Dream It, Do It

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It takes continuous innovation to stay at the forefront of the industry.

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That’s one reason employees love to work at Adobe.

In the technology world, a lot of companies don’t survive long. But Adobe has thrived for more than 30 years, through the rise of personal computing, the Internet, Web 2.0, and the cloud. That happens only in companies that place innovation at the core of their culture. It takes a strong commitment to innovation to keep building on a successful legacy and to boldly chart a new path when it makes sense. That commitment is on display every day in the halls of Adobe offices around the world, where employees have learned to rethink everything, always making things better than they were.

Mike M. San Jose

Launched his own product with Adobe’s help Mike M., a technology production manager in San Jose, originally joined Adobe through the Melbourne, Australia, office. When he took a new position at headquarters, he knew his work and life would change—but he had no idea how much until he attended an Adobe engineering conference. “I saw on the agenda this thing called ‘KickBox Innovation Workshop, and it really interested me because I love coming up with ideas and pitching them to people,” Mike says. “But I had no idea what I was getting into.” What Mike was getting into was a unique Adobe program that gives employees free reign to bring an idea to life. The proceedings of the workshop are shrouded in a bit of mystery, but here’s the gist: Participating employees are each given a red box. Inside are various tools, including a credit card preloaded with USD1,000, that will help employees get to work. Employees get to engage directly with customers to validate their concept and prove that it has legs. No managers, no committees, no rules.
[responsive imageid='13655' size1='0' size2='960'] I just loved it. I thought, ‘This is why I really wanted to come here!’
Mike came up with three ideas. The first two didn't validate well, but the third one is a winner and he's made it to the next level. That means he received a coveted blue box with the tools he needed to keep developing his idea. In Mike’s case, that idea was a unique communication app for Apple’s iOS. Mike is hoping that his app might eventually become part of an Adobe product like a few other ideas that originated in KickBox. But even if it doesn’t, he says, he’ll still have the incredible experience of running his own startup project in the safety of a major company. In other words, he could fail—and he’d still get paid and have a job. “I used to run my own business for seven years, and I’m used to having the freedom to do what I think is right,” Mike says. “I still have that freedom here, which is pretty amazing in a big company like Adobe.”

Andra I. Bucharest

Worked on a new product feature during Garage Week Every year at Adobe, the Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) teams around the world hold “Garage Week.” The event is named for the way some of the world’s biggest tech companies started in a humble garage, and the idea is to give employees a solid week to work on their own grand ideas. It could be a different product, a non-Adobe idea, anything—the only requirement is to demo the work to peers at the end of the week. Andra I., a developer at Adobe’s Romania office, participated the first year it was offered. The following year, she couldn’t wait to do it again. “It allows people to get outside of their comfort zones and explore something new without the pressure of delivering an end product by a specific date,” Andra says. “It encourages you to dream big and go for whatever you want to try, and you can even work on it with people from other time zones.” During the most recent Garage Week, Andra worked on an idea to approach content categorization differently in the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. She and her team designed a way for DPS to determine other content that readers might want to read based on their reading history. At the end of the week, the team demoed its idea and learned what the other teams had been working on simultaneously.
[responsive imageid='13649' size1='0' size2='960' caption = 'Copyright: Cariere Magazine, Photo: Alex Conu'] For me, that meeting where all the demos are played is really, really magical because it’s the moment when you realize how fortunate you are to work with such talented people.
Andra’s team’s idea will be implemented in DPS, which Andra says is hugely gratifying. But she didn’t feel obligated to continue working in her product area that week—she genuinely wanted to. “People didn’t spend that week working on projects that were completely unrelated to their day-to-day work, as you might have expected,” Andra says. “Instead, they tried to come up with new functionalities that customers would love. This was an indication that they are really passionate about what they do in their jobs and they have a genuine desire to innovate.”

Eli S. Seattle

Helped create the most popular Photoshop feature in history As a senior research scientist at Adobe Seattle, Eli S.’s job is to do cutting-edge research in the areas of computer vision and graphics. He and the rest of the team in the Creative Technologies Lab then publish academic papers on their research. While the goal is for their work to wind up in an Adobe product, Adobe invests in research that might not have clear or immediate product applications for the company.
[responsive imageid='13656' size1='0' size2='960'] The more you risk, the better the potential outcome. So Adobe encourages us to take a lot of risk and do cool projects that may not end up in any product. We’re trying to advance the field.
Five years ago, as part of Eli’s research, he decided to work on a way for Photoshop to automatically and seamlessly fill a hole in a photo. For example, say you took a great photo of your kids. They’re smiling, the light is perfect, the composition is beautiful—except for the rusty, dirty garbage can in the background. Eli wanted a way for Photoshop to quickly remove the garbage can and replace that part of the image with content that made sense based on what was in the rest of the photo, whether that would be a brick wall or green grass or blue sky. His first pass at the algorithm, as part of his PhD work at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, resulted in a process that was too slow. It could take several minutes for Photoshop to fix the image—a wait that would never fly with demanding Photoshop users. So Eli tabled the idea temporarily. A year later, an intern from Princeton came to work with Eli and another researcher from his team. While working a different project, the intern noticed the slow algorithm and decided to work on it. He soon created an elegant algorithm called PatchMatch, which paved the way for the Content-Aware Fill feature released in Photoshop CS5. “Many Photoshop users considered it to be the coolest feature in that release of Photoshop,” Eli says. “Adobe released a sneak peak video to show the feature in action, and it has received more than 5 million views. Major journals covered it, and it received the Technical Excellence Award from PC Magazine in 2010.” It all happened, Eli says, because Adobe has a different approach to innovation. “We keep our research as open as possible and collaborate with external parties—including students and universities—while many other companies tend to keep their research secret,” Eli says. “In many cases, we even open-source our code so that students can build on it. Collaboration just leads to better results for everybody.”

Makiko S. Tokyo

Got creative for Garage Week At Garage Week in Tokyo, Makiko S. decided to work on some ideas for improving functionality of the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. Although she works on the product all the time, she doesn’t work as a developer—she’s a quality engineer. So Garage Week gave her a chance to work outside her core responsibilities and develop features that she thought would be useful additions to the product.
[responsive imageid='13658' size1='0' size2='960'] These programs give developers an opportunity to come up with new business ideas and suggestions. It is a stimulating learning opportunity in which you share ideas and trends with team members from around the world.
“My daily responsibilities consist of engaging in end-to-end testing,” Makiko says. “So during the time I had at Garage Week, it was so much fun to put forward proposals and ideas for how to change and improve the products that I work with on a daily basis.” Over the past two years, Makiko and her team have worked on multiple features that proved worthwhile. In fact, those features have been adopted by teams of developers who are working to finish them for product implementation. Makiko, inspired by the experience, has also participated in a KickBox Innovation Workshop, where she proposed two additional features that are currently being developed and implemented. She’s currently working on yet another idea and pursuing a blue box in the KickBox program.

Leading Together

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At Adobe, leadership isn’t just for the executives.

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In most companies, you could divide the workforce like this: The leadership makes the important decisions, and the rank-and-file carries out the marching orders. That might work well for some organizations. But when your company culture is all about doing exceptional things and getting involved at the corporate and community levels, that division of leader-and-follower doesn’t make sense.

Adobe has always provided training to employees who want to grow as leaders, but now that growth opportunity is even more accessible—and it’s accessible to everyone. A new training program called Leadership Success is empowering employees across the company to get leadership training how they want it, when they want it. It features a vast online library packed with videos, guides, and toolkits. It offers virtual training labs and a guest speaker series. The result is that every employee can cultivate leadership skills on their own terms. “The beauty of this program is that it’s for every single employee, not just for people managers,” says Jeff Vijungco, vice president of Global Talent. “This is Adobe’s commitment to developing the best leadership qualities in all our employees. We want to be known in the industry as a company that develops great leaders.” The Leadership Success program focuses on training employees in five areas:

1. Demonstrating strong EQ

Smarts matter, but being emotionally smart matters most. Leaders need the ability to correctly interpret their emotions and the emotions of others—and understand how those emotions are affecting behavior. “Having a strong EQ is really about inspiring the best in yourself and, even more important, inspiring the best in others,” says Lisa G., head of Americas Channels, Worldwide Field Operations.

2. Selecting talent

Selecting talent isn’t just for recruiters and hiring managers. Even when you’re referring a potential employee or putting together a team, you have to know how to spot talent. “Hiring the right talent makes a huge difference,” says Trisha C., director of Executive Search, People Resources. “Look for people with intellectual curiosity and a desire to have an impact.”

3. Role-modeling Check-in

Last year, Adobe did away with the dreaded performance review. Instead, employees and managers engage in frequent “check-ins,” which entail setting clear expectations, giving regular feedback—both positive and constructive—and no ratings or rankings. It’s a more encouraging environment, and it has made people happier and more productive. “Checking in with your team and giving feedback in the moment allow you to have a much more candid conversation,” says Toni V., director of Quality and Service Management. “Feedback has to go both ways.”

4. Leading change

In an industry as fast-paced as technology, you can’t be afraid of change. That’s doubly true when you work for a technology company that often charts the course that the rest of the industry follows. “The people I’ve seen who have been successful are the ones who are able to embrace change, take risks, and make big bets based on information they have at that moment in time,” says Chris K., senior director, Account Management and Solution Consulting.

5. Scaling the business

In many large companies, employees might feel like a cog in an enormous wheel. At Adobe, employees take ownership of their part of the company as though it’s their own business. “Scaling the business means having a bias towards action and taking informed risks,” says Danny W., VP and GM of Customer Engagement, Digital Media. “We’ll sometimes make mistakes, but we can iterate quickly and course-correct. As long as people understand the strategy and their role, most employees will excel when empowered to take action without being told what to do.” [embed width=630][/embed]
Cover photo by Todd Burke (Adobe photographer)

Strength in Differences

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Adobe employees come from many different worlds, creating a mosaic of experiences that makes the company stronger

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To stay competitive in the lightning-fast world of technology, organizations have to innovate constantly. But innovation gets pretty difficult when everybody comes from the same background. When an organization lacks diversity of experience, who will introduce a new perspective? Who will challenge the status quo? Nobody. And nothing will change.

Companies that prize innovation must also prize diversity, because a richness of perspective is what moves the world forward. That’s why, at Adobe, everybody gets to own a piece of the vision. You never know whose past will enable them to see the future most clearly.

Andres G.

Senior computer scientist

[responsive imageid='13666' size1='0' size2='960' noresize=true left=true]Ten years ago, Andres G. was working for a company that made screen readers for the blind. Screen reading software was an important breakthrough for the blind, but a lot of problems held it back. To begin with, the universal standard file format for document exchange—Adobe PDF—wasn’t terribly accessible. So Andres decided to change that by going to work for Adobe instead. Why was he the right person for the job? Because he was also the target customer.
I feel very fortunate that I can bring this unique perspective to our development team and help put the needs of that group of our customers—people with disabilities—in the forefront.
“I’m totally blind, so I knew the problems that blind users were having with PDF first-hand,” Andres says. “It all came together when this opportunity to work with Adobe presented itself. I joined to help make Acrobat and PDF more accessible.” He and the rest of his team succeeded. Ten years later, Adobe Acrobat is the gold standard for creating PDFs that are accessible to people with blindness, low vision, or mobility impairments. Andres, who works out of his home office in North Carolina, recalls a time when he was working in the San Jose office and having to cross a major downtown intersection every day. Adobe pushed the city to install a beeping traffic signal to make the intersection safer for the visually impaired. “I’ve never had support from managers and upper management like I’ve had here at Adobe,” Andres says. “Here, I’ve never had a manager tell me, ‘We can’t do that.’ They go the extra mile to make sure employees have what they need.”

Rani M.

Director of customer care quality assurance

[responsive imageid='13671' size1='0' size2='960' noresize=true left=true]Rani M. was born in New Jersey with cerebral palsy. Her parents turned to Western medicine to help their daughter overcome her condition, but they also wanted her to be exposed to yoga and Ayurvedic massage. So when she was 90 days old, she went to India to live with her grandmother. “I have very magical childhood memories,” Rani says. “Yes, I’ve had 18 surgeries and lots of deep tissue treatments that were quite painful. But those thoughts are completely masked by all the fun and lightness and beauty and magic of growing up with lots of loving people around me.” Rani returned to the States when she was 5 but continued annual trips to India for massage treatments. All the while, she wasn’t allowed to slow down. “I was taught to push through anything, and that was a mandate,” Rani says. “I could never whine—that wasn’t even in the realm of possibility.” At the age of 19, she decided to volunteer in India and just happened to find herself working for one of the most famous humanitarians of all time: Mother Teresa.
Talk about defining moments in your life. I can still see her face and hear my heart pounding in my chest.
For a year, she worked to help the sick and elderly die with dignity—an experience that would leave quite a mark on such a young person. And after Mother Teresa convinced her not to become a nun—but instead to become a leader and make money that she could use to influence the causes she cared about—Rani returned to the States and went to business school. Today, she is a leader in customer care, setting the tone for the way customers will perceive Adobe when they call for support. From her remarkable life experiences, she says she has learned the value of storytelling, and she now uses that skill to advocate on behalf of customers. And the most amazing thing, she says, is that the company responds nimbly and empowers her to do the right thing in her organization. “It doesn’t seem like anything is impossible here at Adobe,” Rani says. “I love that because that’s the basic tenet of how I grew up.”

Koji Y.

Business solutions manager for e-commerce

[responsive imageid='13672' size1='0' size2='960' noresize=true left=true]Koji Y. joined Adobe when his former employer, Macromedia, was acquired. He took on an informal role in the company’s LGBT community, helping to organize events and provide support. He always felt that the company was an inclusive place, but he got a surprise one day in 2010 when he was approached by a group working on a special company project: Adobe’s It Gets Better video. The It Gets Better movement swept the world in 2009 and 2010 in the wake of several heartbreaking suicides by gay teens. To show young gay people that their lives wouldn’t always be this fraught with pain, thousands from the LGBT community around the world posted videos of their stories to YouTube. The idea was to reach through the ether and speak to the child who needed to hear the message: things will get better—so much better—and you don’t want to miss the incredible life that’s waiting for you. Most of the videos were created by individuals. But some companies decided the issue was so important that they wanted to speak in a unified way. “Everyone at Adobe—even the executives—supported it,” Koji says. “It meant a lot that the company really cared about us and the talents that we bring.” The final video would feature many LGBT Adobe employees representing both themselves and Adobe, and the producers wanted Koji to appear. He said yes. And when the cameras started rolling, Koji shared powerful wisdom from his own struggles and ultimate self-acceptance. Right away, the feedback was uplifting.
I remember I went to the cafeteria and people came and said, ‘I saw you in the video!’ I was very surprised that people outside the LGBT community actually watched those videos and gave me feedback like that. It was very nice to see.
Koji says he viewed the video as a strong message of support not just to young people around the world who might be struggling, but also to Adobe’s own workforce. The message, Koji says, is that the company wants to fill its halls with people who have different experiences and to give them all the respect they deserve. “We see so many different kinds of people at Adobe, and that’s really wonderful,” Koji says. “The company reaches out to folks who have talent, regardless of who their significant other is or how they look. You have purple hair? Great. I think that’s the great thing about Adobe.”

Carrie D.

Real estate manager

[responsive imageid='13667' size1='0' size2='960' noresize=true left=true]Back in the ‘80s, Carrie D., an Adobe real estate manager based in Lehi, Utah, celebrated her 18th birthday in boot camp. And she’s been serving her country ever since. As a member of the Coast Guard Reserves, Carrie served for many years as a radioman. For one weekend every month, she went to Yerba Buena Island in the San Francisco Bay Area and monitored radios for distressed vessels and people who need help on the water—basically acting as a 9-1-1 operator for the sea. “I think one of the most memorable things that happened when I was on duty was when someone jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge—and lived,” Carrie remembers. She worked the radios that night, communicating with the rescue boats and coordinating the rescue effort. Carrie’s father and uncle were veterans, and her husband recently retired from the Coast Guard after serving for 20 years. A life of service, it seems, was both her blood legacy and her deliberate choice.
First it was an avenue to get an education—to see things and get away from a small town, but now, it’s a part of my life. It’s been engrained in me from the age of 17.”
Recently, Carrie got the opportunity to move to Adobe’s Lehi office from the Bay Area. It would take her away from the ocean, but she wanted to stay with Adobe. So it was worth it. “Adobe goes above and beyond when it comes to employee benefits. In the past, most companies gave you a few benefits, but that was it—you worked, you went home,” Carries says. “But Adobe treats us wonderfully. They care about their employees and really make you feel valued.” After relocating to Lehi, Carrie and her husband discovered that they didn’t have to leave the Coast Guard behind; they could join the Coast Guard Auxiliary and continue their tradition of service. Now, in the summers, they volunteer to do vessel inspections and patrol local lakes, rescuing boats and boaters whenever necessary. Adobe’s summer shutdown and flexible time off make it easy for Carrie to integrate volunteering into her life. “People have different definitions of ‘veteran,’” Carrie says. “To some people, it’s someone who has gone to war, but it can be all kinds of service—peacetime, wartime, even stateside. To me, it’s just someone who has volunteered to serve our country in the military and loves it the way I do.”
Cover photo by Todd Burke (Adobe photographer)

Data Science

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At Adobe, data scientists are changing the world of digital marketing

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You probably know Adobe for its best-of-breed creative software. You’re not alone—the company’s creative tools have been king of the hill for decades. But there’s another part of the company that’s big and getting bigger by the day: the digital marketing business.

After Adobe acquired Omniture in 2009, the company instantly became a player in the online advertising space. The Adobe Digital Marketing Suite helps many Fortune 500 companies analyze mountains of data—petabytes, in fact—that would otherwise be insurmountable. It crunches massive amounts of data about online and offline advertising and customer behavior, helping to determine where they can best spend money, when, how much, and even on which individual customers. Because Adobe works behind the scenes for customers like Condé Nast, Honda, and Lenovo, fewer people are aware of this burgeoning business. Among data scientists, however, the word is spreading. Adobe has attracted some of the world’s brightest data scientists to analyze more than 35 petabytes of customer data that it manages, unlocking the kind of fun problems they rarely get to play with in the theoretical world of academia. “Adobe has a bigger playing field than most companies in the digital marketing space, so we can work on much more interesting problems—and we have the back end to make things happen,” says Anil Kamath, VP of technology at Adobe. That bigger playing field comes from the fact that Adobe—unlike most big players in online advertising—is always a neutral third party working for advertisers. Adobe helps them optimize media planning across the entire Internet and even offline, while other companies help maximize ad spend only on their sites. “Because we’re a neutral third party, customers give us information on promotions, TV ads, print ads, and ads across all publishers,” Kamath says. “We even get information related to transactions that happen online and offline, so we can understand the entire customer journey from interest to purchase, no matter where it happens.” In that rich data lay the kind of problems that data scientists love to juggle. And in this case, they not only get to exercise their skills—they get to shape an entire industry.

Craig M.

Job Title:
Senior Research Scientist

Time at Adobe:
7 years

What they do for Adobe:
Researches and prototypes new ways of analyzing data to help Adobe provide more value to customers

Surprised to discover:
How much advertisers can personalize online interactions for each individual consumer

It’s exciting to work in an industry where there’s a lot of advancement. We’re working with cutting-edge technology that's just in the beginnings of its potential.

Julia V.

Job Title:
Data Scientist

Time at Adobe:
1 year

What they do for Adobe:
Builds models that assist in customer retention on Adobe Creative Cloud

Surprised to discover:
That Adobe is a powerhouse in digital marketing

Adobe has this massive digital marketing business. But when I say that I work at Adobe, people who know I’m a data scientist say, ‘But what do you do there?’ They didn’t realize that we are such big players in this space.

Jin X.

Job Title:
Data scientist

Time at Adobe:
Joined full-time after a 3-month internship

What they do for Adobe:
Analyzes big data to help advertisers better target audiences on Facebook

Surprised to discover:
How two slightly different online ads can yield dramatically different results

Digital marketing is the job of the future, and the environment at Adobe is great. The people, especially my boss, are very supportive and knowledgeable.

Eunyee K.

Job Title:
Senior research scientist

Time at Adobe:
5 years

What they do for Adobe:
Improves the back-end advertisement algorithm for digital marketing

Surprised to discover:
The incredible diversity of Adobe’s digital marketing clients

On our team, we have both practical people and theorists. It’s a great mix of people, and it creates this wonderful synergy.

International Transfers

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Wanderlust or Bust

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Want to move halfway around the world?
Sure. You can keep your job, too.

Wanderlust is a powerful force, but it grips some people more tightly than others. So what do you do when you’re one of those people who can’t stop fantasizing about experiencing another part of the world—and you also happen to like your job? If you’re like most people, you sacrifice one or the other: your happy employment or your dreams of global exploration. But if you’re an employee at Adobe, you request a transfer. In fact, at nearly any Adobe office in the world—and there are 67 offices now, in 39 countries—you’ll find employees whose careers at Adobe pre-date their time in that location. They start in London, move to San Francisco. Start in Boston, move to Munich. And they get to have both: career aspirations and wanderlust fulfilled.

Kelly H. San Francisco to Maidenhead, England

Kelly H. had been at Adobe for almost a year when some changes in her department opened up new opportunities. As a communications professional, her skills would be welcome at many places within the company. But a certain part of the world was calling her name.
[responsive imageid='13700' size1='0' size2='960' noresize=true] From the moment I first set foot in London ten years ago, I knew I wanted to live there. I felt there was a tiny chance I might be able to make the move with Adobe and went for it. I’m amazed at how quickly the team responded.
A new executive had just joined the UK’s Maidenhead office, and Kelly proposed a move to London to kick off a new position in the company, managing his internal and external communications while building an Adobe thought leadership platform in EMEA. While Kelly worked in her new role for a while in San Francisco and Paris, Adobe’s relocation team helped with the logistics of getting her to the UK—visa paperwork, tax guidance, and housing assistance. By January 2014, she was settled. Kelly is now living in central London and taking advantage of world-class restaurants, museums, and easy European travel—all while learning the intricacies of being an expat in a new nation. “Exit American football, enter ‘proper’ football and rugby,” Kelly says. “I am so grateful to Adobe. It just goes to show what can happen at this company.”

Jed G. Lehi, Utah, to Hamburg

Jed G., a senior software engineer at Adobe, never thought that two of his passions would intersect in the biggest, craziest move of his life. When he joined Adobe’s Digital Marketing business in Lehi, Jed was working on search, his big passion. He brought expertise in search from his previous work, and the field had fascinated him for years. “Helping people find what they’re looking for is really an art form,” Jed says. “A lot of people take for granted that software can just find what you want, but there’s a lot of technology behind the scenes, and being able to scale search is important. I find that solving those types of problems is very fun.” Jed began collaborating with other engineers in Adobe’s Hamburg office, and that’s when he got the opportunity to take a trip there for a hackathon to build a new platform in a short amount of time. Enter passion no. 2. “I don’t know why, but ever since I was a little boy, I’ve wanted to go to Germany,” he says. “So I thought I’d just have an awesome trip.” But that awesome trip turned out to be a preview. A few months after he returned home, it became clear that Jed was spending most of his time collaborating with the Hamburg team, making his presence in Lehi less than ideal. The solution seemed obvious, but almost too good to be true. An engineer who gets jazzed about search and Germany—transferring to Hamburg to work on a search team? All the right people said yes.
[responsive imageid='13698' size1='0' size2='960' noresize=true] I just feel so blessed. If I weren’t working at Adobe, I would almost certainly not have had this opportunity in my life.
With Adobe’s help, Jed, his wife, and their three children relocated to Hamburg, where the children are enrolled in a German school. Jed—with very little prior knowledge of the German language—is now thriving in an all-German work environment. Sure, it takes a lot of late nights of studying after the kids go to bed, plus the occasional follow-up with coworkers to clarify what was discussed, but he’s learning the language, doing the work, and living in the culture. “I have to give props to management at Adobe, because this is awesome,” Jed says.

Disha A. Noida, India, to San Francisco

For six years, Disha A. worked as an engineer in Adobe’s Noida, India, office on the Acrobat team. Then, fresh off her MBA program—with educational reimbursement from Adobe—Disha began looking for new opportunities on the business side of the company. “I had a long association with the company, and I had had a wonderful time here,” Disha says. “This was the only company I’d ever worked at after I finished school, and I always found a lot of support at Adobe.” At the same time, Disha’s future husband was in the States, so she was planning a move there. She worked hard to get the job she wanted in San Francisco. After rigorous rounds of interviews, she got a role that would be an ideal mix of old and new: a new position in a new office at the company she already loved. Today, Disha is a program manager for product security and privacy, helping ensure security across Adobe products. She says it’s the kind of job she always envisioned for herself—interacting with people from all over the company, helping to keep the company’s software safe and secure—and she loves her team.
[responsive imageid='13697' size1='0' size2='960' noresize=true] It’s been fantastic. The team here was extremely warm. My managers flew from Boston to be there for my first day. It was very welcoming and I loved it.

Nathan W. Sydney to San Francisco

Adobe’s search marketing team is now spread out around the globe. When Nathan W. was a member of that team in Adobe’s Sydney office, he got an invitation to visit the San Francisco office and meet his counterparts. That’s when a seed was planted in his mind: Wouldn’t it be nice to work in the States someday? He loved the feeling of being closer to headquarters where Adobe strategy was determined, and he inquired whether he might work from the States at some point in the future.
[responsive imageid='13701' size1='0' size2='960' noresize=true] After two years, it was a good time for me in terms of where I was and what I wanted to achieve. So I asked my managers again, and they were excited about giving it a try.
Three months later, Nathan was an honorary Californian. He’s still the search marketing manager for the Asia Pacific region, so he’s working a mix of U.S. hours and APAC hours. But even having to juggle time zones, it’s been worth it. “It’s great to have a connection to the corporate strategists and understand what they do in the North America client accounts,” he says. “They have a larger volume of business and more budget to play with, and learning from them has helped me develop my accounts further.” Nathan says he’s enjoying the culture in America—and, in particular, in his new office. People in the hallways say hello to each other, he says, even if they’ve never met. And as for his immediate team members? He says they’re like family. “It was a dream for me to work in the States at some point in my career, and I feel extremely fortunate that the stars aligned,” Nathan says. “I was in the right company at the right time.”

Jerome D. Paris to Boston

Imagine this: You’re working for a French company, and you’re about to transfer to Singapore. It’s a done deal—you just have to get on the plane. That’s when you find out that your company has been acquired by one of the world’s biggest software companies. And that transfer to Singapore? Not happening. What do you do? If you’re Jerome D., you grab the opportunity. “I did an assessment and decided that Adobe was the greatest place for me to be,” says Jerome, who joined Adboe in the acquisition of Neolane. “Adobe has the mentality and objectives we had at my previous company, Neolane. It has a crazy ambition to build something big.” So instead of Singapore, Jerome, his wife, and their two sons found themselves bound for Boston, where they survived their first Boston winter. It’s not easy to handle a last-minute change of plans on that scale, but Jerome says Adobe helped make it smooth.
[responsive imageid='13702' size1='0' size2='960' noresize=true] I had a lot of help with this move. I’m really thankful to Adobe for giving tremendous effort in every single dimension of the relocation. It was incredible.
In Boston, Jerome is the director of consulting and helps customers implement Adobe Campaign technology. Aside from the obvious adjustments of an international move, Jerome is adjusting to a new company and culture—although he was happy to discover that Adobe is much like the company it acquired. “Adobe has the same technology ambition,” he says. “They kept our technology, and I like the way they are managing the technology. Their vision turned out to be very much the same, and I appreciate that.”

Just Can’t Get Enough

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Article Subtitle:
Sometimes the grass is greener where you already are

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In most companies, the way you categorize employees is pretty straightforward: the current and the former. But at Adobe, there’s a third category: the ones who left and came back. Those are the boomerangs.

Some details of their stories are different, but the main point is the same: It might be human nature to wonder what else is out there, but it’s wise to go back to a good thing when you can.

Verna C. Senior manager, business model strategy

Came back after: 15 months Working her first post-MBA job, Verna C. was enjoying her job at Adobe in San Jose. But when a recruiter from another major company asked her to join, she wondered whether getting experience elsewhere might be good for her. And it was—in the “learning experience” sort of way.
[responsive imageid='13708' size1='0' size2='960'] It was almost like coming home, in a way. Everyone was very welcoming about my return. That surprised me. I worried that people might think it was strange, but everyone was warm and accepting.  
“For me, two things became clear at the new company,” Verna says. “The role I joined was online marketing, and it wasn’t the role for me. The other thing was that I really missed the Adobe culture. And it became apparent to me that that’s the sort of culture I thrive in and enjoy.” At about the same time Verna became dissatisfied with her new job, her old manager at Adobe had an idea: Why not come back? Adobe had since launched the Adobe Creative Cloud and was looking for someone to help with pricing strategy. Verna fit the bill. So 15 months after she left, she was again roaming the halls of Adobe. Today, Verna is a senior manager in business model strategy for Creative Cloud. “I'm glad to be back.  I really enjoy working with my team, and it's great collaborating with people who are as thoughtful as they are talented."

Umal B. Web technologist

Came back after: 3 months Life really is what happens when you’re making other plans. Umal B. was thriving in Adobe’s Noida, India, office as a web technologist on the WebOps team. He had worked for the company for six years and had found work that challenged him just the right amount. It took advantage of his strengths while making him aware of what he needed to work on. “That kind of great environment lets you spend every day and every hour learning new things,” Umal says. “I don’t think you find this sort of environment too often.”
[responsive imageid='13710' size1='0' size2='960'] I never wanted to leave Adobe, but family comes first. I had to tackle those issues and I didn’t know when I would be back at Adobe, but I always wanted to be back.
But when family issues came up, requiring Umal’s presence back home, there was only one choice he could make—although it was a painful one. His managers wanted him back, too, and they stayed in touch during Umal’s three-month absence. Finally, when circumstances changed, he was able to move to Bangalore and resume his job in the local Adobe office. “It was the same old team, and it was an awesome experience the first day back,” Umal says. “As soon as I came back, there was never a feeling like it was something new. I’m really grateful to my manager and the WebOps team for everything.”

Lauren P. Senior technical program manager

Came back after: 14 months Lauren P. came to Adobe by way of the Macromedia acquisition, and her combined career in those two companies spanned 12 years. That was quite a long time, and Lauren thought it might be worthwhile to explore other opportunities. So she did.
[responsive imageid='13713' size1='0' size2='960'] At first, I was excited to be taking on a different role, but after being in a different environment for a while, I started to realize that I missed some of the things I had taken for granted at Adobe: the passion and creativity and the culture in general.
Wanting to do something entirely different, Lauren mentioned to a friend that she was starting to think about what was next on the career horizon, and that she was interested in finding an opportunity in a software security role. Her friend said, “That’s funny—I just saw a job opening like that at Adobe.”  Thinking the door to the past was closed, Lauren was a bit apprehensive about the idea of returning. But the job was exactly what she wanted to do and would give her the opportunity to learn all the things she was eager to learn about the security space. So she interviewed for the position and got the job of senior security program manager. And she was, of course, welcomed back.

Dennis T. License management consultant

Came back after: 7 months As a license management consultant in Adobe’s Munich office, Dennis T. liked his job. But then he got a call from another company in need of someone with exactly his background. He had been at Adobe for nearly three years and thought a change might be interesting. But within two weeks at the new company, he started to regret the decision. “I thought right away that maybe that wasn’t the right place to be,” Dennis says. “The collaboration we had at Adobe makes such a great working environment, but I didn’t have that at the new company and nobody was interested in building that up. It was a really bad experience.”
[responsive imageid='13711' size1='0' size2='960'] The way you feel doing your job influences your private life, and mine has improved so much since I came back.
He gave it a few months, optimistic that he could make it work. Still, the job didn’t feel right. So he contacted his old manager at Adobe and asked whether he might come back, and the manager welcomed him back with open arms. Dennis is now doing the same work he did before—and feeling a renewed appreciation for the collaborative, supportive environment and how it enables everybody to be more successful and happier. “I have so many open and friendly colleagues, and we have a beer after work or do fun stuff on the weekends," Dennis says. “I’ve never had that experience of community at any other company.”
Cover photo by Dan Wehrle (Adobe photographer)

Oh, the Places They’ll Go

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University grads are kicking off exciting careers at Adobe

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It’s the one thing that people love to say to graduates: Time to join the real world, eh? At Adobe, that’s a good thing—because the “real world” means a supportive team, a fun work environment, great benefits, and the ability to be on the forefront of technological change.

Julia K. Security administrator in Lehi, Utah

Joined for: The freedom to shape her job On the information security team for digital marketing, Julia K. has a pretty cool job: She hires hackers—from reputable companies, of course—to hack Adobe apps and find potential security holes. The penetration testing program gives Adobe the chance to fix bugs before they become problems. While Julia was studying at Brigham Young University, she ran into Adobe at a career fair. She knew she wanted to work in the security field but wasn’t finding a lot of companies that were serious about security. “I was excited because Adobe was a cool, big name—and because they had a security program,” Julia says. “A lot of the other companies I found were startups, and security isn’t always a startup’s top priority.” She began interning in May 2011, and was happy when her manager quickly put the ball in her court.
[responsive imageid='13718' size1='0' size2='960'] My manager said, ‘What do you want to learn? What do you want to do?’ That was really exciting because I got to shape my internship around what I wanted to do.
That’s when she started working on the penetration testing program. Soon, she was running it. After graduation, when Julia was deciding where to take her career, she already knew she loved the company and the work. But she took some informal polls of other employees to see what they thought. “I went around to ask people how long they had been there, and many had been here for more than seven years,” Julia says. “This is a great company, and people stay. They don’t use it as a jumping off point to something else because Adobe treats its employees very well.” After interning for two years and working full-time for another year, Julia says she has also seen that people stay for other reasons, too. “The people you work with are really smart, and that keeps work interesting,” she says. “But there’s also a ‘play hard’ attitude here, too. People do their jobs really well and they love to have fun.”

Raj J. Member of technical staff in Noida, India

Joined for: The creative environment When Raj J. was looking for employment after graduating from India’s Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani, he had a lot of options. Big hitters like Adobe, Microsoft, and Amazon were all hiring fresh talent. 
But even though Raj was graduating with a computer science degree, he didn’t want to get pigeonholed into a job that was only about the bits and bytes. And that led him to Adobe.
[responsive imageid='13721' size1='0' size2='960'] Adobe is different because it’s more about creativity and art and innovation than other tech companies.
“If you graduate with a major in computer science, there’s usually not much you can do with photography, for example,” Raj says. “But at Adobe, you can combine the technical and the creative. And it’s the only place you can do that.” Today, as a member of technical staff on Adobe’s Noida campus, Raj helps to create the software that runs large-scale printers from companies like Xerox, Canon, and Fujifilm. But he’s just not a computer science guy—he’s also a photography enthusiast. And that has made his job extra-valuable as he learns about color and color conversion. He has also learned the differences in how the eye and the camera see color, and how monitors and printers process color—knowledge that informs his photography hobby. “Everybody talks about the open culture at Adobe, but for me it’s not just about open doors,” Raj says. “It’s the fact that I can actually attend a knowledge sharing session on a completely different product, like the Creative Cloud, and my manager actually encourages me to do that.”

Laura W. Campaign marketing manager in San Francisco

Joined for: The MBA rotation program It can be a little nerve-racking to graduate and take a job, wondering whether you made the right choice. For Laura W., that question was never an issue. She’s part of the MBA leadership rotation program at Adobe, which puts grads in three separate jobs, each lasting nine months, so they can then choose the job they love best. In her first rotation as strategy and operations manager for worldwide sales, Laura found herself traveling around the world and managing a team based in India. “I would be hard pressed to find a classmate who has had the broad diversity of experiences that I have had in my first two rotations,” Laura says. “I’ve gotten exposure to so many parts of the company.” A broad range of experience is something Laura says she appreciates—particularly because she came to Adobe with a diverse background already under her belt. She attended film school at the University of Southern California and then spent six years as a fashion designer. That’s how she originally fell in love with Adobe.
[responsive imageid='13719' size1='0' size2='960'] I used Photoshop and Illustrator every single day, and they gave me a creative way to get my work done. I was really passionate about the tools, but I didn’t know I would also be as passionate about the company until I got here.
Laura quickly discovered that she’s not the only one at Adobe with a history of creative pursuits. “One of the things I appreciate the most is that I’ve found so many other creative people here, even if they’re not in creative roles at the company,” she says. “I’ve met a product manager who also does metal sculpting and an operations manager who has a jewelry line. Everybody here is passionate, too.”

Tillmann P. Account development manager in Munich

Joined for: The people and technology Tillmann P. interned with Adobe’s Worldwide Field Operations in the Munich office for three years while he was completing his degree at the Ravensburg University of Cooperative Education. It wouldn’t be surprising for someone to decide that three years was plenty of time at one company—particularly so early in one’s career. But after a two-month break for exams, Tillmann was right back at Adobe after accepting a full-time position as account development manager.
[responsive imageid='13722' size1='0' size2='960'] Other companies hadn’t quite developed a portfolio of digital marketing products like Adobe had.
“I looked at a few other companies,” Tillmann says. “The benefits were similar, but I stayed at Adobe because of the people. “I liked how everyone worked together. Even after my internship I kept in touch with people on a private basis, and I got one of my colleagues to be the mentor for my thesis.” Tillmann was also excited about the product he worked on: Adobe’s Digital Marketing Suite, which helps major companies around the world manage billions of dollars in advertising and marketing spending more effectively, harnessing vast amounts of data on customer behavior. He says those companies want to work with partners who understand their needs, and coming from Adobe helps him create that connection. “The customers I work with are big global brands in Germany," Tillmann says. “So I can tell them that because Adobe is also a big global brand, we can identify with their problems and needs. We encounter the same obstacles and issues as they do, every day.”