I agree with John Walker that our company is beset with serious problems. However, I would say that it is a result of our spectacular success rather than a failing of our company. AutoCAD is very successful, and Autodesk has tremendous people skills and resources to draw on, but we are not making effective use of the resources that we have. For example, neither of our two most valuable resources, John Walker and Dan Drake, are available full time for working on AutoCAD. John seems to be spending much of his time on trivial matters and has complained that he cannot get off the telephone. His Marinchip business continues to occupy some of his valuable time. The situation for Dan seems to be similar. If we could spring John and Dan free from nontechnical work and outside pressures, they would produce four times the output that we could gain by hiring any other two individuals.
Out of necessity, we have begun to hire people to fill critical needs. But, we must attempt to hire those who have contributed the most to the company first. At the same time we must take care to define our needs in terms of job descriptions and only then hire someone to fill that job rather than make a job to fit a particular individual. Once a person is on board, we should make every effort to fit the work to the person rather than the person to the job. This will produce much happier and more productive employees. But fitting the job to the person should not be done when initially hiring.
Because of the constant bickering, I often feel that we have little sense of purpose and direction. This is in part due to our unusual problems of wide geographic dispersion of our founders and primary work force. Consequently, to survive, our company will need to have communications that are better than most companies, yet our communications among each other are far from adequate even within a less geographically spread company. I view our problems as a crisis in management. This company owes its existence and the development of its only product to John, and we should never forget that. John Walker is an absolute genius in computers. He has led us through the early stages of the company, but now more than ever, his skills are needed urgently in enhancing our existing software and developing new software. His abilities are hampered by the trivia and details of a rapidly growing company, and we are deprived of his most needed skills.
Editor: John Walker