Inside Intuit:  How the Makers of Quicken Beat Microsoft

and Revolutionized an Entire Industry


Intuit Success Factors
Intuit Photos
Bonus Materials
The Making of Inside Intuit
About the Authors

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Intuit Success Factors

Inside Intuit reveals in full detail the critical success factors that have made Intuit an enduring company.   Readers can learn and apply the principles that have steered Intuit to market success:

Customer Driven Innovation

Paradigm Shifts

Operating Values

Beating Microsoft

Business Discipline

Driving High Profit Growth in a Slow Growth Environment

Marketing Breakthroughs

Evolving Leadership

Tyranny of the Typical


Customer Driven Innovation The foundation of any company that wants to change its customers’ lives is deep, one-on-one listening and insight into customers’ needs.  Intuit has consistently and cleverly used customer insight to build its breakthrough products, customer service, and marketing communications.  Intuit pioneered customer research in the software industry with methods borrowed from Scott Cook’s alma mater Procter & Gamble including: follow me home studies, usability research, and customer advisory panels.

Paradigm Shifts:  Scott Cook notes that the biggest insights often come in surprising and unexpected ways.  These insights can lead to a completely new way of seeing problems.  For instance, when Quicken was introduced, its main competition wasn’t the 46 other finance software programs out there, but the pen and checkbook.  QuickBooks worked under the assumption that small businesspeople didn’t understand or want to do accounting.  TurboTax enabled customers to tackle an overwhelmingly tedious task in small, manageable steps.  The Internet radically changed how customers managed their finances.

Operating Values:  Company achievements must be rooted in and derive from an explicit embrace of company values.  Achievements do not preclude values; instead, closely-held corporate values integrated through a company’s culture drive its success.  Read Intuit’s operating values statement and learn how those values have guided decisions and actions, especially the values of integrity, do right by customers, and it’s the people.

Beating Microsoft:  Learn how Intuit has fended off no less than the most powerful software competitor in the world.  Intuit competed head-on against Microsoft and won in all its three main businesses—Quicken beat Microsoft Money, QuickBooks beat Microsoft Profit, and TurboTax beat Microsoft TaxSaver.  Intuit’s remarkable success story against the behemoth shows how formidable competition can inspire a company to be its best.

Business Discipline:  Intuit has used consistent business rigor—data-driven decision making, appropriate metrics and relentless process excellence, to build its business.  Intuit instills business discipline to foster creativity, not squelch it, as the company grows.  See how constant experimentation and learning from failures form an important part of Intuit’s business approach.

Driving High Profit Growth in a Slow Growth Environment:  Even when market conditions slump, Intuit drives impressive profit and revenue growth.  Developing products and services for targeted markets willing to pay more, improving productivity and lowering costs through Six Sigma, and focusing on the critical few metrics that drive results are just some of the ways Intuit has improved its bottom line despite harsh economic conditions.

Marketing Breakthroughs:  Intuit’s marketing innovations include the first television advertising and first rebate coupon in the consumer software industry.  Borrowing marketing techniques from the consumer packaged goods industry, Intuit also developed line extensions, priced aggressively, used trial programs, and created effective retail store merchandising strategies.  Mimicking the ‘razor blade’ business approach to razors, Intuit cleverly developed profitable paper checks to print out with Quicken.

Evolving Leadership:  Intuit’s leaders have evolved as the company’s customers, competitors, markets, technologies, and culture changed.  When top managers didn’t think they had what it took to bring the company to the next level, they rationally and methodically sought out complementary new leaders, redefining their own roles and contributions in the process.

Tyranny of the Typical:  See how focusing on the average customer in a target market can blindside you to the many other customers that you may serve.  By reframing the small business market, Intuit has embarked on a new strategy of more targeted ‘right for my business’ products and services, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.

Entrepreneurship:  Intuit’s co-founders—a former Crisco marketer and a Stanford engineering student—formed an unlikely but highly effective entrepreneurial team.  Small teams still lead the company forward to new breakthroughs.  Learn how Intuit nurtures and fosters individual and small team creativity within the larger organization.  See how new ideas gain traction and become real, and how Intuit decides where to place its development bets.





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