Tuesday, November 28, 2023

business story: Visa

great business + technology story

Visa: The Complete History and Strategy

"For the 11th largest market cap company in the world, Visa’s history and strategy is almost shockingly unknown. A huge portion of the world’s population uses their products on a daily basis (you might say Visa is… everywhere people want to be), but very few know the amazing story behind how that came to be. Or why Visa continues to be one of the most incredible and incredibly durable business franchises of all-time. (50%+ net income margins!! On $30B of revenue!)"


visa founder: Dee Hock - Wikipedia

They contacted a local jeweller and asked him to create a die from which he would cast sets of golden cuff links. One cuff link would contain a picture of half of the globe and the phrase, “the will to succeed.” The other link would contain the other half of the globe and the phrase, “the grace to compromise.”

"...After dinner, there was brief reminiscing about shared experiences and obstacles overcome. The the waiters passed among the diners and placed a small wrapped gift in front of each of them. Hock asked people to open the elegant boxes and examine the contents.

He then said quietly, “We wanted to give you something that you could keep for the remainder of your life as a reminder of this day. On one cuff link is half of the world surrounded with the phrase “the will to succeed“ and the second link is the other half of the world and the phrase ‘the grace to compromise.’ We meet tomorrow for the final time to disband the effort after two arduous years. I have one last request. Will you please wear the cuff links to the meeting in the morning? When we part we will take with us a reminder for the rest of our lives that the world can never be united through us because we lack the will to succeed and the grace to compromise. But, if by some miracle our differences dissolve before morning, this gift will remind us that the world was united because we did have the will to succeed and the grace to compromise" (paraphrased).

Then Hock sat down. There was a full minute of absolute silence as people examined their gift. And then the silence was shattered by one of Hock’s exuberant Canadian friends (who, I'm told, was also a fierce opponent of Dee's plan) exploded, “You miserable bastard!” The room erupted in laughter. The next morning everyone was wearing the cuff links. By noon, agreement was reached on every issue and VISA International came into existence."

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