AutoBits     Hardware Lock Debater's Guide

Flat-out Programming

In August of 1986 I began the transition to full-time programming. This was the memo that announced that I'd be concentrating primarily on software development for three days a week. This was the first step in my plan to get out the job of president and work, instead, on things I was good at.

To: Everybody
From: John Walker
Date: 26 August 1986

Subject: Flat-out programming

This company has committed itself to the release of a 3D version of AutoCAD by the end of the year, to shipping AutoSketch in the month of August (our failure to meet this promise is now a foregone conclusion), to shipping the MicroVAX by the end of next January, not to mention numerous other clamant technical projects such as AutoShade, the mechanical template, Apple machine support, a better user interface for AutoCAD, networking, and performance improvement.

Making these commitments was not grasping for the sky; they are central to the continued survival and growth of our company, for only by building a diversified product and machine base can we insulate ourselves from competitive onslaughts and the vicissitudes of the market in general.

We will fail to achieve our goals if we squander the limited resources we have on non-vital tasks. Consequently, I have decided to focus my time and energy far more on software development than I have done since February. To this end, and starting tomorrow, I will be working from home on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. I will continue this until we ship a 3D AutoCAD to the first paying customer, and until the backlog of critical technical projects is cleared.

Any items which would have been brought to my attention during this time should be referred to Dan Drake, who has complete authority to act when I am out of the office.

This is not a mandate or invitation to stack up Mondays and Fridays with meetings with outsiders who “have to talk to the president” or can “only deal with the CEO”. I cannot recall a single significant statement uttered by one of these blithering pithecanthropoid bimbos which I needed to hear. If they can't tell it to somebody in the company who can really help them, it will not be heard. I will deal with such requests in my normal courteous manner.

“What does this mean for the direction of the company?” Oh come on, now! During the times of this company's most rapid growth I was primarily spending my time contributing to the technical excellence of the products on which our success is founded. If we fail to be the technological and performance leader, we will fail in the market. It is time to take every step to prevent that.

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AutoBits     Hardware Lock Debater's Guide