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Inside Intuit: How the Makers of Quicken Beat Microsoft and Revolutionized an Entire Industry Hardcover – September 4, 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"The fast-paced narrative by Suzanne Taylor and Kathy Schroeder provides a candid and entertaining look at Intuit and its founders." -- San Jose Mercury News, 1 February, 2004

About the Author

Suzanne Taylor is a marketing consultant who worked at Intuit for eight years.

Kathy Schroeder was a marketing executive at the Ford Motor Company for seven years. Both have Standord M.B.A.'s.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (September 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591391369
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591391364
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #504,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
How many companies have survived direct battles with Microsoft? Not very many. How many lived to win over direct battles with Microsoft? Even fewer. Intuit is in that elite company. That experience alone would make the book worth considering.
The authors have done an outstanding job of building on that potentially fascinating subject matter by successfully capturing the key elements of how Intuit has continued to succeed as a business model innovator through four CEOs. I was especially pleased to see that the book captures the values that led to this innovation, the organizational and process methods used to stimulate and pursue the innovation, and the motivations of the key innovators.
In addition, the book moves down into the organization to capture the thoughts and emotions of many of the Intuit employees as it moved from its P&G style focus on customer needs to a broad-based expansion through acquisitions to a GE-style disciplined approach to achieve performance in key areas.
In fact, this book was so fine that I had to ask myself what was missing before I could spot any flaws. The only area where the book is a little light is in describing the details of how Intuit's software development changed over time, and what the lessons were. Now, don't mistake my point. There's plenty on that subject (especially when Intuit was a start-up), but there could have been more . . . if this book were to become a case history source on software engineering.
But no book can be everything to everyone, and currently there are few books that explain continuing business model innovation through generations of senior management. So Inside Intuit becomes a must read for those who want to master this critical leadership and management task.
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By A Customer on September 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Entrepenuers will enjoy this book, especially the predominant theme: Intuit won its market niche by paying attention to the customer -- not just what the customer *says*, but what the customer *does*. Even though Intuit was the 47th entry into the personal finance market, it won the market by carefully attending to the customer's needs.
Even Intuit's missteps were instructive. Customers repeatedly proclaimed that if there were retirement planning software out there, they would use it, but when Intuit provided it, it found that customers, as they do with the more legal aspects of estate planning like wills and trusts, avoid confronting the inevitable.
While not written as dramatically as technology thrillers like Kidder's "Soul of a New Machine,"or Po Bronson's works, "Inside Intuit" benefits from the authors' "inside" experience, and they take the reader to both sides of sometimes contentious inside issues, like the Microsoft/Intuit merger that almost occurred in the mid-1990s, or the lack of success of a CEO in the late 1990s.
I positively recommend this book, not only as an entertaining read, but more importantly, as an instructive one. Former Dotcommers would do well to read why enthusiasm and hard work were not the only requirements for success -- knowing what your customer *needs," and satisfying those needs, is vital, too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When Inside Intuit arrived in the mail, along with four other books I'd ordered, it was the first one I picked up to browse. Seven hours later, I finished the book! Reliving the experiences, placing myself in the events (I worked for Intuit for over fourteen years - by way of ChipSoft), was an overwhelming experience for me.
I remember the first time I met Scott Cook. Leo Redmond, at the time managing the Intuit Supplies Group, and I had just finished lunch in Palo Alto. As we drove back to his office, we talked about Quicken and how it was the second product I bought for my first computer in early 1989 (the first was Sim City). Leo said that he'd like me to tell Scott about it. Scott was excited - "You have five years of Quicken data?" He told me to install the latest Quicken beta as soon as I got home - he wanted to know how it handled large data files (mine was over two megabytes at the time). That was nearly ten years ago.
What an experience! Having been hired by Evy Chipman in late 1988 and working closely with every top-echelon executive on the ChipSoft side (Gaylord, Harris, Gleicher, Lane), I never thought I'd be so intimidated - stammering - as I chatted briefly with Scott in his office.
Reading Inside Intuit brings you into Scott's (and many others) office - you are in the presence of greatness when you read this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really enjoyable, easy read that recounts the history of Intuit from the very early days through the dotcom bust.

If you're starting a company, it's inspirational and nice to know that most startups, even ones that go on to become $B+ powerhouses, really struggle in the beginning. I had no idea that Intuit couldn't get any traction for such an obvious (now) product, had to stop paying everyone, and initially was trying to distribute through banks. It's also impressive (exhausting!) to see how quickly they adapted to changing circumstances, and turned on a dime.

I would have appreciated the book even more if it had included some perspective from people outside of Intuit, or a bit more "inside dirt": there must have been more to the executive shuffles than the sugar-coated explanations provided in the book. Would also have loved to see some kind of chart of the competitive landscape, the mergers, the shutdowns, etc. (the book did fill in some missing holes for me, such as whatever happened to Parsons Technology, which is why this even occurred to me).

But these are all nitpicks: the book was much better than I expected, entertaining and informative.
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