Jun 25, 2014



Today we’re strapping a rocket to our backs, nearly tripling the size of our engineering team in an effort to build you more, faster. How? We’ve signed an agreement to join Autodesk, which will make a massive long-term investment in the vision we share with you for the future.

We’re making this move because we believe it’s the best possible thing we can do for you, our clients, to get you the tools that you need in the shortest period of time. I’d like to tell you the story of how we got here. Before that though, I want to address concerns that you may have from seeing that ‘acquisition’ headline in the press.

Myths Debunked

First, Shotgun is not going away. We will continue to operate under the Shotgun brand with the same team and same style. Our website stays, our forums stay, our support site and team stays. Second, we’re not going to slow down. That would suck for you and for us. This move immediately doubles our team and triples our development capacity. Third, I’ll keep working for you as hard as I can as the leader of this larger team. Isaac, Sarah, Nephi, “Professor” Welker and the Shotgun crew you know and love are right here with me, and we’ll be joined by some excellent engineering talent. Pricing, maintenance, and licensing aren’t changing. And yes, Shotgun will continue to develop and support third party tools from The Foundry, Side Effects, Adobe, Autodesk and more (even faster). We’re committed to an open platform that supports all the tools you choose to use in your pipeline. That’s the only approach that will work, and everyone at Autodesk supports that. I know you have more questions. The official FAQ covers many more specifics, and you can always contact us.

How We Got Here

Many of you know that we came out of production, starting Shotgun 8.5 years ago with the goal of building productivity and collaboration tools for studios (that was before we even heard of the term “platform” or “cloud!”). Back then, everyone was rolling their own or patching together spreadsheets and filemaker databases. There was a lot of frustration and pain, and so many of our friends in the industry felt they were stuck in gridlock with blind spots everywhere. Things that should have been easy were way too hard, and we saw studios lose lots of money and/or time because they didn’t see problems coming until it was too late.

We partnered closely with so many of you to address these problems, working side by side and iterating as fast as we could based on what we saw you needed. And as your business changed, we did too. We were there when everyone started spreading out, opening offices all over the world or working with remote partners. We were there when stereo rushed onto the scene, when tax subsidies changed the business dynamic, and when margins tightened and schedules squeezed and you all had to figure out how to do more with less and remove as much risk as possible. And we’ll be there right next to you for whatever comes next.

Now more than 550 clients all over the world rely on us and our software every day and constantly engage with us in a dialog about how to move forward. We see patterns and best practices and have grown to understand what you need from us to run a successful business (and to have more fun doing it). We can see three years out and are determined to get there as fast as possible.

It’s time to scale.

A year ago I began talking to potential investors about an investment round that would allow us to double our engineering team. I pitched our vision to lots of financial investors and many strategic investors (companies or individuals already invested in our industry).

One of my goals was to make sure the investment didn’t come with the wrong types of strings attached. For example, we didn’t want pressure to massively expand our focus in an effort to grow the market to, say, anyone who has bought a GoPro camera. (I found that so many investors like to see a slide in the presentation that says “ONE BILLION DOLLARS” even if that’s total BS.) We don’t want to go too wide too soon. We want to finish what we’ve started for our film, TV and games clients.

We had multiple options, but it was Autodesk who was interested in making a substantial long-term investment to accelerate our development. We pitched our vision and they got it. In fact, they had lots of ideas that made our vision stronger/better. So we started brainstorming about how we would do a deal that made sense for us, our customers and for Autodesk. Putting my customer hat on, I had many of the same questions about how this could work that you may have now. Could we design this deal to maximize the benefit to our customers? Could we keep what’s great about Shotgun while leveraging the additional resources? Would there be a way to do this while still focusing on innovating as quickly as possible? The answer turned out to be ‘yes.’ After months of brainstorming, we figured out an acquisition strategy and both companies decided to go for it.

We didn’t set out to sell the company; we set out to scale our team so we can build tools for you faster. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

What happens next

We are already working on aligning our new team and updating our roadmaps (read: more, faster). We’re excited by how it’s shaping up. We’ll introduce you to that team here on our blog and in person at SIGGRAPH (yes, we’re having our booth, User Group and party as usual -- details coming soon). On the support and administration side, your day to day interactions with Shotgun will be the same as always. The smart folks who act more like extensions of your team than a separate company will still be there for you.

Sounds too good to be true.

I’m a member of this industry and community, and I can understand any concerns you may have. I simply ask that you give us the benefit of the doubt today and wait to see what we deliver. Judge us by the first 100 days and the rest of the year. We plan to show you that this is a very, very good thing.

I take direct responsibility for making sure this is a huge success in your eyes. Please hold me to that.

Call or email me directly anytime, with any questions or concerns.


Don and the Shotgunners
( cell: 646.416.2249)