08/29/10

Review - "Inside Intuit" by Suzanne Taylor, Kathy Schroeder & John Doerr

image The authors recount the fascinating story of Intuit's rise to become one of the most successful software companies in the world. The book: “Inside Intuit: How the Makers of Quicken Beat Microsoft and Revolutionized an Entire Industry” by Suzanne Taylor, Kathy Schroeder and John Doerr; Harvard Business Press; September 2003 The big idea: Intuit’s founder Scott Cook is obsessed with user experience and finding solutions for the real needs of his customers. Intuit institutionalized “Follow me Home” studies where Intuit staff observes customers in their day-to-day operations to create specific solutions for problems they discover. The backstory: Intuit is one of the somewhat unsung heroes of modern day software though most people know their mainstay products Quicken, Quickbooks and TurboTax (and lately their acquisition of Mint.com). The authors, through countless interviews with the founding team and early employees, tell the fascinating story of Intuits struggle in the early days and their rise to become a giant in their field. Endurance pays off: Intuit wasn’t a clear winner from the get-go. The authors recount the early days of struggle and problems which would have nearly wiped Intuit out. Persistence and sometimes sheer brute-force kept Intuit going and turned them into the powerhouse they are today. Mistakes are painful: With their direct access to the founders and key employees, the authors manage to give the reader the insight on big mistakes Intuit made throughout its existence. If you read nothing else: The first half of the book covers the early days at Intuit and is a fascinating, fast paced read. The appendix contains Intuit's mission statement - very well worth the read as it contains the essence of what Intuit is and aims to be. Rating: 9 (1=Rubbish; 10=Awesome). Entertaining and informative - just the right kind of literature for everyone with an entrepreneurial bone in her body.