The December meeting was held on Sunday, December 5, at Jack Stuppin's house. The major topic of discussion was COMDEX, which had been held the previous Monday through Thursday.
Our booth at COMDEX had AutoCAD on the Z80, Victor 9000, and IBM PC. We were also passing out brochures on Autoscreen, but made no real effort to demonstrate it, as an editor doesn't make a very gripping demo.
AutoCAD was on display in a total of four booths: Sierra Data Systems, SunFlex, and Victor, in addition to our own. With the aid of all this exposure, our obscure booth in the back of the show was almost continuously full of people--to the extent that Steve Ciarcia couldn't find his way in. Win a few, lose a few.
It was apparent that AutoCAD was a hot product. At the biggest show in the industry, it had the field to itself, with no direct competition at all. The main problem before the meeting was how to cope with success.
Mike Ford pointed out that exploiting the large number of leads we brought back would be a full-time job. Being unable to work full time for any extended period with no pay, he suggested that Autodesk pay him a 10% commission on sales, up to some reasonable amount, for a few months. There was much discussion of the advisability of paying someone at this point, of whether we should pay ourselves commissions, and of the relation between taking a cut on sales and taking a piece of the company's growth by means of stock options.
There was a consensus that paying Mike would be a good investment, and that the commission arrangement would amount to paying him a salary with him taking all the risk in case we didn't get enough income. The following arrangement was approved by unanimous vote:
Starting immediately, Mike gets a 10% commission, to a maximum of $6,000 a month (a figure intended to compensate for the risk that he'd get very little, and corresponding to nearly 3/4 of a million a year in sales). The arrangement runs for three months, and can be renewed by the directors month by month. When it runs out, the commission drops to 8% for a month, then 6%, and on down to zero. The idea behind the gradual decrease was that some deals, including the most profitable ones, give delayed yields.
Editor: John Walker