The American Information Exchange (AMIX) is perhaps the most innovative venture in which Autodesk has become involved to date. Without doubt is has been the hardest to explain. Autodesk invested in AMIX in June of 1988, with the intent of implementing and launching the world's first on-line market for information and expertise. Within a year, while the development of the server and access software was still underway, it seemed like almost everybody had forgotten the opportunity that existed and why we had become involved. I wrote this memo as a reminder and to persuade Autodesk to maintain its commitment to AMIX.
To: Al Green, Malcolm Davies, Ron McElhaney, Greg Lutz
From: John Walker
Date: September 7th, 1989
Copies: Eric Lyons, Phil Salin, Kern Sibbald
Subject: Understanding AMIX
I've been peripherally involved in several recent discussions about the development status of AMIX and the soundness of Autodesk's ongoing commitment of resources to AMIX as approved at the end of fiscal year board meeting. Some of these discussions have indicated to me a lack of complete understanding of the fundamentals of the AMIX business, and consequently of the nature of the risks and potential rewards of our investment therein. This note is an attempt to dispel, as best I can, any confusion about AMIX by stating, as clearly as I can, the essentials of the business opportunity it represents.
First, let me make explicit my biases. At the time we decided to fund AMIX I believed it was a sound investment opportunity, more for the public service than for the in-house product. I continue to believe this. For AMIX to succeed, it must run the gauntlet of any new venture; it can fail technologically, in its marketing and sales plans, or just because the time is not right. The considerations that apply here are identical to any efforts we undertake other than self-evident derivatives of current products which are inherently incapable of generating major increments in revenue. AMIX lacks the technological excitement of being a ``neat hack'' in the sense of Autodesk Animator or The Eagle Project. Instead, I believe it is a Good Business, in the sense of Jiffy Lube or Federal Express; one that may be properly positioned in time and the development of technology to grow and prosper beyond the estimates of its creators.
Editor: John Walker