Autodesk, Inc.
IPO Road Show Slides: 1985

Comments by John Walker

In the final days before Autodesk's initial public stock offering (IPO) in May of 1985, John Walker and Al Green went on the traditional “road show” (or “dog and pony show”—I don't know who was the dog and who was the pony, but I sure felt like a dog by the time it was over!). This involves travelling to various cities in the United States to meet with the institutional investors to whom the investment bankers are trying to peddle the offering. As I recall, we made road show presentations in San Francisco (a warm-up for the trip), Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston, New York, and Baltimore (the latter the home city of one of our underwriters, Alex. Brown).

The presentation was accompanied by the usual slick professionally-produced slides. I have reassembled the presentation from slides in my collection. I'm not sure I have all the slides (although it's likely, since I have duplicates of many of them), nor that we showed the slides in exactly this order; this is how I'd arrange the slides were I doing it today. I spoke first and covered the following slides.

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At this point, Al Green, Chief Financial Officer at the time, took the podium and presented the following summary of financial results.

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At the conclusion of the presentation, we answered questions from the audience. To illustrate what was, for the time, a graphics-intense product, we showed the following screen shots of some of the fanciest sample drawings we could lay our hands on. These were photographed with a film camera off monitor screens. The barrel and pincushion distortion visible in some of these images is the result of photographing a curved CRT monitor from close-up. Some of these images may have been interleaved into the presentation slides above; at this remove I simply don't recall. These images are in no particular order. At this epoch, only a year after the launch of the IBM PC/AT, a typical AutoCAD display configuration was 640×480 pixels with between 8 and 256 colours.

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