I’ve been working at Intuit for six months now. It seems like a good time to step back and think about my impressions of my first six months. Keep in mind that my impressions are parochial. I have a view of my little corner of the company and the project I am working on. Your mileage may vary. But I don’t think my experiences are necessarily atypical.
My view of Intuit is also colored by the fact that this is the first individual contributor job I have had in a long time. I’m managing the customer care organization for PortfolioMinder. But right now it is just me. This is by design and absolutely the right strategy and what I signed up for. Up until now If things were going to get done to build the customer care organization I’m pretty much the one who did them. I’m starting to bring customer care agents on but these first six months have been very much about doing instead of managing. I have enjoyed it. I certainly had stints at Sun when I wasn’t managing but I was always getting things done through people.
I have to smile a bit because I think I am getting payback for all the meetings I scheduled as a manager. I thought my meetings were really important and I think I discounted people’s complaints about too many meetings. Now I am feeling the reality that when you are in a meeting you aren’t getting tangible things done. I always knew that intellectually, but now I am really feeling the pain of having to work extra hours to get things done around the meetings.
On the other hand the meetings are also a sign of one of the many things that are right about Intuit. I truly feel that my opinions count and that I am making a very real contribution to my group and to PortfolioMinder. My group makes a very big effort to keep every one informed and I think we are a much more effective team because of it. I really appreciate the attitude towards employees at Intuit. We are encouraged to have a balanced life and not work 16 hours a day.
Intuit has a very strong culture of being customer focused. From what I have seen they don’t just talk the talk. They walk the walk. Intuit is known for its emphasis on the user experience. From what I have experienced it is part of the DNA of the company. We have had more contextual interviews, end to end user experience discussions, and reviews of the user interface than anywhere I have ever worked. It would be very easy as we push to deliver our product to say we’ll worry about the user later. But we really are researching what works and making changes as a result of it. Even though at times it is frustrating I know that at the end it will be better product.
I heard an interesting story in an all hands meeting the other day. Apparently Steve Bennett was talking to some people and they asked him if Intuit hires anthropologists. He answered "Why would I hire one anthropologist when I have 7000?" There is no doubt that we pride ourselves on listening to consumers and knowing what they want. I would agree that it is a very real part of the Intuit DNA.
All of our goals are structured around Intuit’s three stakeholders; customer, stockholders and employees. I not only see the emphasis on employees and customers that I described above, but I definitely see a focus on shareholders. There is a strongly articulated understanding of and commitment to the need to fuel the growth of the company and to do it for the long haul not just for the next quarter.
So what are my impressions? I just took my first annual employee survey. I like working here. I like the company vision, strategy and focus and I would recommend Intuit to others. I think we have a bright future.