Why Don't We All Love Adobe?
After all, designers and developers spend most of their time creating the experiences made possible by Adobe tools, which has been the case for a very long time. On a shelf a few feet away from me sits a battered cardboard sleeve in which rests my first purchase of Photoshop, the classic version 3.0 from 1994. Marking the arrival of layers, it instantly transformed image editing. But by then Adobe had long set in motion the digital publishing and graphics revolution by creating the PostScript language, which turned the 1985 Apple LaserWriter into a magical publishing machine for everyone.
And then there was Adobe's pivotal work in releasing quality digital fonts in PostScript Type 1 format, as well as the ground-breaking Illustrator vector illustration application in 1987 and the introduction of the PDF document format in 1993, along with Acrobat and Reader — all huge contributions to digital publishing. But after that first decade came the Adobe that we know better today, a firm driven more by acquisitions than fundamental innovation, one that reacts more than leads. Aldus, GoLive, Macromedia and many more were all absorbed into the mother ship, with the result being the construction of a formidable array of applications for driving the creative industries. Adobe made a point of updating these applications regularly, often with significant new functionality, and eventually collected them together into first the Creative Suites and more recently Creative Cloud. So after all these years, why don't we love Adobe? Because there is increasingly a coldness, if not outright hostility, directed toward Adobe on the part of some members of its core constituency.
The thought struck me this morning as I waded through the vitriolic comments on Adobe Product Manager John Nack's blog, in response to a form the firm recently posted, ostensibly requesting feedback on its Creative Cloud subscription offering. Entitled Adobe Creative Cloud: tell us what you think, the form is clearly not asking what participants really think about Creative Cloud but rather trying to ascertain why they haven't yet subscribed and then harvest an email address to follow up with marketing material. Rather ineptly titled and executed, yes, but one would think not enough to send Adobe customers off on a rant. And yet that's just what they did. Clearly, these customers do not love, or in some cases even respect, Adobe.
My take on this lack of love is that the firm needs to do more to make a positive connection with exactly these folks, many who are deep, long-time users of Adobe applications. I say, create a new full-time position dedicated to this, if necessary, since it would seem such users are not being listened to. Everything points to Creative Cloud being a success, at least in the short term — five years from now, who knows? With that in mind, Adobe management would be wise to pay attention to the rumblings and not let such potential champions of their products fall by the wayside during the transition.
And as for you — do you love Adobe?
Founding Editor, Graphics.com
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