As of the late 1980s, “The credit card business was very profitable but was run by [traditional] bankers,” says Fairbank. “Everybody in America had the same terms, and half of America couldn’t qualify.”
Fairbank thought there ought to be more ways to judge credit worthiness. So, he and a partner persuaded one bank to let them rebuild the credit predictive system. After four years, they were still running on “the vapor of passion and belief.”
Then, they landed a behemoth: the credit-card balance transfer. Their division became Capital One Financial, and within a decade, balance transfers became standard.
“My dad taught me a fundamental truth,” Fairbank says: “that success isn’t about titles and compensation. It’s about having a dream, a quest.”
— Adapted from “When Becomes a Quest,” Knowledge@Wharton, http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu.