Conversation with Intuit CEO Brad Smith at Startup Lessons Learned

This conference moves quickly and there is a ton of information to take-in, of course we’re loving every minute of it! Intuit is a major brand and Brand Smith, their CEO, is our fifth speaker of the day, buckle your seat belts, and let the learning continue. Intuit is a Fortune 1000 company so not your normal speaker at a Startup conference and Brad is a very interesting person to get the chance to hear from.


Brad is a great speaker and of course was quickly asked the question, is a company like Intuit entrepreneurial?

  • Intuit breaks people down into smaller teams, caps the size at six and helps avoid regulation so these teams can think outside of the box and come-up with new and innovative ideas.
  • If you have a culture of analysis and planning you have politicians, when you have a culture of experiments with real customer feedback – if the dogs eat the dog food you move ahead with that one, if not you close it down
  • Built just in time, not just in case
  • When Intuit hires engineers, they hire entrepreneurial engineers

Eric asked a great question, how do you avoid doing things just to drive your stock price?

  • File parts of the business into different categories and metrics
  • Know that all parts of the business won’t scale at the same pace
  • Called Horizon 1, Horizon 2, and, you guessed it – Horizon 3

In 2008 Intuit did not have a single app for the smartphone, quickly changed that and 48-hours after realizing it was time to change, the first version of the app had been created.

Question from the audience – What is your cloud strategy? What is your International strategy?

Brad: we are becoming a connected services company, having your data in the cloud. Opening up many different parts of their business as services. 60% of Intuit’s revenue comes from connected services, represents 48% of the growth over the last five years. International – we took our desktop products to international markets and we failed. We now believe that we can localize our products faster so focusing on India, Canada, UK, and Singapore.

Question from audience – How much are you actually putting into these startup teams?

60% goes to Horizon 1, 30% to Horizon 2, and 10% to Horizon 1.

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton