Machine metaphor and that is that we could through science and modern thinking create societal organizations in which we could push a lever make a command at one place and get a desired resulted another and for the last three or four centuries we’ve been building these organizations and pulling the lovers occasionally we get the desired result but more often we get unintended consequences which is lettuce into a world in which we’re in thousands of disconnected command encourage relax we savage the environment we’ve punched holes in the ozone layer that share we’ve created workplaces which people are trained to be nothing more than cogs and wheels and put endlessly replete some simple tasks you can look around and you see this everywhere and it’s led me to believe through a sequence of things in my life that this a lust for control this effort to control and make everything predictable is diametrically opposed to life and in its essence is really a death wish even though we don’t really recognize it that we have all individually developed an internal model of reality which is based on the machine and on mathematics and it’s simply added antithetical to human life and destructive of the biosphere that’s beautifully party and I love this concept of a constant evolution constant becoming that I mentioned in that little quote that I had from the book because this is absolute key to even the formation of visa and you coined this term which I absolutely loved the term K order trying to merge lifelong love of nature sixteen extraordinary years creating visa thoughts from the book and a conviction about nature of institutions into a single simple adjective and I’d love if you’d share your definition of chaotic well I coined in my later years after I had formed visa and after I’ve left it when I was on a crusade to discover the answer to some deeper questions about three questions that came to dominate my life and how they emerged my early years that is the three questions which still preoccupied my mind is why our institutions I’ll use the word institutions for all kinds of organizations why are institutions everywhere whether commercial social political or religious increasingly unable to manage their affairs the second question was why are people everywhere increasingly alienated from and in conflict with the organizations of which they’re part and the third question is why our society and the biosphere increasingly in disarray and it seemed to me as these questions

emerged and I try to pursue the answers that the questions themselves were obviously true and should be apparent to any thinking person so those questions still bother me and I’m still searching for the final answers but they were fundamental to everything that happened in my life I often feel as though I’ve lived four lives or maybe more because in my earliest years I was living in a community and at a scale that is similar to what most people’s great-grandparents live and then I moved into a sort of upwardly mobile young person’s life as my children were born and I fell into my first management job at 20 and lived through that period of time and and then my serendipitous circumstances I could have never imagined led to the creation of an obsession with creating the world’s premier system for the exchange of value which eventually became visa and you’ve kindly introduction told your audience about its dimensions today then I quit at the height of success he should have returned to the land and to nature and lived a period of 15 years like most people re live their retirement and then another set of serendipitous circumstances sent me off on an odyssey far greater than visa and I think much more important which has occupied the last 36 years of my life and the authoring of the books and I’m still at it I’m still working actively on that Odyssey so it’s been an extraordinary life and one that I never could have imagined an absolutely extraordinary story and I’d love to delve deep into that story because one of the things that really dawned on me through reading your book is that some of these ideas were formulated as at a young age and to start with your birth was within the month of the economic crash and the Great Depression which lasted through the 30s ending with the Second World War and it’s aftermath lasting through the 40s so your first 22 years were largely during a very abnormal chaotic time in a small uniquely Mormon community but I thought a great way to start was the story of you moving house where your family literally moved the house they picked it up and brought it to another place and just to guide the listener here there was six kids two kids died and some examples of the mindset you grew up with is epitomized by phrases like riches are not in the number of possessions but the fewness of once wish not want not and money’s manure it’s no good unless you spread it just to give context to your early years and I’d love if you shared those early years Dee yes well I was born in a tiny little village in Utah the foot of the Rocky Mountains between the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains in the Great Salt Lake a community that was completely dominated socially politically in every way by the Mormon Church and my mother and father were born and raised in Michigan where they had two children and my father had a tubercular a sister and at that time tuberculosis can only be treated by moving to Haim dry Mountain climate and because he had a few shirttail relatives in you thought my mother and father picked up and came across the country he Utah with nothing but a few suitcases and landed in North Ogden with only five dollars in their pocket and they relatives had found them launching in an old falling down brick house where I was born and after they moved to Utah they had four more children one died at birth and another daughter died at 13 of scarlet fever my father took any kind of laboring jobs you could find and my birth was almost

the month the beginning of the Great Depression that depression if you talk worst of all the states and a farmer living this little brick house was out in a very rural well most primitive farming community and a neighboring farmer had hit some financial difficulties and offered to sell my father an acre of land for monthly installments so my first memories were of him also acquiring a small frame house about a mile down the highway and with teams of horses and manual labor they jacked it up and rolled it on telephone poles down the highway cut off the poles and embedded them in sections in the ground and then lowered the little frame house onto that wooden foundation the house itself was no more than a thousand square feet one large room semi divided into living and kitchen no sink no running water no plumbing we carried water from house quarter a mile along the road in 5-gallon cans and only had a wooden eating stove and a wooden burning toe hot water had to be heated on top of a stove in pans and with no indoor plumbing to nothing but an outhouse hundred feeders whole way on the acre land my parents and the four children were raised there there was a screened-in sleeping porch unheated and the whole family slept there in my my parents and a double bed I was in a crib until I was probably five or six years old and my sisters were in another bed it gives you some idea of the conditions while we weren’t poor or I never felt poor we were certainly near the bottom of the economic circumstances in this little community of four or five hundred people our acre then we developed large garden berry patch raspberries cow kept chickens for eggs and meat raised rabbits for me nothing absolutely nothing was wasted every button was cut from worn-out clothing every piece of string was rolled up in a ball baling wire from hay the cow was collected every scrap of leather was saved resole shoes flour was sold in large colored sacks and sacks were used to make shirts and dresses all by hand and every bit of worn-out clothing was put in a rag bag to be cut up to make quilts and things that were too shabby for that we’re just used as rags and washed and laundered and reused still they literally fell apart so that was kind of the world I was born into it’s a fascinating view of the world as it was and those childhood experiences can very much form all of our worldviews and our mental models but one line especially stands out for me and I quote here here you said what is this chasm between how most institutions profess to function and how they actually do between what they claim to do for people and what they actually do to them what makes people behave in the name of institutions in ways they would never behave in their own name church school government all the same and these initial instances had a remarkable impact on you and your thinking started here where you became rebel against the way things we’re and Orthodox systems etc but I love have you shared how this started the ball rolling of your thinking about how you could change organizations or institutions our house was in the middle of farmland and not too far from where the farmland turned into marshes I was led to the Great Salt Lake and the mountains were there and of course it was a totally safe community children were free to

wander almost anywhere they wanted I early on never felt I belonged in that family my father is very tall and physically oriented and I was somewhat introverted and loved to be alone and wander outside in the fields adjoining woods and I was not close to my father we were constantly confronting one another he was of the school that said there’s only one way one right way to do everything and of course that was his way and I was always resented that and he and I were in conflict most of our lives not physical otherwise so I fell deeply in love with nature I just was intrigued by the countless varieties of insects in life and so on and also I learned to read for some reason I can’t even remember before I went to school and reading became another endless great passion of mine so I wasn’t close to any my siblings the only brother was 18 when I was born I never knew him he married moved back to Michigan and I wasn’t close either either of my sister’s hope I lived a pretty much an internal life in those early years before school in church so I suppose the feeling of being alienated from organizations had its early genesis in the family I was well treated I I was not in any way abused well I just didn’t have a sense of belonging and with school and Kirk came just incredible boredom and sense of confinement I didn’t like to be confined indoors I wanted to be outdoors so this sense of boredom of alienation I knew almost everybody in the town or a lot of them and I knew how they behaved as individuals but put them in the church building and they behaved entirely differently and also in school I knew how most of my teachers lived and they were fine people put them in a classroom and they become in my my view tyrants and the same thing in the church saying this is what you must believe and so a school in church I saw such a a clear distinction even then between nature and and human beings nature never seemed to have this problem there was no principal black bird in a flock there was no president tree in the forest and yet everything was competition and cooperation in nature the two just seen constantly a blended but move people into an organization of any kind and the divisive nough started it was either this or that was either true or it was false was he the writer it was wrong with good or it was bad my mind said these opposites always blended into one another and I couldn’t have articulated it this way at that time because I was very young but that’s where all these sensations were feelings emerge it was also a community in which I never heard the work I I never knew anybody had any rights but I certainly heard a lot about responsibilities responsibilities to family and friends the neighbors to church to schools to the state to everything work ethic was a huge thing in your life and you proved that in the formation of visa but it started a very young age one of the homilies that was repeated to me endlessly was root hog or die meaning you took care and earn your own living or you didn’t so from the

time I can remember as almost as a toddler I had chores I had feed rabbits feed chickens work in the garden get up at 5:00 a.m. with my parents to pick raspberries so work was just something I was born into and accepted as the essential element of what a man did what a woman did endless chores around the house – picking fruit at the piecework picking cherries and resin strawberries beans all kinds of vegetables and because of the war children were able to get the jobs of that kind very early so I every summer of my life was that I can remember even before he started school was involved in that kind of work and at 12 years of age I got my first I guess salary job working on a neighbor’s farm for 20 cents an hour and the first nickel ray is when monumental to me so I worked two years on that farm at 14 I for a birth certificate you had to be 16 to work around me machinery will I change the nine to a seven so it appeared I was born in 1927 got a work permit and a Social Security number and a job dumping slop in a canning factory and every summer I work as a cleanup man in a dairy of a war depo dipping chains and tar in 90-degree heat I work in a labor pool as a slaughterhouse killing animals and dissecting him for me I worked a sprain orchard another summer and at 19 really before marriage I was pulling up mortar in a wheelbarrow and keeping three bricklayers supplied with mortar and bricks I can remember being so proud of being able to do it a man’s work when I was 14 years old so I had a life of manual labor a fortuitous sports injury led you to a serendipitous moment one of your teachers in school spotted the talent in you that you had this opportunity to be a debater and debating ended up leading you to college which was instrumental in your future and school I of course as a young fellow was deeply into sports at that time the first two years of high school was at what’s called junior high school attached to the middle school elementary school and we went to the County High School only for the final two years in junior high school I was guard on a basketball team and a pitcher on a baseball team and dreamed of being a star at the high school on the teams and a life pretty much of sports I was also deeply into hunting and fishing because that was Hawaii of putting food on the table but when I went to high school I went out for the football team I’d never played tackle football I had no equipment so I had to use old used equipment for school provided and unfortunately early in the football season I experienced a concussion and also bruised the muscle in my lower leg from my knee to my ankle turned black and blue and I therefore could not continue with football and that ended my sporting career but at the high school fortunately I was a Dean of mentals called Dean of the boys and he was from my community and he knew of my passion for reading I became a speed reader and read eclectic ly and collected books the time I was five or six years old and that had developed a substantial vocabulary the way I describe my school years and this applied to all of them

listed that I was a young man who simply would not conform so that put me in conflict with all these organizations and I loved to learn I was passionate to learn but I hated to be taught I wanted to learn on my own and my own way but this Dean got to me and persuaded me to look at getting on the debate team and at that time for insects on public speaking was very very strong part of a Mormon school systems and they had to debate tournaments that were the equivalent of athletic Parliament’s culminating in a state championship so I fell in love with debating the idea of having to look at both the affirmative and negative sides of major questions like universal military training every year all high schools in the nation would have a common debate subject so they could have tournaments and in a debate tournament you alternated sides who would meet another team and you would take the affirmative they take the negative in the next round you would have to take the negative side of the question and they would have to take the affirmative well I fell in love with debating and in my senior year my partner and I entered of course the annual state competition which was conducted at a series of regional tournaments and then the winners of those tournaments I went on to debate for the state championship and my partner and I won eight consecutive rounds to win our regional tournament and we went to the state tournament and another eight consecutive rounds to win the state championship and I also was able to take a second place in extemporaneous speaking well that was the first time in my life that I realized maybe I had more abilities than I really thought I had which was a enormous boost to someone like me and my parents both had to leave school in the eighth grade to help support their families we were not a bookish family so I don’t know why I fell into it but no one in our family had ever gone to college so as a result of the state championship I got a small stipend and some scholarship to attend the small junior college in Ogden then called Weber College it’s now Weaver State University and there I continued to debate and with my partner won a national junior college debate – Herman meanwhile I have to go back a little bit and my first big love was nature my second big obsession was passion for reading and literature and the third was a extremely beautiful brown-eyed girl from a neighboring community Pleasant View she was the eleventh of twelve children raised on a tiny forty acre farm in a house no larger the one I was raised in she was a straight-a student I was a mediocre student getting an A’s and and everything I liked and content with a B or C and courses that bored me but we were both in the same classroom in rows of desks for the back of one desk was the front of another and in the way of all small boys seeking attention I snuck my hand behind me thinking I would tip her books onto the floor and create a little ruckus and without any expression of all in her beautiful eyes or slightest word to me with her fingernails she put four bloody crescent moons in the back of my hand and we fell in love

after a couple of dates together and were constantly with each other for the next six years until I had finished college and then we married at twenty at that time when we married I was carrying hard for the bricklayers and she could not go to college because her father died in high school and she had to go to work as a seamstress in a tailoring mill in order to help support her mother and younger sister but at 20 we decided the time had come and I was carrying on as she was still working as a seamstress I remember vividly as the winter approached of course mortar cannon to freeze and bricklaying came to a halt so I was out of work simultaneously her mill caught fire and burned down and she was out of work so we were newly married living in a basement apartment for which we paid $50 a month and we didn’t have a penny to her name we were just literally desperate a brother-in-law who was working for a finance company in Ogden called me one day when we were very very depressed and worried well we’d make our living and told me that another small finance office had need of a trainee to do collections and some work and I had never worked in doors in my life but he got me an appointment of the manager of the office the manager of the office seemed to like me and told me I had to drive to Salt Lake City to interview the supervisor my wife and I had an old car 34 Chevrolet we offer $200 and we set out for Salt Lake and halfway there the muffler fell out of the car so I had no choice but to rip it off and throw it aside and we went roaring into Salt Lake like a diesel truck with no muffler on the car and the supervisor I was only 20 years old I was a couple months shy my 21st birthday over a few months six months shot he liked me and so I obtained a job as a Prentice in this small finance office this had a manager and myself and one perk and why circumstances just couldn’t have predicted six months after I went to work there the manager suddenly quit to move to Idaho and going insurance business and they didn’t have any trained people in the office in Salt Lake so the supervisor made me acting manager of the office two months before my 21st birthday and I it was quite an experience so I decided I might as well do that I could I really couldn’t believe that you could make money sitting in an office in clean clothes I never experienced anything like him so I managed to hire an assistant myself who is as soon as I was and when I started out managing that office the average age of the three employees was a little below 21 this was a branch of a company headquartered in Los Angeles so I ain’t no attention to the operating manual I just literally threw it in the trash can set to work to run this office as as circumstances and ingenuity and my ability would allow and within the year it was bleeding the two hundred offices in the country in growth of volume of business in Louis delinquency and in lost recoveries from previous bad loans and that brought the office to the attention of the leaders of the company and/or senior people and all of a sudden this crushing fiscal hierarchical

management started to descend the supervisors would come in and complain that I wasn’t following the procedures in the manual and seemingly ignore the results I was getting they were paying me only $200 a month and my wife is back to work making $100 a month but the management their attitude was well if we let you violate the manual everybody else will start violating the manual and then where will we be in my reaction was well you’d probably be in paradise if they could emulate what we’re achieving here but they didn’t make any difference it’s what I call successful business failure where the results are excellent but the organization is so mechanical and control minded that it can’t tolerate deviation so whether you were on the good side of deviation or the bad side you were criticized and frowned on if not outright fired by these organizations which I had grown to detest but at that stage in my life I could see things clearly I could experience them but I haven’t gotten far enough along in my life to really become obsessed trying to find out why society was organized you’d many battles were at corporate wolves as he called them thee you were betrayed ostracized and taken advantage of much like Annie changemaker the pioneers take the arrows and you opened an office in Oregon transferred to Los Angeles and had the same experience and found yourself in Seattle from 23 you’d tried to climb the corporate ladder and over a period of 16 years despite getting extraordinary results by unorthodox methods you always found yourself clashing with the status quo but those years were fundamental in preparing you for what was to come and turned your interest in the three questions from interest into obsession I’d love if you shared the period of this 16 years despite these results you constantly clashed with the status quo yes I had in my early years rebelled against school and church and work but it wasn’t a rebellion like you would consider the present time in your face and boycotting things but it was simply a quiet rebellion I just refused to accept Orthodox ideas or be taught by authoritarian means or seek acceptance by conformity so I wanted to do things and use my own creativity and intelligence but I had immense success in my first management job at 21 but after a couple of years the central or core of the company that senior people found out I wasn’t paying attention to manual I was doing things in unorthodox ways and they started criticizing and pounding me to conform I just resisted that we were married of course we had one child and my wife was pregnant the second and we had taken a vacation and driven through Idaho had gone down the Columbia River Gorge through Oregon and I was just astounded by the beauty and forests little farms and we wanted to get away from Utah we I had told the company if we ever open any offs in Oregon I’d like to consider being transferred so they came back to me when my wife was on a couple months away from birth of our second child and told me they were opening three offices in Oregon and what I like to manage one and it was a town in Klamath Falls and I said yes I would but I am at that time I said well you’ve got to realize this transfer is at your request so we can’t pay any your moving expenses pay for you to go up and look at it so you’ll just have to say yes or no I just didn’t realize that was a good indication that

it was centralized bureaucracy and had no concern for the people who work for it but at any rate I accepted and drove to the town and I was appalled at it because it wasn’t in the beautiful wooded country was higher up on the inland plain and the beautiful lake that you can see on maps turned out to be full of algae and it’s on the edge of an Indian Reservation I called my wife I was ready to go home but she persuaded made it stick with it and see what we can do is hope I rose to open a new office I went to Seattle for a little training then went Klamath Falls open the office my wife brought my son son less than a year old in Klamath Falls and shortly thereafter we had our second child another son but to the work aspect of it I opened the office and again used unorthodox ideas and again had tremendous success it was profitable the fourth month it was open and was building and profits are increasing every month but the same thing happened again I had a supervisor who was turned out to be an alcoholic who come down to supervise the office and step out to his car every once in a while for a drink and he was of the same idea that old command-and-control why wasn’t i following procedures why wasn’t i doing things as they ought to be done and I’d been promised to raise he came down I asked him why I hadn’t received it he professed that my personnel file has been lost and going office and until they found that they couldn’t do anything well he was lying and I knew he was lying so I asked him if he would mind taking it a quarter hour so to have some coffee and told him that while you’re gone I’ll find the personnel file if that’s all it’s holding up the race he took a fence and make a long story short we’re in odds with one another so they offered me a transfer who los angeles has an assistant to the head of advertising and promotion and i was pretty naive young affinage i had no idea what los angeles was like I was so busy hunting and fishing and and enjoying nature because that was one of the benefits of living in this little Oregon mountain town so I took off Los Angeles to meet people and my wife’s to fly down later with our two young boys both toddlers and I located a duplex to live in in the outskirts for Los Angeles but I was simply appalled when we got there because the massive traffic it was in the early days when smog was so thick that you couldn’t see more than a block everybody in Los Angeles at that time burned their household trash and incinerators in the backyard and that combined with exhaust from cars and industrial pollutants reduced those ability often to about a city block you could even see it in your house kind of a bluish haze and when you’re driving a car couldn’t rub your eyes or the pollutants got into them and you’re be watering and crying so you couldn’t drive to pull over and I was appalled at eerie I hated it I had to give up all my hunting and fishing but I was there and had no money and was pretty much trapped and I found the same problem I was reporting to supposedly in charge of opening doing the marketing and and helping open new offices where I would travel to the office and work with man

I’d really get him to understand how to open the offices and how to build them but again the same thing happened I found myself in this 12th floor building in downtown in LA because of my extensive debating background and and speaking of melody I ended up one of my duties was writing speeches for executives of the company and even at times writing letters I could sign and I thought that was criminal executives a companies take all my ideas and my work my abilities and presented as theirs and take all the credit to me it was abusive but anyway my lecture I reported to I had no respect for he would fabricate business trips a to Detroit when he was really going there to pick up a car he’d bought and drive it back to Los Angeles I realized after a year or two that the character and nature of the management of the company was just contrary to the way I believe in a grown-up the things I wanted to do and I think it’s important to realize that because of my upbringing I never tasted alcohol till I was nearly 20 I was not addicted to smoking partially because of the old Mormon training and had a firm conviction that there was more equity in justice in the world then I come to experience so these things affected man in no time I was again across wise for the company and I was trying as hard as I could to change the company and they were trying as hard as they could to make a conformist cog in a wheel of me and one of us won that battle but in Los Angeles my wife was pregnant with our third child I was still in my twenties we got to the point there was no alternative but to leave the company and so I found myself in this horrible city that I disliked intently with a few deaths on furniture we had bought no money in the bank no friends no family just my wife pearl and I and our two children with the other one on the way I was out of work and had no idea what to do what later came to recognize as a bout of depression the first thing that occurred to us we were without income and I had these three people to support that I should go and apply for unemployment so I drove to the unemployment office Hart across the street from it there was a line of people waiting to get in because it was a time of mild recession and I simply could not get out of the car i sat there for well over an hour an hour and a half trying to persuade myself that I was entitled unemployment compensation but I just couldn’t do it I felt that it was contrary to everything I believed in and the work ethic I had acquired and I had a feeling that if I ever got out of the car and got in that line something inside me would simply die after an hour and a half of torment I had to drive home and explain to a seven-month pregnant wife hi if I couldn’t do it you didn’t have it easy this is very very clear and when people look at what you achieved when you look back on successful people like yourself oftentimes we know they have challenges but you had extreme challenges here you’re into the depth of depression in a town where you knew no one where the corporate dragons kept culminate for you despite your success where did you pick up from here sitting there an hour and a half in front of the unemployment queue where do you go from there when I got home from the unemployment office I just swore that I was never going to be in this position again that one way or

another I was was going to get out of debt and I would never again have more debt then I had money in the bank I simply went out and scrambled and wrote resume looked in the paper and in every conceivable way started to find employment when I found a job with a tiny finance company that was owned by a wealthy man a multimillionaire he had obtained it small own license and tried to develop the small own business and the first manager had made some very bad laws and and left and he needed to get it cleaned up and see if I could do something with it at the same time I managed to find a second job with a plumbing Association who’s in quarters or in San Francisco and they needed someone to canvass the Los Angeles area to try to get plumbers and plumbing contractors to join the Association so I took that job also and neither one knew that I was working for them and I found a third odd job trying to help someone who was thinking of trying to get a loan license and because all of these required me to be outside a lot in the finance company and collecting accounts I can actually work all three jobs with any of them knowing I was working another job and so I work night and day for a year and a year and a half later I had paid all of our debts and we had saved a thousand dollars or so and we had a good enough income that I could lead the plumbing and the man who is trying to get a loan license and concentrate on the small office owned by the millionaire so I started working that job full-time but I had developed a number of habits from my work at this point to go back a little one my passion with reading before these events way back when I had my first job I had continued constant reading I had a library card at one time and I hated it because whenever I read a good book I wanted to keep it and I couldn’t markup library books and I like to talk back to them writing notes in the margin so I started accumulating a library through all these difficult years and by the time they were over I had a library probably in the area of a thousand books so my reading and studying had continued all these years and debating had given me a lot of persuasive ability I lost my fear of public speaking became quite good at it but debate had taught me that you had to master four ways of looking at everything if you were to deal with change and understand anything you had a master how things had been which is history how did they get to be what they are so how they were had been you had a master how they were that is be very realistic about the present circumstances and what you had to deal with the third way is to master how they might become and that’s to use all your other knowledge and look into the future and see how many alternatives their work the fourth way which fascinated made shaped my life was to look at how things ought to be and when you get in how things ought to be you get into all kinds of morality and ethics and equity and fairness and you had to try to project and predict the future my schoolwork in college had exposed me for to a whole range of

things anatomy biology archeology history philosophy and from that I developed a dislike of detail but a love of understanding and concepts and ideas I was less interested in what and when and how but tremendously interested in why once I had in Los Angeles this small office cleaned up and beginning to grow again the owner of it come in one day and said he was really sorry but he was bringing in an older man who would run the company and I could continue to work there but I would be under this older man who the owner thought develop it much more rapidly and and spread out and this man was over me proved to be someone who had been a senior executive in a finance office company that had offices throughout California that somehow failed I didn’t really know how or when or why well that was a betrayal in my opinion but I had to live with it because I needed to make a living so I decided to make the rest of it this new man came in immediately persuaded the owner to take over the leases on three of the offices of the former company because they were vacant now and persuaded him that he could do this work better by buying non-recourse contracts from auto dealers covering the sale of cars so he took the company in a very different direction then I thought it was right but I decided to stay with it and see what happened the new man would handle all the relationships of the owner and with the bank opening offices and I would be supervising them the credits and collection so my first supervision some months after we started took me to the three different offices in the outer lying areas in Los Angeles and I was just appalled at the quality of the contracts they were buying and the volume wasn’t there buying him so I wrote a a rather critical review at all gave it to the man I was now working for and he said although that was that was not possible he didn’t agree with me and so on and had ordered me not to show it to the owner of the company said he would take care of it discuss it and we would go on so we continued down that path after then he disappeared owner came to me and said would I ask me if I would take over the whole thing once again promised me ten percent of the profits if I were successful and gave virtually no raise at that time and I remember asking him Assange was Bill Bannerman I said bill why is it that people like yourself will pay so much money to get into trouble and so little money to get out of it and he of course had no real good answer but anyway I I took charge of the company again now one of the offices this boss of mine as open was in within three or four miles of my home which was a crosstown from the small loan office that I had originally been working to build I immediately moved all of the bad paper and contracts and the remnants of the small finance company into the office near my home got out of the leases as best I could disposed of all the furniture and the other offices and concentrated in this one office of cleaning it up and seeing

if I could salvage it and during those years I had developed some habits that served me well throughout my life and that was I never in all my schooling took any homework home I found I could get passable grades by just attending classes doing my own independent reading so I sort of compartmentalized life Gulen Church I would never let interfere with my home life and my family and make my relationships with pearl and I felt that I would work as long and hard as I could in the business offices during the day and end of evening but I absolutely refused to take it home or to do anything on weekends I felt at that time belong to me and I was not going to pollute it with with the other side of my life so I set to work and over the next few years I managed to clean up all the bad debt and in fact recover a fair amount from former customers who defaulted I managed to build the office up as I had done in Utah limit Falls until it was profitable of course in the way you build receivables was by building it getting a line of credit from a bank you’d make a loan and then you plunge that as collateral on your loan from the bank and you could borrow up to 80 or 90% of what you is loaned out at lower rates than you were charging and therefore you could leverage your your limited capital at probably 10 to 1 or 12 to 1 it’s difficult the way banking and finance functions so I built this office and then a train carefully trained to our young people and opened off small loan offices in two other adjacent suburbs of Los Angeles that were pretty stable areas and over the four or five or six years built this little company until there were three very successful offices and it was profitable in it add solid accounting and so on well but of course we were dependent as was the owner on our bank lines for a good deal of what we loan well at some point in time for reasons I don’t really know there was a bit of a recession and the banker felt that they could invest their money in other ways rather than loading us 80% of the value of our receivables so they announced that they were withdrawing our line of credit and the owner and I were not able because of the economic conditions they get aligned with another Bank and so it was necessary to sell the company and that was what we had intended to do anyway in time and at that time if you had small loans and a good clean portfolio you could sell it to any one of the major companies for it the 25% premium so that they could have on a larger operation without the expensive difficulty of building enough so I contacted four major companies finance companies one headquartered in Canada the others in the United States and told of that we were selling the company and all four of them are anxious to come in spread the paper make their own analysis of the quality and then offer to buy out all our offices furniture I take over our employees as a 25% premium

above the total accounts receivable one of the companies I didn’t care for at all because some of the officers of the finance company I had worked for all my early years had gone to work for it and I had no respect for them but they turned out to be the high bidder we accepted their bid and sold the company and the profits to the owner were in the range of half a million dollars to my mind he owed me ten percent but after everything had been concluded the company sold the papers time i sat down with him and he took the position that was absolutely a lie and incorrect that what he had promised me was ten percent of the profits of the company from its inception which included all of the losses before I joined the company and all of the losses while I was under this man he had brought in there proved to be absolutely incompetent and his argument was that therefore the bonus was just about enough to cover the prior losses so the company had net zero I have us entitled to nothing I was just shocked that someone would resort to those tactics but there I was I had never sued anybody in my life I didn’t believe in lawsuits and my alternatives was to sue him or to simply swallow my disappointment and get on with my life so I remember vividly saying bill it’s apparent to me that you need and want this money much worse than I do and I got up and walked out of the office never saw him or spoke to him again but by fortuitous circumstances one of the companies that were it was an unsuccessful bidder came to me and asked me if I would like to go to work for them supervising their entry into the small loan business in poor Northwest States well moved to Seattle to do this and I was just delighted to put la behind me I flew to Seattle met the regional manager who I would be working for liked him a great deal while we were working with veteran in Los Angeles we managed to save enough to buy an old brain and brown shingle house built at the turn of the century that had a large lot some 200 feet deep it was zoned for apartments but at a beautiful dome and so that that was where I could raise organic vegetables and have a few fruit trees and maintain my connection to nature the world I loved I managed to sell that without a realtor we’d paid I think something like fifteen thousand dollars for it and I sold it for twenty nine thousand and for the first time in our life we could go to Seattle back to the area I wanted to live in with enough money to buy another house and have it eight or ten thousand left over so we moved to Seattle within reasonable financial condition and I took the job with this giant national company the year and a half after I took that job as regional manager over me decided to go into the mobile home business and left the company and they brought in a manager from some other area who turned out to be exactly like the people I had worked for many times before and disliked intensely I was then supervising the entry of this company into the small loan business primarily been involved in financing automobile dealers will you manage to get more licenses in

Washington Oregon Montana and Utah and I was traveling supervising almost and I did not like and was Senate cross purposes with the new regional manager and at one point I was supervise one of the offices and discovered the manager had been making loans to himself under other names simply creating fraud and found him found out about it after he’d only made two or three what we call fence post loans where he fake applications and contracts signed him himself and then cashed the checks under another name so I wrote this up fired the manager wrote up my report and each time I wrote a report on an office he went to the regional manager and theoretically – they had offices in New York I wrote this report fired the man returned to the regional office only to be told by the regional manager that I was not to send my report in New York that problems of this kind were handled privately and we didn’t reveal them to superior officers this I refuse to do I just told him absolutely I would not be a party to it and the net result is I had to leave the company he simply would not tolerate me considered it insubordinate so I found myself in Seattle once again out of work but not quite so desperate now I have to go back a little because when we were in Los Angeles with three small children my wife decided that she wanted not to go back to university so she enrolled in a local university as a freshman to get a teaching certificate with a major in speech and hearing therapy so she could work with children with disabilities in the school systems she was finished one year in Los Angeles and when we moved to Seattle she registered again at the local community college finished her second year while I was working for the big company and had enrolled in University of Washington in finish for two years and get her degree we sat down and talked over what we want to do I made a decision that I was going to no longer try to climb the corporate ladder in the commercial world that I would engage in what I called retirement on the job I’d accept a lower salary that I’ve been making I would find a bank that was headquartered in Seattle and I would make my judgment not on salary not my appraisal of the quality of people that were running and working for the company I would not cheat them at all I would give them the full value for their money well I knew that I could take almost any job in banking and do a creditable job with a quarter of my intellect and abilities and time therefore I would use the rest of my time at things I enjoyed which is nature and backpacking organic gardening and while I was in Los Angeles I taught myself to paint with oils and I loved that and I would concentrate on my family that I adored on my extracurricular activities things I love to do and she would go to work as soon as she was out of university in the local school system and between the two of us we thought we would be able to educate our children without there having to go into debt your description there of life will ring true to so many people so many listeners listen to the show and we’re gonna get into that philosophy and your philosophies of how to deal with that etcetera etcetera because it’s still happening it’s got

even worse if the corporation’s I’ve got bigger but let’s talk about what happened next because the darkest days before the dawn you’re in that zone here but let’s talk about what you did next and then we’ll get into the end of this successful business failure and towards the birth of visa after we made the decision I started contacting banks that were headquartered in Seattle I didn’t want to have to move out of the area and felt in a fight found employment with somebody headquartered in Seattle I could work there for the rest of my days and be happy because we love the Seattle area and I started the process of interviewing I interviewed with one or two that I felt were just simply too small to be able to do what I wanted to do I interviewed the largest bank in Seattle all my years is debating and collecting accounts had enabled me to develop some enormous skills and one of them was to draw out people when I was taking loan applications and to be able to judge pretty accurately whether they were telling the truth about the Seattle first national large bank I interviewed a number of officers in their financial areas that I was interested in and found that almost with no exception I could draw them out and they would start criticizing their own their organization that none of them felt a hundred percent happy and I could sense that this was not an environment I wanted the second largest bank National Bank of Commerce was amazingly different when I walked in is that branches all through northern Washington was a sizable Bank had been in business for great many years but when I went into their headquarters to be interviewed all of their officers from the chairman of the board on down through all their senior vice presidents sat in one big open floor of a modest five or six storey building and there were no private offices there was a nice receptionist around the perimeter of the office were private although sitting rooms where any one of the officers could take people if privacy was necessary but they just sat in very nice widely spaced desks so when you walked into this office you could see whether the person you wanted to talk to was there or was busy or was not busy my first interview is the personnel manager and I had a Sikh and this big open-air office took me into one of the sitting-rooms it wasn’t really an interview and asked me to fill out any forms but it was just a very pleasant very intense conversation for a couple of hours well he asked me about myself and what I’d done and what I was interested in and I can ask him about his view of the bank and the bank and their policies and when I was through talking to him he’d walk me over to the president of the bank and introduced me very nicely and said he’d enjoyed our interview and thought it would be prudent and we talked in the presence of the bank president of Bank was a Maxwell Carlson played a big part in my subsequent life took me into a room and it was a very kind gentleman well-dressed and three Boothby soon nice watch change the low fashion we had another equally fascinating conversation and he introduced me to two or three of the other senior office so these people spent the better part of half a day in interviewing and there were no tests there were no forms to fill out I just felt instinctively comfortable I didn’t really know why but I liked the people of the net result of all these

interviews was the largest bank made me an offer to come them with them as a vice president at a salary maybe three quarters of what I was accustomed to making I put off the largest bank hell I heard from the National Bank of Commerce and in a few days they called and I was astonished but what it was said the senior vice president and personnel called me and said well we don’t really have a job for you but we think we would like to have you join the bank so if you would like to come we’ll give you a series of temporary assignments in various areas of the bank or I recently confident that within a year or so we’ll have something that’s suitable for you at somewhat higher salary and he offered me a salary about a little over half of what I was accustomed to making I asked him if he could excuse me for just a moment or two and hold the line turned to my wife and explained the circumstances and said for the first time in my life sridhar I think I should make the decision based on the quality of people on my sense of how they behave rather than salaries and titles he was agreeable and so I went back told the man I would be very happy to accept his offer I was assigned first to one of their major branches to go in and the report directly to the branch manager who would introduce me to all aspects of the branch not by just talking to me but by letting me do the work therefore I would go into a teller cage and become a killer and then I would go into the commercial loan branch area with the other officers and learn that perspective I would go into the accounting part of it and work better so for the first time in my life I found myself with no authority a no title a mediocre salary and exposure not a training in the bank but then exposure to all aspects of that bank’s operation which intrigued me no end because I wanted to learn how the whole bank function his people functions I started that and one of my jobs at the branch when I was in the teller cage was if the teller couldn’t balance the cage at the end of the day one of my assignments is go to the basement and search through all the garbage cans to see if I was a good fine daily and he lost deposits or any documents that met have been inadvertently discarded I remember vividly being in the basement of the branch waiting for chewing gum and discarded lunches and all kinds of garbage looking for lost deposits at first I was extremely angry and then I relied on some philosophy and I had developed a little mantra that I used before I got to the bank and which has served me well through my whole life and that is whenever I was approaching someone senior positions of responsibility even the president of a bank or any executive that I might be intimidated by I would silently say to myself I am as big to me and is great to me as you are to you therefore were equal and if anybody under me approached me over anyone over whom I had some authority who might be intimidated I would reverse it and whisper or think silently in my mind you are as big to you as I am to me therefore were equal and when I was in the basement of the bank sorting garbage that little mantra came back to me and

it reminded myself that people who start garbage or collected are equals to the greatest person in the land therefore I would simply dig into that garbage and I’d find what needed to be found and I wouldn’t whine about it I’d realize that I’m as a country kid from Utah and sorting garbage no more demeaning than working in a slaughterhouse at the end of a year of this kind of life and my wife finishing her education Maxwell Carlson who is the president of the bank called me into his office and said young man that’s the way he always addressed me were very pleased with your time at the bank and hope you have found it reasonably Pleasant and informative but we’re going to take a license from the Bank of America to issue BankAmericard and as you know Seattle First National Bank has already entered their credit card business with a proprietary card of their own which is only good in Seattle and he went on to explain that he had elected to take a license from Bank of America hard offered by the Bank of America because they had developed a successful program in California with which I was probably for me there said yes sir I realized all that he said so we would like to be in business within 90 days which is an extremely short period of time and we’d like to borrow you to help us with this operation and we’ve selected one of our experienced branch managers is not far from your age to be the vice president in charge of it you would have the title of an assistant vice president and the two of you if you want to consider these assignments would go to California with senior vice president senior vice provost of the bank for a week of training I was a little don plus because I torn up all my credit cards when I was working three jobs and never wanted another one I had realized that the Bank of America who had gone into the business while I was still in LA had lost their shirt that got in the red for millions of dollars earlier and the 50s had refused to I can’t get out of the business and haven’t reorganized it and eventually turned it into a a statewide credit card that was very successful and profitable so I knew all this I remember saying well mr. Carlson you should know that I have no use for credit cards I don’t like them I corn all mine up and not had one for ten years and you should also know that I’ve been running operations where I was the senior person for 16 years and I think I would be a terrible assistant anything he smiled at me and he simply said well young man if that won’t bother you too much I don’t think it will bother me [Laughter] oh well he said why don’t you meet mr Cummings who is the branch manager he was assigning why don’t you do have lunch together and see what you think of each other and what you think of the opportunities I think you would have so I said well mr. calls and I’ll be happy to do that and I met Bob Cummings his name had lunch with him we were immediately at odds he was not thrilled with the idea of having some non-bank outsider be one of his principal officers and opening this and I was not controlled with the idea of being under

a branch manager who I didn’t consider had any ideas out of consumer credit the more we talked the more our initial antagonism faded and I had the sense that bob was a very bright man very brilliant thinker and a bit of a closeted rebel himself he became a little involved with my experience and understanding and a few of my unorthodox ideas that I shared with him we both had a very high regard for maximal Carlson made president of the bank and we decided that if he felt this was the right thing for us we had an obligation to him to at least try it so we both accepted the appointments and thus for the first time I was in that the credit card business and I didn’t realize it at the time fully realized that I was about to step on one of those little jewel bearings on which a life can turn in a totally unexpected direction d they say the darkest day comes just before the dawn and you were just about to retire on the job as you call us but then I love this you listen to your gosh you looked for good people and good vibes good energy off people you felt that and you went with your good and only a year 12 months after rifling through waste bins you were on the verge of launching the world’s first trillion-dollar business and I look forward to discussing that with you in depth and all your philosophies and theories that you baked into that business the hawk thank you very much thank you and I look forward to continuing our discussion