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The Tao of Missed Opportunity

Thank you for that update on the features of AutoCAD, Greg. I 
had not realized that we had missed the boat for R11. I must 
confess, I am quite sad (crushed might be a better description), 
though I understand why, in a list of hard tradeoffs, this was 
a wise tradeoff for Autodesk to make. 

In its own way, this surprising news about R11 is an opportunity 
for some of the people here at Xanadu. It is an opportunity to 
learn, and remember, what it means to take "just a few days longer". 

Several times in the past year and a half we have discussed how 
difficult it is to fully appreciate the cost of being late, because 
the most important cost is the opportunities you miss that you 
never even know about. You can slip a day, and another day, and 
another, and there's no visible consequence...until one day you 
walk into your office and discover that you slipped too many 
days, and something really wonderful will not happen because 
of it.

Of course, the nebulousity of the missed opportunity makes it 
impossible for ordinary people to weight it as a factor when 
they are evaluating the urgency of their work. The only way I 
know of to grasp the true importance of speed is to seek out 
individual examples of the consequences of "just one more day", 
and hug them to your heart, and every time you find yourself 
saying "just one more day", remember that THIS is what it means.

It's probably worth a moment or two for some of the members of 
Xanadu to reflect upon the consequences of the opportunity lost 
here, to hug it tight, to experience what it means to be a few 
days late enough times so that, before you know it, a year has 
come and gone.

Release 10 of AutoCAD was in the throes of shipping when I arrived 
here in 1988. Release 11 will ship about 2 years after Release 
10, according to current estimates--that release is still about 
half a year away. 

So if we assume that Release 12 will take about as long to ship, 
and if we start counting when Release 11 ships, it will be two 
and a half years before customers can run a Xanadu link to an 
AutoCAD drawing.

Had we been able to demonstrate that Xanadu could be depended 
upon as a worthy product to integrate with AutoCAD, the tradeoff 
of features in R11 might well have gone another way. People would 
have been able to run Xanadu links with AutoCAD drawings the 
day we announced that Xanadu was available.

Had AutoCAD been available on the day we announced Xanadu, there 
might  have been some thousands of very easy Xanadu sales to 
large AutoCAD installations. Those thousands of sales have been 
lost. Those millions of dollars of revenue that the sales would 
have generated have been lost. Those millions of documents that 
would have been interlinked in Xanadu information pools at those 
thousands of sites have been lost.

Had Xanadu consequently become a great a success in the CAD community, 
there might have been additional sales of AutoCAD because of 
the Xanadu links. There might then have been more sales of Xanadu 
because of the additional users of AutoCAD. 

All now lost.

This is what it feels like to miss an opportunity. This is what 
it means to take just a few more days.

For those people at Xanadu who haven't before had a personal 
experience with the meaning of a slip, you now have a blinding 

Please remember.