From the author:
A crazy business idea
1983, the legendary Entrepreneur and Intuit founder Scott Cook (together with co-founder Tom Proulx) had the powerful idea that private accounting could be done by computer.
Their success was anything but pre-programmed; they faced numerous competitors, an uncertain future and an initially still very small market.
From startup to market leader
A decade later, that went Company and then fended off attacks by major interested parties, such as the software giant Microsoft, takeover battles that made headlines.
Not least with the support of the renowned risk capitalist John Doerr, Intuit has developed into a fully diversified Fortune 1000 company, which now offers dozens of market-leading products in its most important divisions.
From rags to riches
This is an entrepreneurial success of the kind we know: a diverse team, whose members belong to a “subculture” and ultimately lead to fame and considerable wealth.
Let's spool it: we are now writing the year 2002. Cook was frustrated. He had just tabulated the data of all the new Intuit products over the past ten years and found that the return on their considerable investments was quite meager.
Like a marvelous house
In other words, there were too many bats with new products. According to traditional standards, Intuit was an exceptionally well-run company, but when Scott scaled deeper to investigate the causes of the problem, he came to a delicate conclusion:
The prevalent management paradigms in his company have failed to meet the challenges of a modern economy that demands continual innovation. Like a dilapidated house that needs urgent refurbishment. But what to do?
In autumn 2009, Scott Cook had been trying to change Intuit's management culture for years. For example, in which he promoted fast product improvements with regularized series of tests and thus the entrepreneurial spirit among his employees. When he came across my first work on the Lean Startup method, he asked me to give a lecture on his company.
The mindset of a modern general manager
In Silicon Valley you do not reject an invitation from Intuit. I confess that I was curious. I was still at the beginning of my lean startup journey and did not know much about the challenges facing a Fortune 1000 company.
The talks with Cook and Brad Smith, the CEO of Intuit, were an inauguration into the minds of modern general managers who are as concerned with the phenomenon of entrepreneurship as venture capitalists and garage companies.
Entrepreneurial spirit and risk-taking in the company
To meet these challenges, Scott and Brad Smith returned to Intuit's roots. They intend to anchor entrepreneurship and risk-taking in all business areas. This is illustrated by the example of a flagship product from Intuit.
Since TurboTax achieved the highest sales in the US during the tax season, it initially had an extremely conservative culture. Over the years, the marketing and product teams developed a single, comprehensive program that was launched on time for the tax filing deadline.
Product innovation thanks to rapid tests
Today, more than 500 is testing different product components in a tax season that lasts two and a half months. Each week, various tests are performed up to 70.
The team may post a configuration change on its website on Thursdays, run the version over the weekend, evaluate the results on Monday, and draw conclusions as of Tuesday; On Thursday, new tests will be designed and the next product package will be released Thursday night.
Entrepreneurship and action are encouraged
The team is constantly learning. It also encourages entrepreneurial thinking and acting, because if you only do one test, you are not attracting entrepreneurs, but company policy experts who have to 'sell' their ideas to others.
And these ideas have to go through a hundred other good ones. When 500 runs tests, everyone can contribute their ideas. Only then can one create a culture in which entrepreneurs thrive, who experiment and learn and test again and again.
Entrepreneurship approach firmly anchored throughout the company
On the other hand, there is a culture in which the experts for corporate policymaking dominate. Scott Cook explained:
We are trying to anchor the entrepreneurship approach in our entire organization, using examples that have nothing to do with high technology, such as the website example. Today, every company has a website. One does not have to be in the high-tech industry to carry out tests with a short cycle time.
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