Author Archive: Aaron Houston

#LVAdobe Photoshop World 2012 Meetup/Tweetup 9-3-12




The Las Vegas Adobe User Group held a meetup/tweetup event on 3 Sep 2012 to kick-off the Photoshop World (PSW12) festivities. The event was totally and organically organized by the Adobe User Group community and Adobe Community Professionals flying-in to participate in PSW12. I was invited to come represent Adobe, chat with attendees, and of course, bring the prizes. We had CS6 Photoshop Extended (boxed software), Creative Cloud T-shirts, Adobe Touch App Shirts, buttons, and much more to raffle off to those folks who registered. (Congratulations to the Winners: Jeff Schumacher, Mike Reeves, Oscar Nonis, Peter Order, Mike Reeves, Terri Begas, Mike Kubeisy,& Rocky Montez-Carr)

There were no formal presentations… that is the beauty of a meetup/tweetup event. And “Rock-Star presenters” will just come hang-out and not feel as though they have to present anything, just chat about geeky Photoshop & Camera stuff over beer and snacks.  Refreshments & snacks were provided by Adobe and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP). And, we had some special guests!

Special Guests: Adobe Evangelist Terry White, Colin Smith (PhotoshopCafe), Stephen Burns, Wayne Posner (Las Vegas Event/Concert photographer), Kevin Stohlmeyer (Adobe Community Professional) + a bunch of other cool folks stopped by.

All in all, we had 80+ attendees signed up. The room we had was a nice size, but not large enough to fit everybody.  We had a consistent crowd of about 60 folks (from 7pm-10pm) (This was our first time out with a tweetup/meetup, so we really didn’t know what to expect) The Staff at RiRa Irish Pub @MandalayBay were very accomodating and even turned on their PC + Projector, so we could display a “Tweet Wall”. A rep from Scott Kelby & Photoshop World, stopped by briefly, and expressed an interest in supporting a community event in Orlando in 2013. We’ll see how it goes? The event was A LOT of fun and folks were genuinely appreciative of Adobe’s support for the event. And I would definitely do another event at RiRa if an Adobe event was nearby.

– Aaron Houston

Adobe Community Mgr – North America

 Here are some photos from the event: 

#LVAdobe Meetup

Crowd Shot of #LVAdobe PSW12 Meetup/Tweetup Attendees

LQQK who I found at the #LVAdobe User Group Meetup/TweetUp Event 9.3.12 — Colin Smith!

Lots of Buttons for attendees!

Lots of Buttons for attendees!

Hanging Out @Adobe Table with Adobe User Group Managers @ #LVAdobe Photoshop World Meetup/Tweetup

Social Media StatsNate Ludens from Digital Royalty (and Las Vegas AUG co-mgr) shared some social media metrics with me after the event. In the preceding 18 hours before and during the event, we got 279 clicks on the twitter posts from folks arriving to Las Vegas for PSW12 and who stopped by RiRa Pub or retweeted. Something to build upon! (We’ll have more stats from the EventBrite registrations page, forthcoming)

Here are the Page views from EventBrite for this event:

Adobe Community Team @ Photoshop World User Group Event Sept 3rd @ RiRa Mandalay Bay

I will be attending this casual meetup (Pre-Photoshop World) at the RiRa Irish Pub inside Mandalay Bay Casino. Those that register on the eventbrite site should look me up for their raffle ticket. I will be drawing prizes at 9pm. Who knows what I will bring to this event? Get in! Also, at this event Adobe’s Bryan O’Neil Hughes and Terry White. Adobe Community Leaders Kevin Stohlmeyer @kstohl and Stephen Burns @chromeallusion will be there . Lots of hookups for Vegas creatives and Photoshop World attendees.

Event Page:

See You There

Aaron Houston
Adobe Community Mgr – No. America

CS6 Adobe User Group Launch Parties – Boston & Kansas City–May 2012


First leg of the CS6 Adobe User Group tour began in Boston with the Boston Design Camp.  Kirsten Rourke was the organizer of this event; we had been working on the organization of the event since February.  It was nice to see it all come together.  The event was cross-promoted among the local Adobe User Groups: Adobe Boston User Group (ABUG), Boston InDesign User Group, and Central MA Adobe User Group.  Boston is a tough and expensive place to hold an event, so hats-off to Kirsten Rourke for finding the Harvard Medical Center (Joseph P. Martin Conference Center) to host our event. We had a nice “roomie” theater with comfortable seating; and, a nice lobby area in which to set up the sponsor tables. Great Turnout: 200 attendees at this event and lots of interest at the Adobe table. We had the new Creative Cloud t-shirts and the 15% off Adobe User Group member discount cards for folks wishing to upgrade to CS6 after seeing all the cool content and features from our Adobe Community Professional (ACP) Speakers.  The previous evening we held a speakers and Boston User Group manager’s dinner at the Marriott hotel in Quincy MA.  Special thanks to the ACP and Adobe Freelancer speakers who came out to help me support this first-ever Adobe Design Camp in Boston.   The camp served a duel purpose, since organizer Kirsten Rourke was starting up a new Adobe User Group from this event: “Central MA Adobe User Group. She already has gained some new members from the Boston Design Camp event and has planned her first meeting.

Boston Design Camp Speaker Resources:

 Kevin Stohlmeyer (ACP)

 Chana Messer (ACP)

Chana’s Presentation

 Kirsten Rourke

 Pariah Burke (ACP)

Pariah’s Presentation

 Rick Zanotti

Rick’s Presentation

2012 - Boston Design Camp Speakers, Organizers, & Sponsors

D2W & Kansas City AUG CS6 Launch Event 16-18 May 2012

D2W 2012 is the 3rd installment of a very unique conference. It’s one of the few technical conferences that I know of that focuses on “Workflow” between developers and designers.  This year it was actually TWO events.  On the night of 16May12, the local Kansas City Adobe User Groups got together at the Berg event space for a nite of Lightening Demos from the D2W speakers.  Every speaker had 10 min to present (2) of their favorite features from the CS6 release.  There were rock star speakers that came out before D2W to do a warm-up event with the area local user groups: KCWebCore, KCDesignCore, KCDevCore, Adobe Digital Photography UG, and KCVideoCore. The AUG CS6 Party with the User Group 150 attendees and the D2W (main) event had 150 attendees for a total of 300 attendees for both events.  Special thanks to Buck Summerkamp and Dee Sadler for organizing the events.

Rock, Paper, Scissors — Software!

For D2W we decided to give away the CS6 Master Collection software in a different way.  The Inspiration from James Polanco who got the idea from Ben Forta (via Adobe event in Japan). We gave away #CS6 MC using Rock-Paper-Scissors game. See how it went here with this video:




On the Road to CS6 Launch Parties – Denver

CS6 User Group events May-June 2012 (Denver)

While on my way to the Boston Design Camp, I had a stop over in Denver. I met up with Amanda Johnson and Joseph Labrecque from the Rocky Mountain Adobe User Group. It’s always time well spent while on the road… talking to the User Group Managers and discuss what’s going on with their communities and what’s going on inside Adobe. We covered a lot of ground over a beverage…that I ever could via an email or phone.

Joseph Labrecque, Aaron Houston (Adobe), & Amanda Johnson

From the visit, Amanda Johnson (RMAUG UGM) indicated that she’s planning a CS6 User Group meeting in June and wanted to know more about what support she could get from Adobe, so we talked about content, speakers, etc. More details to appear at

Adobe User Group CS6 Launch Parties: There have been over 90 submissions for CS6 Launch Parties, most of them were small events (less than 50 people). We will be supporting these groups with presentation assets and some swag to give away at their meetings which are forthcoming.  The larger more organized meetings will be receiving additional support.

This is my first leg for a West Coast CS6 User Group Launch tour + a few extra dates. More dates are being planned over the summer and into October (AdobeMAX).

West Coast User Group schedule:

May 9th for Denver User Group Mgr Visit

May 11th – Boston Design Camp CS6 Launch party Weekend

May 16th Kansas City for D2W conf + Kansas City CS6 AUG Mgrs meetup + launch meeting

May 17-18 – D2W Conference Kansas City MO Weekend

May 29th CS6 Camp San Francisco w/Mark Christiansen After Effects Demos

June 2nd – CS6 Camp San Diego

June 5th – CS6 Camp San Jose – w/ Al Mooney @ The Tech Museum IMAX theater June 6th- 8th San Jose

June 10th — CSNEXT Los Angeles, DDLA, DMALA + 4 other LA User Groups

June 14th CS6 Launch Party Las Vegas (w/Univ of Nevada LV) & Las Vegas AUG

June 16th CS6 Camp Long Beach w/ATX and w/Jack Davis

July 1st Adobe Summer Break

More posts coming at the events listed above…


Aaron Houston

Adobe Community Mgr North America



San Diego and Orange County AUG visits – March 2012

“Getting to know your community is one of the most important things a Community Manager should be doing; and, one can’t do that behind a desk!” 

Besides, the big community summit the Community Team does every year @AdobeMAX, we often get out and visit the User Groups to see if they are healthy, alive/still meeting, and provide them some insight to what’s going on inside at Adobe…. It is one of the favorite things about my job.

Adobe Touch

So, I recently had the opportunity to bring Sally Cox (aka @Kreatable & Adobe Community Pro/ACP ) to demo the new Adobe Photoshop Touch App for the iPad at two Adobe User Groups in Southern California: San Diego Photoshop User Group and Orange County Multimedia Organization). Since AdobeMAX 2010, I have been wanting to get out and find more about the LA & Orange County Adobe User Groups. I am gradually making the rounds and going to places beyond California in the near future.

Here’s a run-down of the activities from my most recent trip to Orange County and San Diego:

18 Mar 12 — Adobe User Group Mgr meetup at Cafe Coyote in Old Town San Diego (SD).

I got into San Diego on Sunday Mar 18th, so I thought it would be a good idea to invite some of the local San Diego Adobe User Group Managers out for some food and chat about how their communities are doing.  Local San Diego AUG mgrs are: Stephen Burns (SD Photoshop), Chris Griffith (SD-Flash), Eric Addison (SD-Premiere Pro), Sally Cox (ACP). and Mark Zepeda (New Horizons Training & MAWD UGM).


19 Mar 12 – “Get in Touch with Adobe Touch Apps” Event @ San Diego Art Institute

San Diego Photoshop User Group hosts Adobe Community Professional Sally Cox

Adobe User Group Mgrs addresses SDPSUG members before meeting

Over 100+ folks came to see Sally Cox (ACP) show off the new Photoshop Touch App on iOS/iPad. Adobe Community Manager Aaron Houston was onhand as well with extra iPad and Android tablets so folks in the audience could follow along with Sally’s demo of Photoshop Touch.  In the example below, Sally used 9 layers to color different parts of a carousel horse she found at an antique shop.  The layers are preserved in a Photoshop .PSDX file which can be uploaded to the Adobe’s Creative Cloud.  Notice, that there is file intelligence with Adobe’s Creative Cloud; the file also retains a Kuler .ASE swatch file.  Sally also demo’d Adobe Proto, a website prototyping app for iPad & Android, and she also had time left to demo  All in All, we had some great questions and feedback from the TouchApp event and we hope to do more!  Adobe Community Manager Aaron Houston brought some cool t-shirts, buttons, and software to give away at the event.  And we had a few San Diego Art Institute students poke their heads into the session to see what all the fuss was about…some even stayed to watch Sally, who used to teach at the Institute many moons ago.

ACP Sally Cox used 9 layers of coloring and stippling in this .PSDX file via her iPad

We didn’t have a video recording of Sally’s Demo in San Diego, but I did manage to record (3) .MP3 files that could listened too. Sally is a fabulous trainer, part comedienne, and great to work with! Thank You, Sally!

MP3′s (Hear ACP Sally Cox Demo the Adobe Touch App Tools):


After the event, San Diego Photoshop volunteers, User Group Mgr Stephen Burns, his assistants, Sally Cox, and I got late night eats.  Not much open late on a Monday night in Fullerton, but we managed.  It is a rare opportunity where I can sit down and talk to the volunteers who help run these user groups; and, I’m sure they appreciated the food & drink.


20 Mar 12 – “Get in Touch with Adobe Touch Apps” Event @ Fullerton College, Fullerton CAOver 50+ folks came out to a special meeting of Orange County Creative Suite User Group which is part of an umbrella of Adobe User Groups organized under the Orange County Multimedia Organization( Indeed many of the Orange County Adobe User Groups Managers were at this meeting. We took our first ever group picture; and, I can definitely see that there is a strong Adobian Community in South LA & Orange Counties.

Orange County & South LA Adobe User Group Mgrs - Fullerton College -- 20Mar12

Orange County Multimedia Organization (OCMMA) is run as a non-profit organization that allows Special Interest Groups (SIGs) like: Web Video Crossroads, OC Flash User Group, OC Creative Suite User Group, OC ColdFusion User Group, & After Effects Abuser. OCMMA has been around for 25 years helping folks learn more about technology, finding people careers, and keeping folks up on the latest updates in technology. I want to point out the strong leadership team of Cynthia Gordon, Bonnie Erdich, Terry Syndergaard, Mike McGready, and many others. I was impressed how the User Group managers stick together and work so well together & with the other Adobe User Group Managers in the area, like Adobe Technology Exchange (Lynette Kent & Rick Redforn)….They all came out to this event.

The Orange County & LA AUG Mgrs have already started planning their NEXT BIG EVENT in JUNE ’12. Stay Tuned to my twitter account for that announcement @thisishouston1

OCMMA Attendees watch Sally Cox Demo Adobe Photoshop Touch

ACP Sally Cox was the speaker for this event as well.  We straightened out a few things with the video output to the project with her iPad and she was off and demoing.  We were not able to record this event, but there were more pictures.


After the event, some of the User Group managers stuck around and we all grabbed some food to talk about future Adobe events in Orange County/LA area. Good times were had by all!

I would like to visit 3-7 Adobe User Group every quarter, depending on attendance and the local organization of a special Adobe meeting by the User Group Managers. So, with Creative Suite 6 coming soon! I suspect I will be out on the road more in the coming months to visit more Adobe User Groups.

Aaron Houston – Adobe Community Mgr

Aaron is a Community Manager for Adobe Systems.  He’s been involved with Adobe User Groups since 2010. Prior to Adobe, Aaron worked as the Java User Group Coordinator at Sun Microsystems (2005-2010). And long ago, long ago…in a galaxy far away, Aaron served as an eBay Community Watch members (1998).  Aaron’s passion is about people and User Group Communities.  For more information about what a Community Manager does, check out the “Art of Community” website run by longtime Community Guy Jono Bacon!


Adobe Flex Tour Seattle 22Feb2012

I had the opportunity to attend the Adobe Flex Tour Stop at the Silver Cloud Inn in Seattle this week. Adobe Evangelism Manager Greg Wilson was co-presenting with Mike Labriola(ApacheFlex/Spoon) to over 40 attendees.We had several Adobe folks attending as well Evangelist Renaun Erickson(Las Vegas), Alex Harui (Adobe Flex SDK team Seattle), and Michelle Yaiser (Adobe, ApacheFlex.Over course there was pizza and drinks sponsored by Adobe.
Here are some of the MP3 recordings from this event:


After the presentations some of the Seattle Area Adobe User Group Managers and I headed across the street for a beer and some food to talk over how Adobe might help them expand their communities and plan larger meetings with the help of Adobe Camp funds.  – Aaron Houston Adobe Community Mgr

The New Web HTML5 14Nov11

Stephanie Rewis kicks off the Presentations

I had the opportunity to go on a road trip to see the HTML5 event put on by the Los Angeles Adobe User Groups.  Once again, like the June Creative Suite 5.5 Launch Event, I was impressed on how well the LA Adobe User Group Managers get along and organize their events together.  The June event drew over 140 attendees, the HTML5 event drew over 165+ attendees.   The Barnsdall Gallery Theater is an excellent venue and my first time visiting this place.  The Digital Media Arts User Group of LA (DMALA) holds their meetings at this location. In fact, I stayed an extra day to visit with Ko Maruyama and attend the DMALA meeting.

At the HTML5 event, ShaRon Sachse was the principle organizer, but she had help from over 8 other Adobe User Group Managers who came out to support the event. Thanks to ShaRon and the team for putting on an excellent event.  The logistics included 44 Costco pizzas and several cases of water/soft drinks.

ShaRon has also started a new HTML5 Designer group called the “Digital Designer’s of LA“.  They have held (3) meetings since the summer and are building up membership and planning meetings.  The next meeting will be another joint meeting with other Adobe User Groups that will cover the new Adobe Photo Touch Tablet Apps on Dec 11th — MORE here.

Here is a slideshow from the event:

Adobe Evangelist Greg Rewis gave an interesting demo of about the latest Fireworks CSS3 Mobile Pack, which includes a CSS3 Properties Panel and the jQuery Mobile Theme Skinning tool.  More at AdobeTV.

Dec 15th Meeting — At The Shack in Playa Del Rey

While I was in LA, I also had the opportunity to talk to the Adobe User Group Managers of LAFlex (Tom Bray) and LAFlash (Harald Koebler & Omar Gonzalez).
The recent announcements by Adobe had caught the community by surprise, so this was an opportunity to discuss what was going on inside of Adobe and to get their feedback.  Tom Bray (LA Flex) recommend that we meet-up at “the Shack”.  After a few burgers and drinks, we all reflected on this announcement by Adobe’s Danny Winokur. Subsequent feedback was relayed back to Adobe; and fortunately, there was a “flurry” of posts were already in the works:

It was unfortunate to be out on the road while significant changes were going @Adobe. And I appreciate the time & energy of our community leaders like Tom, Omar, and Harald.  Adobe hopes to hold a Flash/Flex Tour stop in LA sometime in late Jan/Feb 2012 to discuss more about the changes..

(NOTE: Steps are being taken to address the changes at Adobe, but this is not the appropriate forum for this discussion. There are other folks within Adobe who will be commenting on Adobe’s directions….I won’t be!)

15 Nov 11 DMALA Meetup at Barnsdall Theatre:

After the lunch meeting with some of the west-side LA Adobe User Groups, I braved the cross-town LA traffic to attend the DMALA meeting (again at the Barnsdall theatre).  I have been trying to get around to the Adobe User Groups to attend as many of their meetings as possible.   The DMALA meeting which had pretty decent attendance with over 70 attendees.

Digital Media Artists / Los Angeles (DMA/LA) is an association for professionals creating imagery for video, film, and other media using desktop tools.

There was a fascinating discussion about animation & compositing in Photoshop done by Ko Murayama.  Harry Frank (Mr. aka RedGiant Guru) did a visual effects demonstration that will provide a slew of workflow tips in keying, camera projection and compositing. There were additional demos of Primatte, Red Giant Warp, Key Correct, Colorista, Cosmo and Knoll Light Factory in 3D green-screen tracking and compositing breakdown.

There was also a presentation on Zbrush ( a meshing and sculpting tool similar to Lightwave) by Eric Keller…There were lots of Bugs and Insects involved, since Eric uses the zBrush tool to create weird looking bugs much to the dismay of his wife.






There’s more travels ahead in December…

**Special Thanks to Daniel Sofer from LA DIGITAL Imaging Group and Hermosa Wave photography for the awesome photos!



Adobe sponsored the North Carolina Developer Conference (NCDEVCON) in Raleigh, NC last weekend (Sept 17-18th, 2011). There were over 250 paid attendees — the event sold out.  I was approached (8) weeks ago to help wrangle speakers, content, promotion, logistics on behalf of Adobe.   Hats off to Dan Wilson (@danwilson), Jim Priest (@thecrumb), and the Triangle Area ColdFusion User Group (TACFUG) volunteer members who worked so hard to make this a successful event.

Social Media:

Early on, there was some anxiety by the NCDEVCON team about having a paid event, but that “Angst” was quickly overcome when the social media campaign started.  The registrations started back in July with a handful of paid registrants; and, NCDEVCON team ended up with over 260 paid registrants on Eventbrite.  So, it’s important to thank a few folks!

Special thanks to: @BenNadel, @DanWilson, @cfjedimaster, @tpryan, @codebase, @deesadler@ColdFusion, + ALL the NCDEVCON speakers and sponsors for helping & getting the word out.  (did my best to get the word out as well via @thisishouston1)

NCDEVCON attendees!

Paid Event vs Free

Sure, there was some grumbling about the $60 conference fee.  But, that nominal fee really helped with the event’s success.  “Who doesn’t have $60?”, said Dan Wilson (NCDEVCON/TACFUG) in our weekly conference calls.  Now, there was some accommodations made for the students, but the $60 bucks did ensure an amazingly LOW attendee drop-rate at 5%.  We like to see that as sponsors! SO…

Lesson Learned for Event Organizers: 

When the attendees have a stake in the conference, they are more likely to come to the conference! And your sponsors will be happy to see them turn-out!

AND — 250 NCDEVCOM’ers did turn-out!  They came out to partake in a GREAT Regional Developer Conference! They got:  

  • Some great presentations from new and seasoned presenters
  • Hands-On Labs delivered by top-notch Adobe employees
  • A chance to WIN some valuable software
  • Photo-ops with developer celebrities (I saw the “paparazzi” following Ben Nadel, Ray Camden + others)
  • Connect with each other at an evening network event
  • Have some FUN!  (i.e. checkout presenter & TACFUG member, Bucky Schwarz, get TP’d in his session — video here @33min mark )
….As Ben Nadel would say, “NCDEVCON is Bananas!”

The Venue:

Thanks to Shawn Dunning and NC State University College of Textiles for an awesome building with unbelievable WIFI and AudioVisual equipment!  For conference organizers, if you can hook-up with a local college or university like NC State, then this is a great way to go!  The extra classrooms were very handy in providing extra learning opportunities for Hands-On Labs participants—with no additional overhead.

Adobe Keynote:

Adobe brought its best available speakers to NCDEVCON.  The event also provided the first opportunity for Adobe’s ColdFusion Product team to introduce its new Product Manager — Rakshith Naresh.  Adobe Evangelist, Terry Ryan, did the keynote introduction + provided an overview of where Adobe was headed in the web and mobile space.  This overview and vision was much appreciated!   So, there were a lot of sessions and most of them can be viewed online via NC State College of Textiles Video Services (again outstanding facility!)

There were some links to presentations, demo scripts, or .pdfs which are available on presenter’s blog OR at the Adobe Groups Online presentation repository.

Adobe Sessions & Speakers:

Adobe Table in the Sponsor's Lounge

Adobe community team and ColdFusion Product team engineers staffed a table at NCDEVCON. There was a new T-shirt to giveaway, dubbed the “CF is Da Bomb”. This was a new T-shirt designed by Adam Lehman’s wife (Rachel). There were 15% off coupons available to attendees looking to upgrade/purchase Adobe software. Attendees also got check out some of the news tablets loaded with mobile apps that were created Flash Builder 4.5.

 Evening Social + Free Software Raffle:

Adobe gave out lots of software and promotional items at NCDEVCON, but attendees had to be present for the drawings at the evening social event and the event wrap-up session.  Prizes were drawn by the NCDEVCON organizers.

Congrats to the Winners:

FlashBuilder 4.5 Premium (includes ColdFusion Builder 2)

  • Phillip Molaro
  • William Lee Cherry
  • Michael Schore
  • Jonathan Morgan
  • Jose Galdamez
  • Andrew Duvall
  • Birgit Pauli-Haack
  • Sam Singer Jr
  • Christian Abad
  • Nancy Schipon

CF 9 Standard:

  • Nolan Erck
  • Kip Robinson

Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection

  • Andrew Abbott
  • James Locus


Adobe Community Team Gifting

I personally donated a boxed copy of Flash Builder 4.5 to
5 Bucks is change” is an initiative that supports several “micro-charities” through public donations of $5 increments.  Janet Kennedy volunteers for this organization and is based in Raleigh, NC.   As their marketing and social media person, Janet raffled-off the Flash Builder 4.5 software to the NCDEVCON attendees raising over $400.  The NCDEVCON staff  matched that amount for a total gift of $800 that will then be given to various micro-charities.

More Photos:

Mike Brunt aka @CFWhisperer stopped by the Adobe table to pick up his shirt

Adobe SE, Josh Adams at ColdFusion HOL 9-17-11

Oğuz Demirkapı at the evening social

Adobe Evangelist Terry Ryan helping Mobile App HOL attendee 9-18-11

NCDEVCON Attendees

Adobe Evangelists: Ray Camden and Terry Ryan checking into NCDEVCON

Wrap Up:

NCDEVCON certainly provided a great opportunity for developers to get up-to-date with the latest web and mobile tools — And Adobe Was There!  But, NCDEVCON was also good for Adobe! While Adobe is expected to be out amongst its developer community, the event also was the first chance for Adobe’s ColdFusion team and evangelists to meetup, since the program transition to India.  Supporting regional conferences is good for the community eco-system; good for business; and, good PR.  We hope to be at NCDEVCON next year.  

Tweets captured:















MuraCON Sacramento Aug 25-26th, 2011


Adobe was called in to be a last minute sponsor of MuraCON.  Over (70) ColdFusion and Web Developers attended a 2 day conference at Drexel University campus in Sacramento. Nice venue right by the river and down the street from the California capital building.  The MuraCon organizers assured me that they wanted to start small with this event.  In fact, they weren’t even sure anybody would come! Boy, were they surprised when their conference sold out a month prior to the conference; and, they had a decent size waiting list too.


Adobe Table @MuraCON 2011

I was helping out Josh Adams (@jladams97) our Sales Engineer for ColdFusion.   Josh was speaking at the event and needed help at the Adobe table.  And as it turned out, there were several Adobe User Group Managers and their members there.  The community aspect was great, but what is this Mura stuff? They were at MAX, but I’d never heard of them.


Mura Guys Delivering the Keynote













Mura is a CFML based Content Management System (CMS) that was created by Blue River Interactive Group, a full-service interactive agency based in Sacramento, California.

Blue River was founded by 3 guys who played in Sacramento area rock bands.  They wanted to find a simpler way to update their band websites.  So one thing led to another and they developed a flexible web based content management system.  They’re young, agile, and they have got some great clients.
Mura is discovering that they are the verge of creating a new community of CFML developers and designers. 

Getting A Community Started:

I was asked by one of the founders (“Malcom”) this question: ” When does a software company know when to support a User Group Community? “

Awesome question! I replied:
” Hmm, you’ve held your first user conference; and, it sold out a month ago….Seems like you already have a community!  No time like the present to start engaging them! ” 

I also added a couple of things:
  1. Continue the dialogue with your users; plan for MuraCON 2012.
  2. Identify influencers who know your technology well, and then invite them to meet Mura staff offsite.
  3. Discuss with your influencers, how they might get involved in forming meetups and speaking about your technology as “outside evangelists”.  (They key thing is they have to feel so passionate about your technology that they will do this evangelizing on their own….they can’t be paid or else they lose their street credibility)
  4. Then start thinking about how Mura might engage and recognize them publically.  Community Spotlight? A Speaker session @MuraCon2012? Perhaps then, set up a User Groups or a “Champions” program…..centered around these influencers. Things will build from there.
  5. Next Mura will need to think about hiring a Community Coordinator/Manager to help them with event planning, social media outreach, and other engagement opportunities.

I hinted further that a great place to look for community folks is at the Community Leadership Summit or CLS-West (in So. San Francisco).

A good book to read is Jono Bacon’s (Ubuntu Community Mgr) book: “The Art of Community.

Here’s a video below of Jono talking about the rise of communities in corporations/foundations.

The Software Giveaways! + the Swag

We gave away several copies of Flash Builder Premium 4.5 which comes bundled with ColdFusion Builder 2.   There were also developer t-shirts and some assorted swag.  In talking to a couple of the winners, they had lots of ideas on creating ColdFusion Builder extensions; and some even had an interest in creating Mobile Applications with FlashBuilder 4.5.  There was one developer who works for a military organization who wanted to create an Android App and reader device for Java Card ID’s to access their internal intranet.  Sounded interesting!  All in All, there were a lot of happy CF developers.

Adobe User Groups @MuraCON

Met a couple of Adobe User Group Managers and members at MuraCON:

MuraCON Attendees
  • Scott Sloan aka “rubbergumball” will be synching-up with Sean Corfield to be the new leader of Bay Area ColdFusion User Group which meets at the Adobe building in San Francisco. Thanks Scott for stepping up and helping BACFUG to remain officially in the Adobe User Group program.
  • Sean Walsh from Inland Empire CFUG  – I had a long conversation with Sean, we naturally talked about doing a joint developer event in Southern California amongst several So. California Adobe User Groups.
  • Steve Farwell from the Orange County ColdFusion User Group

Will there be a West Coast ColdFusion Event in 2012?

I certainly hope so! The guys from Mura could probably do it with additional sponsorship.  Adobe will likely be there, but all depends on how things are organized!

objectivebias Tony Garcia:

#MuraCon was amazing. Was a privilege to meet so may passionate developers. Now let’s see how much Irene messes up our homeward travel plans

grantshepert Grant Shepert:

@davidpanzarella sure, maybe Thursday? Heard you met my bud @JasPanesar … jeez, there goes the #MuraCon envy again

heatherbowman Heather Bowman:

East coast next :) RT @stevewithington : #MuraCon went so fast, can’t believe it’s over! maybe we should take this thing on the road

stevewithington stevewithington:

 #MuraCon went so fast, can’t believe it’s over! maybe we should take this thing on the road #ColdFusion #MuraCMS #opensource

southofshasta South of Shasta:

 #MuraCon was awesome! Left w/ lots of ideas, and a ton of excitement about some project ideas. Winning the raffle prize didnt hurt either :)

JasPanesar Jas Panesar

Great meeting everyone at #muracon! Thanks to @muracms@Adobe@railo@ten24web@hostmediauk for making it possible an accessible!


Aaron Houston
Adobe Community Mgr – North America
San Jose, CA

Community Leadership Summit (Portland, OR) Jul 23-24, 2011

Birds of a Feather — Flock Together

Michael Van Riper (Google), Aaron Houston (Adobe/Sun), Bruno Souza (SouJava/Sun), & Steve Chin (JUG/AUG leader–OSCON Java Track Lead)
Rachel Luxemburg and I attended the Community Leadership Conference which takes place the weekend before OSCON.  We saw some of the same familiar faces that we normally see at the January version of this conference in San Francisco — CLS-West. ( “Van” Riper is the organizer for that 1-day event.)  Personally, I owe a lot to the Community Leadership Summit event. It was not too long ago in January 2010 when I attended CLS and discovered that Adobe does indeed “Get Community”  And @CLS-West, that’s where I met my future boss (Rachel).  Now, after a year and half running Adobe’s communities in North America, it was nice to re-connect with some of the Community Managers and Leaders I met while working at Sun Microsystems.So, I will focus on ONE session and mention some folks that I feel are important in the world of community managers.The first day of sessions was probably the most interesting, but the second day was when I met more community leaders that I knew.

Death Star User Groups – Fav CLS11 session:

My favorite session was led by Sun’s former Chief Open Source Officer Simon Phipps. We we worked in parallel at Sun Microsystems, mainly with the Java and OpenSolaris communities. Simon’s session was aptly named: The DEATH STAR User Group (photo here).  One of the challenges in open source (and in general)  is that some companies DO NOT always focus on the good.  Rather, they have a focus on benefiting shareholders and harming competitors without regard to how their actions might affect the community.  This session focused on how Community Managers need to reconcile at a personal level when being labeled as “evil” and how to act towards the community when conflict arises.  Interesting analogy/takeaway:  Simon proposed that all corporations are like “Reptiles” (A crocodile, was the animal he referenced).  At first this was quite a shocking analogy to me, since I am now working for Adobe. But I know Simon—seen him speak before, there was a method to his brash statement.  He proposed that in a world of shareholders and public companies — Companies are Reptiles because:

#1 — Companies need revenue to survive; so, like  hungary “Crocs”, they will feed (i.e. they have to make a profit for the shareholders or owners)
#2 — Companies, sensing fear or threats, will lash out to protect themselves (i.e. register/buy software patents or engage intellectual property lawsuits, etc)
#3 — If the Company is not hungary nor feels threatened, then IT will do nothing. Like a crocodile sitting on the bank of a river who has already eaten its last victim; sitt’n there watching passers-by—do nothing until it feels threatened or hungary again.

Simon might be a bit cynical, but his analogy was thought provoking!  (Perhaps, a bit disturbing – my fear of large omnivore reptiles….) One thing I quickly realized, while listening to Simon was that there were an awful lot of ex-Sun folks sitting at this session, so it kinda felt like ex-sun therapy.  Another thing I realized was that I kept seeing the same folks at the unconference sessions I was attending.  One of whom, Dan Allen, from Red Hat was in a lot of the same sessions I was in.

***Dan went into MORE detail about CLS Conference than I had time for in this entry. So Check out his blog: ” Learning to lead cats at Community Leadership Summit 2011 ” and the article is worth a read.

Important FOLKS Met while at CLS:

  • Bruno Souza (SouJava Brazil, and a fellow community mgr @Sun; taught me everything I know about community; often wears a Brazilian flag as a cape; you can’t miss him at a conference.)
  • Stephen Chin (A Java User Group Leader but also leading a Flash On Devices User Group; just wrote a new book on mobile app development: “Pro Android Flash“)
  • Gunner Hillert (New Java User Group Manager of Atlanta JUG; also chairing the Atlanta DEVNEXUS conference in Spring 2012)
  • Manfred Moser (Leader of Vancouver Island Java User Group; One of these days, I am going to get Adobe Evangelist Duane Nickull who lives in Vancouver to do a presentation there)
  • Mark Johnson (Leader of the New England Java User Group. Dude! In the five years I worked at Sun, I never met you. I had to come to CLS to finally meet YOU in person. Thanks for all your help through the years!
  • Michael Van Riper – (co-leader of the Silicon Valley Web JUG; now a community manager for developer outreach at Google; Google Technology User Groups founder; co-organizer of the Silicon Valley Code Camp AND the hardest working Community Manager I know! He IS a “Serial Community Organizer“)
  • Marsee Henon/John Jons ( the Community Team at O’Reilly; They have always been good to me and the User Groups I’ve worked with! Good folks to know!)
  • Zohar Babin (former Adobe User Grp Leader of Flashoo Israel; relocated to NYC; Community & Developer relations at Kaltura)

All in All, I enjoyed my time at CLS; I will be at CLS-West come January 2012.  I hope to be back in Portland again next year with Adobe being a sponsor of both CLS & CLS-WEST — and perhaps DO SOME GOOD!… Thanks Jono & the Team!

And Jono Signed my copy of  “the Art of Community” — Coolness!