Artifact Details


Cook, Scott oral history

Catalog Number



Moving image


Scott Cook co-founded the software company Intuit and serves as chairman of its executive committee. In this oral history interview, Cook traces his entrepreneurial success to several impactful experiences during his youth. He learned the value of frugality and hard work from his parents; the power of computing from a book in his high school library; the difficulty of effecting positive change as an intern at the Air Pollution Regulatory Authority; and the excitement of providing a product that made people’s lives better as president of the USC ski club.

Cook points to his job at Procter & Gamble as a major influence on the development of Intuit. When Cook noticed his wife Signe’s frustration with managing personal finances, he identified a “P&G problem,” one that many people have, and that technology can solve. Having learned the value of user testing to product development at P&G, Cook and his head programmer Tom Proulx conducted extensive research and user testing while developing Quicken, Intuit’s flagship software. Following the P&G principle that one should learn from the best wheel maker rather than reinventing the wheel, Cook and Proulx drew heavily from John Page’s ease-of-use principles to design Quicken. Applying lessons from P&G helped make Quicken an innovative software product that focused on consumer needs and usability.

Time and again, Intuit survived what Cook calls “existential threats.” Though crushed not to receive venture capital funding for Intuit in 1984, Cook explains that it enabled the founding team to abide by the new, ultimately successful paradigm for software and to retain ownership of the company. When Intuit was running out of money, Cook made the tough choice to stop all spending. Recognizing his shortcomings as a leader, he brought on Bill Campbell as CEO. The team’s work to overcome these challenges can serve as a valuable example to aspiring and current entrepreneurs.




Cook, Scott, Interviewee
Hancock, Marguerite Gong, Interviewer


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, CA, USA






Oral history

Collection Title

CHM Oral History Collection


Computer History Museum

Lot Number


Related Records

102717520 Cook, Scott oral history