Friday, April 04, 2008

More on the new Intuit

Brad Smith is our new CEO. On the 25th anniversary of the initial release of Quicken, he gave a State-of-the-Company address where he mentioned the next 25 years, concerns that he has uncovered about our company and strengths that he believes will help us to be competitive in the future.

The new logo I showed you in my previous blogpost was selected to be the new banner, the new armour that Intuit will wear into competition with others in our space. Our goal? To be quick-growing and innovative. Not only to be those things but to be the very representation of those things.

The dots above the Ts are there to represent people because Intuit wants to bring people together, using a community-style platform to bring clients together. They already do this well with Quickbooks, bringing Accountants together with Small Business. They want to take that to the next level.

There are other spaces where Intuit wants to go but it is exciting to see that they have their minds on the future and the best ways for them to compete in the quick-paced, fickle marketplace that’s completely exploded in the past five years.


Cliff said...

How many times did he use the word paradigm?

Liam J. said...

Paradigm is over. Now it's mindset. Mindset, mindset, mindset.

Cliff said...

That's an exact quote from his speech, isn't it?

Shaun Guthrie said...

Did they hand out the speech before hand? I'm starting to get sick and tired of every company saying how they want to be innovative. I mean in today's market of computers and software that's pretty much a given at this point. If your not then well you must have been working for Dell and now you can go get your welfare check.

I think we need a new word to replace innovative. Anyone?

Kyle said...

How about anti-dinosaurial?

Liam J. said...

All companies have always wanted to be innovative. Even if it's an innovative new way to rip off something that's been done a million times.

The only difference is now, people need to be seen to be innovative so that their stock prices will go up. Don't expect any respite from the announcements of innovation any time soon, Mr. Guthrie. That way lies heartbreak.

Actually, elC, it might have been. Except the Paradigm is over part. That was pure Liam.

El Cliff said...

I am not sad to see paradigm go away. It should be such a cool world, but it's been twisted in to something awful by the corporate types.

And, yeah, the world of investment basically has an 'innovate or die' credo, at least when it comes to tech companies.

Liam J. said...

Personally, I think "diversify", "innovate" and "rapid growth" are good things to have in your company but you have to be able to change to accommodate all of those things.

For instance, if you're going to innovate, you're going to fail. A lot. You have to prepare for that. You have to be willing to take a shotgun approach to new development and hope that some of your new stuff sticks.

It's also going to take a lot (a LOT) of unprofitable (semi-profitable?) design, research and engineering time to get those prototypes out the door. A company is going to have to spend a whole crapload of money for that.

Rapid growth means that you have to let go of a lot of things. DI was shut down for a couple of days because they didn't pay their electric bill. Not that they couldn't afford it, just some paperwork got mis-filed or something. Let me repeat that. A company which makes 250 million dollars in revenue per year, and whose bread is buttered by maximum up-time lost customers and revenue because they didn't pay their electricity bill. How in the holy fuck do you not work out a deal with a power provider where you pay per year, or at least have some kind of goddamn contract where you can get a little fucking leeway or at least an angry letter before they throw the switch? That's the kind of thing that a small insignificant company does and nobody cares. That's not the kind of fuck up a company that hosts 1700+ banking websites for more than 20 million customers makes. Time to grow up as well as growing out.

Diversifying is probably the hardest one of these. It means extending beyond the comfort zone. It means hiring people in a field you're not already good at, trusting them to succeed in that field and not being able to micro-manage because basically, it's not your area.

Chad said...

Being relatively new to the large-scale corporate environment (3 years), I have to admit that I rarely look at my company as a whole. Every month I get 2-3 emails about new things Fujitsu is doing in RoC (Rest of Canada, gogo Quebec) or North America but I rarely care. Some of the initiatives seem wayyy outside the scope of my job, and they are, but I also know that some of them actually affect me.

As for the account I work on (which currently does work for the Ministries of Municipal Affairs, Housing & Urban Affairs, and Service Alberta), I rarely get to see innovation, diversification, or rapid growth. Our account is a maintenance account, meaning most of the time we just fix broken stuff or assist with regularly scheduled business processes. Not really exciting.

From time to time we get to do new development work and that's where we try to inject some innovation. A lot of Municipal Affairs' apps are fairly old (5-10 years or more) and are built using old technologies and outdated (if any) standards as they relate to web applications.

Lately we've been getting more pressure from both our own management and from the client to be "innovative" but neither of those groups seem to understand that being innovative will cost time and money. So even though they want spinner rims (or whatever) on their applications and web sites, they still expect them to cost the same and to take the same (or less) amount of time to conceptualize and construct. It blows my mind.

Right now our biggest initiative is to start building web services using Java. We are in the process of doing our first project and already I can see the lack of understanding as to what is involved. Everyone knows there is huge pressure on the project team and on the architect to deliver a flawless product using the new platform. But when you look closely and see things like all the developers being sent on Java training before the project starts might be a good indication that there might be a few... hiccups.

El Cliff said...

Chad : It sort of seems like maybe some of the middle management types at Fujitsu got ahold of a book of industry buzzwords, decided they liked 'innovate', and just said "Yeah, let's do that...that'll be something we can shine up real nice and take to the boss!", without having any understanding of what they're actually talking about.

Oh, and you've given me the idea of perhaps figuring out a way to mount a real spinner rim on a computer tower case...I'm not even sure I'm kidding about this, because it would be better than anything except fake wood paneling...

Liam : They didn't pay their power bill?! That is one of the greatest examples of laughably stupid corporate management that I have heard of in quite some time. I would love to be able to listen to the phone conversations they must have had with irate customers, wondering what happened. I think I now truly understand why you'd be looking elsewhere if these same idiots were to end up continuing to run their company in the same manner.

Chad said...

Cliff: It's not so much Fujitsu middle management. It's the client.

Basically, it's the typical "we want cool shit but don't want to pay for it and we want it now" spiel.

Liam J. said...

Seems to me, Chad, that someone in your organization, be it the business people or the project managers who set the schedule, need to grow some stones and push back.

Chad said...

Oh the stones are there. Basically, it goes down like this:

Them: "We want some cool shit! Why isn't it in the app you made?"

Us: "We didn't see it in the requirements or in the specs, so it didn't get made".

Them: "Oh."

Honestly, our account manager and our business leads (project managers) are really good at managing the clients. A few years ago it was bad. We were bending over all the time, but now we've got a team that, you know, thinks, and we tend to say "that doesn't make sense, you shouldn't do that".

Liam J. said...

Good. Rare, but good. When I see it bad, I have to wonder who's more at fault, the salesmen who always answer "Can you do this?" with "Do you want us to do this?" or the project managers who don't say "You're a moron for promising stuff without checking first."

Chad said...

I guess I should be honest. There is one guy that does the "promise stuff without checking first" thing, but I am thankful that our project managers are skilled enough to be able to absorb most of his bullshit before it makes it down to our level.