The core problem, inside and outside the company, is a belief that ``it's impossible,'' or ``those guys in Sausalito will never be able to do it,'' or ``that would take a totally different way of running the company.'' Well, OK, maybe it will. But don't tell me that with 165 people in software development and 140 million in the bank you can't deliver a product that has functionality and ease of use comparable to products from start-up companies with staff measured in the tens. Or that it's acceptable for the company's flagship product to acquiesce, release after release, to user interface standards which would not be even momentarily contemplated in products developed by smaller, less richly funded, and more peripheral efforts from our own company such as Tapestry and AMIX.
Do the people working on AutoCAD today know, and believe, that their lives are about to undergo an enormous change--that the standards for performance and the ambitiousness of what is undertaken in the project, and the scale of resources committed to it are about to jump by a factor of from 5 to 10? I don't think so, at least from the contact I've had with them recently. And if not, why not?
Is it because there is no such intent? If that's the case, you are continuing down the path of neglect of the product and eventual extinction of the company's revenue stream.
Is it because they haven't been told? If that's so, then the very people you most need on your side have been excluded from the turnaround in the company's course at the very moment you must get them on board to have any hope of success--they're the people who have the knowledge of the product that's essential to transforming it so, like it or not, they're the ones you have to work through to achieve any near-term results.
I wrote Information Letter 14 in an effort to set in motion the changes I, and many other people, believe necessary in order to achieve all the wonderful things we know this company has the opportunity to accomplish. In it, I handed you a tool to remake the company in any form you felt best, and I have thrown my full support behind that effort. And now I await the results. Be assured, I will not countenance continued drift.
Whether you have in me an enthusiastic contributor or the worst nightmare a corporate management can have: an articulate, wealthy, major shareholder acting in the interests of the other shareholders and in keeping with the goals for which he founded the company, asking of management in public simple questions for which they have no answers, will be decided in the near future.
Editor: John Walker