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Intuit's Scott Cook on the Surprising Source of Massive Growth

The founder of Intuit explains why many of the best growth opportunities for your business will be completely unforeseeable.
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Intuit founder Scott Cook loves surprises--even the bad ones.

One of his favorite statistics is the fact that roughly 70 percent or more of successful Silicon Valley venture-backed startups succeeded in a different business than they started. 

"When a surprise happens, either upside surprise or downside surprise, that's the market speaking to you trying to tell you something you don’t yet know, so you need to listen," he says.

"You need to savor that surprise and really try to understand it, because that could be the seeds of a great new business."

Intuit, for example, started as a personal finance software company whose core product was Quicken. After the company discovered half of its customers were using Quicken for their small business accounting, they decided to build Quickbooks, a product for business bookkeeping without journals and ledgers. 

"Today, Quickbooks and its associated products are 11 times larger than Quicken, all because there was a surprise which we initially ignored for four years," Cook says. "Only when we started focusing on it, savoring the surprise, did we discover this giant market opportunity."

To hear more about the importance of savoring surprises, watch the video below.

 

Scott Cook: How to Build a Culture of Innovation

The Intuit founder talks about effective decision-making, encouraging experimentation and the advances he thinks will change the way business is done.

 
Last updated: Jul 25, 2014

GRAHAM WINFREY

Graham Winfrey is a staff writer for Inc.com. He previously covered alternative investments at Private Equity International magazine, prior to which he worked at Business Insider and msnbc.com. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.




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