Billionaire Scott Cook’s Advice to young & struggling me!

Abhilash Marichi
3 min readApr 10, 2021

I was very fortunate to meet and talk to Scott Cook, Founder of Intuit at an event conducted by NextBigWhat for Entrepreneurs. After the event, I got few minutes to talk to him personally, and in that conversation, I got great insights and I would love to share them with all of you!

It was during 2014, I was building my Start-up and struggling to make it work, and was very curious to know how other successful people went through this phase.

With that curiosity and hunger, I asked him the following questions —

My sleepless face to the left, and Scott Cook to the right!

#1 Could you give me one advice to build a successful product?

Scott Cook: Before building the product check if the problem you perceived is actually a problem and then find out if there are many people with the same problem. Keep iterating your problem until you find the right problem and the right group of people who have the problem and ensure that based on the data you make your decisions. Never try to validate your idea, validation means you are trying to prove what you believe to be the problem, instead you must be open to surprises that you see in the data. In other words, instead of trying to validate your idea try to invalidate it, and when you find that you cannot, then that could be worth pursuing.

I was just blown away with this response because I was always trying to prove my point of view and most of the time I used to ask leading questions that could almost always get me the answer that I wanted but that would not make a product successful.

#2 How were you able to motivate yourself to go to work when you knew your Startup was failing?

Scott Cook: (Came close to my ears and said) — Fear, Fear kept me going. If you ask other people who stayed with me during those tough times, they would tell you that they believed in the company, which I did too, but for me, the driving factor during those tough times was that I had taken so much money from other people and the only way I could repay them is by making this company successful. Otherwise, even if I work my entire life at a normal job, I would not be able to pay all of them back.

That was such an honest answer, in a way sensed what I was going through during that time, I did not take money from people but I had burnt all my savings by the time.

#3 What is your advice to young Founders like me?

Scott Cook: Most important thing a young person like you must do is to work on yourself to be a better person. What you become through the process is very important and that makes your life beautiful. Get a coach or a mentor, who could help you in the process. Even the best athletes have coaches to train them and keep them on track! So try to get one.

I felt this is so true, at the end, it’s not about material success but how we feel within ourselves is what matters, most of us feel satisfied only when we are changing and growing constantly.

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Abhilash Marichi

Data Engineer at Amazon. I write about Data, Product & Life.