We are all at a wonderful ball where the champagne sparkles in every glass and soft laughter falls upon the summer air. We know, by the rules, that at some moment the Black Horsemen will come shattering through the great terrace doors, wreaking vengeance and scattering the survivors. Those who leave early are saved, but the ball is so splendid no one wants to leave while there is still time, so that everyone keeps asking, ``What time is it? What time is it?'' but none of the clocks have hands.
--Adam Smith, ``Supermoney''
One thing is beyond doubt: we are living through the final days of the original Autodesk. Whether the problems we're currently experiencing herald the waning days of Autodesk's leadership of the industry, or are merely the birthing pains of a new Autodesk, ready to accomplish as much in the 1990s as the old Autodesk did in the prior decade, will be determined in the next weeks and months.
To management I say this. The resources are at hand. The Autodesk team can and will accomplish whatever tasks you ask of them. The financial strength amassed by years of success allows overcoming any short-term barrier we may encounter. All that is needed is that you act. Act now. Act while the opportunity remains. Act while we still lead the market and the industry. Act while the customers and the market wait, in silence, for your response. Act while you still can.
If this message is understood and accepted, then the next few weeks should bring the first signs of change. In a few months, the first evidence of the new Autodesk will begin to appear in the marketplace. Things will start to get better. It will be obvious to everybody that Autodesk is again on the move, that the spirit, the confidence, and the energy that vaulted Autodesk into the front ranks of software companies in 1983 and 1984 and 1985 is now, in the early years of this new decade, carrying Autodesk further, toward leadership among the next generation of software companies.
If management does not act, this too will become obvious. It will be reflected in falling sales, declining profits, eroding market share, and eclipse of the company as an industry leader--loss of the ineffable sense that here is where the future is being built. If this happens, we will know what opportunities were squandered at the very moment Autodesk held the future in its hands, and we shall never forget.
Editor: John Walker