This civilization has not yet fully recovered from the shock of its birth—the transition from the tribal or closed society, with its submission to magical forces, to the open society which sets free the critical powers of man.

Karl Popper

With his moustache and goatee, Mike Rowen looked the part of the tenacious new product champion. At credit card innovator Capital One, of course, it was the tenacity, not the looks, that counted. So when investors pressed the company to build an Internet presence in 1999, it made sense to ask Mike to spearhead the effort.1

As is usually the case at Capital One, Rowen led with a hypothesis. He reasoned that online accounts would tend to come from early technology ...

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