Proposed Autodesk Organization     Low Rent 3D

July 1983 Meeting

Sales continued to build and the July meeting reviewed the progress of a company clearly on the rise. Focus had shifted entirely to AutoCAD, more and more founders were coming onto the payroll, and the negotiation of sales and marketing agreements came to the fore as we tried to secure a stable base of revenue without compromising our freedom of action in the future.

This meeting marked the end of the original style of managing the company through monthly meetings of founders. As more and more new employees were hired, sales volume increased, and the action came to centre more and more on the office, the key management meeting came to be the weekly status meeting in the office. This was the last monthly founders' meeting. The next time the founders gathered to review the progress of the company was more than two years later, after the public offering, on Moon Day, 1985.

Autodesk, Inc.
July Monthly Meeting (July 9, 1983)
by Kern Sibbald


The meeting was held at Jack Stuppin's house at 1:00 P.M. The following people attended: Dave Kalish, Hal Royaltey, Jack Stuppin, Kern Sibbald, Mike Ford, John Walker, Roxie Walker, Keith Marcelius, Dan Drake, Greg Lutz, Mauri Laitinen, John Kern.

Before the meeting began there was much discussion about whether or not to hire a copyright lawyer. The discussion centered on how much it was going to cost, and most people seemed to dislike an open-ended deal. We agreed to hire the lawyer (I didn't get his name) to do a copyright or trademark search on AutoCAD. We also discussed hiring him to review a contract with AlphaMerics. The contract involves us gaining access to their extensive set of symbol libraries.[Footnote] During the meeting, Jack and Mike left to review this contract with the lawyer. AlphaMerics has an exclusive with NEC to package all NEC OEM hardware for CAD. We discussed AlphaMerics purchasing 200 AutoCADs in a year, 30% in 4 months starting Sept 1 at $450.00 each with a minimum of 10 per month thereafter.

Summary of Management Meeting: Dan Drake

The books for last year are closed (see enclosed summary). Keith has accepted the AutoCAD project management position. We have hired Jack O'Shea as a full-time telephone salesman working for Mike Ford. He will also be working on filling out our dealer network. He is a retired police officer and ex-draftsman. We are looking for a larger office so that we can move the sales out of Mike Ford's house and have room for demos and possibly meetings.

Financial Report: John Walker

Due to the amount of financial activity lately, the report is approximate:

   Savings             $77,000
   Checking             25,000

We owe:
   Mike Ford about      $1,000
   Mike Riddle about    $9,280

See attached sales report for more details.

Marketing Report: Mike Ford

Our sales are very closely tracking the curve that he forecast in January but we are about a month behind. SunFlex is now accounting for only about one half of our sales (this is clearly shown on the sales summary sheet[Footnote]). Mike forecasts that the rapid growth trend will continue. We now have several competitors but at least in the case of P-CAD it is not yet for sale. Rik[Footnote] of Mike's staff is writing an article on CAD. Four people from TI visited us in our office in Mill Valley and all went well. Two were from corporate and two from the engineering workstation project. They seem to be very impressed and we were asked to purchase a TI and they agreed they would purchase enough AutoCADs to reimburse us. Zenith will have a machine here Monday. Heath has decided they want about 250 AutoCADs in the next year. They put a fire under Zenith. Heath wants it on a Zenith so they can expose it to their salesmen before the end of July. Note: on ordering machines, etc., request that the machines be shipped directly to your house then give John Kern a call so he can pay the invoice when it comes. Many shipments for AutoCAD members have been coming to the office and that results in delays getting the equipment to you. Mike Ford and Duff Kurland went to NCGA[Footnote] for 4 days—it was a high class show with all the big CAD guys (Auto-Trol, Computervision, etc.). There were about 22,000 attendees. It was worth being there since only about 25% were end users, the rest were dealers, manufacturers, and educators. There were 5 competing CAD packages at the show. P-CAD, MARS ($14K including hardware), Microcomp ($6K for software), Bausch and Lomb ($29K), and Summagraphics, (poor notes here). Nine manufacturers came to see us. Mike Ford recommends that we lend an 8087 to Neil Zackery who is supposedly going to write an article about AutoCAD. Greg Lutz agreed to buy the 8087. Tektronix may want 100 ACAD's.

More Marketing: John Walker

We are about to conclude an exclusive distributorship with Jamal[Footnote] for ACAD-80 except for the Sony. Beginning Monday John Owens will be dropped as a distributor. Hopefully, Jamal will pick up support for Owens' customers. Jamal has sold 18 AutoCAD's to date. We are trying to approach Microsoft with some kind of graphics deal. “After the great Digital Research ripoff” where they picked our brains—cuz they are working on a micro based CAD,[Footnote] they are now trying to exchange GSX for an AutoCAD. “No way”. We can get a Corona PC if we want from a dealer. We have an Otrona in-house. Mike Ford suggested that we rename the company AutoCAD to avoid confusion. No one was really very enthusiastic but everyone did agree it would be much better to have the AutoCAD name really large on our display. Mike wants someone to go to SIGGRAPH.

International Sales

We have received a transfer of $2,000 from Lars but are not sure what it is for. There are still 15 invoices outstanding.

Corporate Status Report

The incentive stock options, John Kern's buying into the company (the shares we were going to sell to Jamal), and a request to split the stock ten-to-one are all in the hands of the lawyers. We may have to request stockholder agreement on the share splitting. Everyone at the meeting agreed that it was a good idea.[Footnote]

Operational Report: John Kern

John is trying to keep the inventory low so we will be positioned to use the new generic manual when it is ready.[Footnote] He is giving two day turnaround on CP/M systems[Footnote] and one day on the other systems.

AutoCAD-86 Report: Keith

We hope to release the MS-DOS Victor with the HP driver on the 18th. The configurator release is set for July 29. We have a feature freeze in effect that roughly agrees with the current state of Duff's generic manual. We discussed manuals some here. Roxie is going to try to get the next one so it will lay a bit flatter. After some discussion on various bindings and size, everyone agreed to keep the same manual size and binding. We would like to schedule major feature releases every 60 days.[Footnote] The manual price is now $35.00 because SunFlex insists on a discount and we won't lower their price below the current $25.00. We agreed to continue to sell manuals at $25.00 if customers ask at that price since we have advertised it so much and don't have price change disclaimers on our literature. The single-screen IBM is working and almost ready for release (1 week).[Footnote]

AutoCAD-80 Report: John

AutoCAD-80 works on the Sony. It is an absolutely beautiful machine according to John. They immediately sent him everything he asked for. One can get a complete system with a color printer? and a lot of other stuff for $4,100.00.


John wants to hold the Autodesk meeting quarterly rather than monthly. There seemed to be general agreement. However, everyone agreed that we must solve the communications problem first. That is we must somehow continue to write down information on that is happening in the company and send it to everyone. John suggested that Kern continue to put out a newsletter and that he can get input every month from the division managers. There was also some discussion of holding the weekly business meetings on Fridays so that more people can attend. Apologies to Lars for misspelling his name in the last month's notes.[Footnote] It is Lars Åke Moureau. David Kalish has received no bug reports.


We now have five full-time paid employees: John Kern, Keith Marcelius, Duff Kurland, Greg Lutz, and Jack O'Shea. There are two half-time employees: Kathy Marcelius and Jane Kern. John proposed that Roxie Walker join the company as Assistant to the ACAD-86 manager (Keith) and as our Arts director—probably full-time. Dan Drake may be employed full-time by Autodesk retroactive to July 1.[Footnote]

Equipment List

Very few of you have sent me your hardware configuration so I am giving up on publishing a list of what we have. Thanks to those who did: Duff Kurland, Richard Handyside, Rudolf Künzli, and David Kalish.


The most famous AutoCAD drawing of all: Don Strimbu of Task Force TIPS in Indiana created this drawing with a very early release of AutoCAD. It's impossible to describe the impact this drawing had when he sent it to us: it was the first really complicated drawing that had been done with AutoCAD, and Don's cleverness in using block scaling to simulate perspective on the text and to mirror parts of the nozzle astounded us all.

We immediately began to use the nozzle as a standard timing test for machines. I joked at the time that someday people would talk about “nozzle standard units” instead of Whetstones—never did I think that would come to pass. The nozzle drawing and the actual nozzle were featured in our first four colour two-page advertisement, which ran in Scientific American in September 1984.

AutoCAD Nozzle drawing

Proposed Autodesk Organization     Low Rent 3D