I was far from happy with this Information Letter when I wrote it, and I'm far from happy with it as I reread it today. More than a year had elapsed since I wrote the last Information Letter. When I wrote IL 10, the key people in the company met every Wednesday night in the room overlooking the Moment's Pause hot tub, and discussed matters ranging from whether we should sell our souls to the venture capitalists to ink running on the metal labels. When it came time to write IL 11, there was this real company: multiple buildings full of people at 150 Shoreline, different departments pulling in different directions, and all the inevitable concomitants of a growing, vital company made up of incorrigible individualists.
When I penned this letter, I knew that we had made plans to invite Hunter S. Thompson to our party. I pulled that punch because I was afraid it would fall through (it didn't--he showed up), and because I was worried that our grand scheme to have him chronicle the evolution of Autodesk over the next several years, thus creating the Marin County Gonzo rejoinder to wimpy Boston's Soul of a New Machine, would fall through (it did--and in my opinion, Dr. Gonzo blew an opportunity to be for High Technology what Hemingway was for his generation).
This was the only Information Letter I deliberately wrote thinking about the audience. Think of it as having been written on that cusp between being a company of close friends and a major force in the market, or simply the time that John Walker chickened out.
by John Walker
Revision 4 -- February 12, 1984