Inside Intuit - A Book Review

I like a well told chronological real life story as they put the past, present and future into perspective. Having fallen in love with technology from a young age, this book brought back fun memories and also awareness to things that were happening at the time that I didn't realise.

Most of the big tech companies all began as startups - struggle to innovate past the establishment, and reading about Intuit made me realise that startups even today can still become big companies and revolutionize their market segments.

Intuit thrived at a time when several disruptive technologies came about (Diskettes, CDs, internet 1.0, electronic bill pay etc.).

Intuit always tried to develop further, not resting on its laurels but by always looking for ways it could provide better services for customers and increase market share. This allowed Intuit to progress from certain death, to survival, then to thriving and revolutionising the financial industry.

Intuit's go to market strategies was never half hearted. A lot went into marketing, data collation and analysis. Data was big then and still is now.

It is no mean feat that despite the billions of dollars Microsoft had at the time they couldn't trump Intuit. Intuit beat Microsoft hands-down to the point that they (Microsoft) had no choice but to try and buy Intuit which eventually failed and actually boosted Intuit's image and gained them more clout in the industry.

It just goes to prove that money isn't the only ingredient that makes a company thrive. Intuit had a founder in Cook who had a keen eye for excellence and was willing to devote all he had into bringing his vision to life. He was smart, had vigor, was dedicated, motivated and best of all humble. He realised when he didn't have what it took to take his company to the next level. He duly sort after someone who could and Intuit was the better for it.

This is a lesson that most startup founders need to imbibe. One should know when you can't carry a vision further and find someone who can.

Cook also, worked and surrounded himself with people who bought into his vision enough to stay through the hard times at Intuit. This gave me a 'light bulb' moment, Intuit certainly would not have made it if Cook didn't realise the people that worked for and with him mattered. Even without a lot of money the right people can help you attain sustainability if you show the right focus, tenacity and most importantly honesty. No one will follow you long enough if they realise you can't be trusted.

My main take away is don't think fast, move fast but "think smart, move fast". One can think fast and hurry away into the wrong direction. Think smart: people who do always try to prove themselves wrong. They are not naive in believing they are always right, they take risks but well calculated ones. When they move fast it is usually in the right direction.

I am happy to recommend reading the book Inside Intuit: How the makers of Quicken beat Microsoft and revolutionized an entire industry.

Olakunle Williams

Armed with a technology degree from the UK, Olakunle is experienced in business development, project management, and sales having worked for a number of large organisations in Europe in this role.

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