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Intuit Founder Says Biggest Paradigm Shifts Are Not Technologically-Based

Dave Aiello wrote, "I stumbled across an article on News.com that I find really interesting. It is the summary of a speech that Intuit founder Scott Cook gave at the Harvard Business School Global Alumni Conference. In his talk, Cook referred to eBay as one of the biggest business innovations in history. However, he argued that its success was not based on new technology, but on the new market paradigm that it created. Cook said:"

There was no inventory, no guarantee that merchandise was authentic, and no easy way to pay for or receive goods; it might take a customer one week to buy a $10 item and another two to three weeks to receive it. Needless to say, retailers and venture capitalists ignored {eBay founder Pierre Omidyar}, thinking he was either irrelevant or crazy.

Dave Aiello continued, "There are a number of other interesting aspects to this article that I'd like to share with you. Read on for more...."

Aiello said:

Evolution of Quickbooks Slowed by Intuit's Lack of Customer Knowledge

Cook then took the opportunity to criticize his own company, and their unwillingness to deviate from their belief that the audience for Quickbooks, their small business accounting software, was individuals operating proprietorships, not small corporations. The article points out that over 98 percent of U.S. Businesses have 50 or fewer employees.

The conclusion that Intuit made after interviewing its early Quickbooks customers was that the product needed to provide functionality that it originally thought businesses were getting by working with their CPA. True success came for that product when it offered that functionality to the owner or office manager of the small business, because people in those roles really keep the books.

For the record, CTDATA is a Quickbooks customer, and these features are precisely the reason that we chose to run our checkbooks, investment accounts, and payroll using this software. The one thing we think is missing from Quickbooks is an integrated portfolio management tool, for businesses like us that keep our reserves in a brokerage account at a discount broker like Charles Schwab.

Comments on Harvard Business School's Web Presence

You have to hand it to Harvard Business School because they excel at cementing distribution for their many knowledge-oriented products. Until I read this article, I had never heard of the HBS Working Knowledge Web Site, but in my first glance at it, I have to say I am impressed.

I am amazed that Harvard Business School has a syndication relationship with CNET. As an RPI alumnus, I dream of the day that the publishing process at our school evolves to the point where RPI can get such positive placement in other publications as this. The benefits clearly extend beyond public relations.

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