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Ebook Inside Intuit: How the Makers of Quicken Beat Microsoft and Revolutionized an Entire Industry by Suzanne Taylor read! Book Title: Inside Intuit: How the Makers of Quicken Beat Microsoft and Revolutionized an Entire Industry
The author of the book: Suzanne Taylor
Edition: Harvard Business Review Press
Date of issue: October 1st 2003
ISBN: 1591391369
ISBN 13: 9781591391364
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 790 KB
City - Country: No data
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Reader ratings: 4.3

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Took a few notes of interesting points. Overall its an easy read but as the other reviews have noted its a very one sided, rosy story. The reader learns nothing about competition (why they failed, what they are doing etc)... the authors are soo rosy that after the end of the book you wonder why Intuit isn't as many industries as Google, Microsoft etc...

Page 17
"Both insisted their software trim time spent on these three basic tasks, refusing to load their program with extraneous bells and whistles. The features set would be minimal, but execution had to be excellent - the program had to run intuitively "

Page 21
"LeFevre and Cook decided on three marketing goals for Intuit
(1) understanding fundamental consumer needs in personal finance,
(2) designing a complete solution to meet those needs, and
(3) making the solution intuitive to use"

Page 67
Cook and Monson agreed that Intuit's product managers had to act as champions for their products, embodying the voice of customer not just for the product development and marketing communications but also for technical support, and overseeing the critical feedback loop between technical support and the product team.

First product manager Mari Baker from Migent Software Company

Page 74
The company also created Quicken customer advisory panel, a creative group of loyal Quicken customers. Intuit marketing and engineering managers met with this panel every other month to get feedback on new products, new features, or whatever else the company need to learn.

Page 75
By the end of 1989, many employees believed that the secret to Intuit's success was the customer evangelist mindset that pervaded the company. Everyone at Intuit embraced Cook's belief in figuring out what customers wanted and driving the company to deliver it. "If you blow that," Cook argued, "it doesn't matter what else you do. You must invest in R&D to build superior products based on a superior understanding of customers. This is Intuit's fundamental advantage."

Page 129
Steve Pelletier (new) VP of Engineering:
"I had to avoid the baby in the bath phenomena," he said. "Intuit had been very successful – I knew the company had done lots right. Many times the bad things in an organization are a byproduct of the good. I wanted to be team to remember the good things."

Page 133
* Intuit fought MS preloads on DOS and Windows systems by
* 1- Created a strip down version of QuickBooks
* 2- calculating that they could actually pay for the preload, because they would make money by locking customers in that use he superior software and get additional revenue from the check books etc


Page 135
Under Pelletier, engineering analyzed impact of the bug on users and weighed the benefit of the fix against it's costs and the risk that fixing the bug would create more problems.

Page 153
Proulx did not want to acquire Legal Knowledge Systems out right, which would've been hard to do so quickly. Instead, he wanted a deal that Intuit and Legal Knowledge Systems could dissolve - but only if they jointly agreed. So he proposed a contract in which Caine gave Intuit a "call" option to acquire his company, and Proulx gave Caine a "put" option that allowed him to force Intuit to acquire Legal Knowledge Systems. Only if both parties later agreed not to go through with it could the sale of Legal Knowledge Systems to Intuit be stopped.

Page 169
Campbell reorganized the company into business units (BUs) and gave each BU manager profit and loss responsibility.
The Personal Finance Group, with Quicken as its anchor became one BU with Eric Dunn as its leader. Automatic Financial Services, responsible for Intuit's online strategies, became another with Steve Pelletier as its head. QuickBooks morphed into the Business Products Group under John Monson. Personal Tax operated as an independent group under Mark agonies, and Bill Shepard managed the Professional Tax Group, with Bill Harris overseeing both as executive VP of the tax BU. Supplies continued under Jim Heeger's management. Functions that served all the units, such as marketing communications and customer research, remained centrally located, but the new structure promoted responsibility, decision making, and a measure of autonomy within the newly created business units.

Page 180
The Quicken Financial Planner product team begin with the "right" customer research approach, the method that Intuit had found successful in the past to develop new products. The product team conducted numerous focus groups, usability test, and phone surveys to fine-tune the product and marketing. They created software using an interview format that made entering the data needed straightforward.


Page 186
As Microsoft executive VP Mike Maples noted, "Intuit never turned its market share advantage into profitability. It was the 7 to 10% profit range, which was pretty dismal. Good software companies have profitability in the 20 to 30% range."

Page 216
[in 1995] Pelletier, as head of the Automated Financial Service group, fought for years to get banks to download bank statement data into Quicken to make banking faster and easier for customers.

Page 223
Rover Bass, an Intuit Product Manager from the United Kingdom. "doing one-off localizations was a tricky task, as the product was not structured in a modular way to make it easier to convert internationally."

Page 251
CEO criteria — (after Bill Harris — Bennett would fill the CEO role)

9/26/99
Here is the compilation of CEO criteria to give specific guidance to the headhunter and our board on what’s essential.

MUST HAVE
- Must be a reap people and organization leader
- Develops, retains trucks the best people, then delegates and inspires them to action
- Works through others - inspires the creativity, energy, and ownership - and can bring diverse groups together
- Managers by guiding people, sometimes firmly, the great outcomes and top performance. “I love working for the guy.”
- A builder: builds great teams and strong durable organizations
- Good communication skills

- Fast-acting results
- Must be energetic, fast-paced, decisive, and impatient for action and results… to keep Intuit speeding up to Internet speed
- Results-oriented decisive, tough when needed. Gets organizations to perform beyond their own expectations
- Drives to win … as our businesses are often winner-take-all

- Must have succeeded as a General Manager leading a complex organization to change
- Complex means many interconnected organizations; e.g., business units and functional units. Not simply a functional organization around the product line
- Succeeded leading the business the rapid change

- Technology and strategy confident
- While not be a technologists, most technology comfort, not aversion
- Most likely will have succeed managing business where R&D was important to success
- Must be comfortable thinking, deciding, and leading complex strategic issues
- Develops a point of view on our future and drives us there
- Flawless integrity, straight, values driven

- Smart
- Love smart people
- A learner - a sponge for learning, information, and data
- Gets up to speedy quickly
- While not required, understanding of service business infrastructure they require would be a plus

Not required
- Need not have been the CEO or president of a public company; e.g. the GM of a complex business inside a large enterprise can me OK
- Need not have high-tech core Internet background; e.g., Joe Galli from Black & Decker or Meg Whitman from Hasbro / FTD/ Disney
- Not important to be “known”
- Need not be from financial services
FYI, here is a list of other criteria that while important I didn’t see as quite as essential as those on the Must Have list.
- From background where the customers were consumers or small businesses (<50 employees)
- Installs the common process and technologies that help the BUs [businesses units] wins
- Knows the Internet … branding… financial services… service businesses
- Entrepreneurial
- Global experience
- Presence, represent us well to partners, the government
- Basic belief in and affection for what we do
- Curb appeal, impressive resume
- People warmth
- Strategically brilliant
- Data-driven, but comfortable making intuitive decisions
- Good at developing personal networks
- Experienced w/ Alliances, partner deals
- M&A deal experience
- Strong public speaker
- Strong negotiator
- Not afraid to take risks
- Quality-oriented
- Not a self-promoter


Page 263
During Bennett’s twenty-three years at GE, he had embraced man of Jack Welch's imperatives. Those that he had internalized included
- set a tone (leaders’ personal intensity determines organization’s intensity),
- maximize an organization’s intellect (take everyone’s best ideas and transfer them to others),
- put people first and strategy second (getting the right people in the right job is crucial to the success of any strategy),
- foster passion (all winners share this characteristic: the care more than anyone else. No detail is too small to sweat or too large to dream), and
- reach for more than what seems possible (when the leader stretches, the whole organization does).

Page 264
Cook contributed vision, and worked with specific product groups on product innovation and strategy, while Campbell added operational experience, exceptional people skills, and his board perspectives to the company's function. As CEO Bennett led, but all three worked together to help facilitate change.

Page 264
Bennett: "I learned from Jack [Welesh] to manage top-down and go to the customer at the same time. He'd drive too-down via expectations, process, and strategy and he'd also find out what customers want."

Page 265
{Bennett} “At Intuit we need to put process and culture together to deliver results. As you get bigger and more complex, process and scalability become important. Bringing some of the big company process to small company customer innovation is out biggest challenge. Innovation isn’t just ideas, because ideas without operational rigor just fall apart”
{Cook on Bennett’s philosophy} “”This language delighted Cook. He knew that deep, one-on-one listening drove insight into customers’ needs. This insight, coupled with consistent business rigor - data-driven making, appropriate metrics, and process improvement - had lead the foundation for the company.

page 267
Focusing on the key drivers, measuring the critical few, asking the right questions and rewarding top performers were some of the new mantras that Bennett brought to Intuit.


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