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!


Friday Afternoon Community Twitter Meme

Just for a little fun today, I sent out a Tweet on @adobegroups:

The response were great!

We got both design and developer-focused replies:

Some Twitter-related ones:

Some social ones:

A fashion-focused response:

Plus several others not included here. But of them all, these two were my favorites, they really exemplify what the community spirit is all about — camaraderie (by way of an in-joke from this year’s Adobe MAX) and helping each other to succeed!

How do YOU know you’re part of the Adobe community? Feel free to add more ways in the comments.

Office Hours at Adobe MAX 2011

It’s hard to believe that in just a few short days Adobe MAX 2011 will be upon us! The team has been working hard getting everything ready for the Community Leaders Summit and all the activities in the Community Lounge.

We’re adding something new to the Lounge this year: Office Hours @ MAX. A number of different groups and community programs at Adobe all want to have more face-to-face interaction with the community while at MAX, so we’re setting up special meeting spaces in the Lounge where anyone at MAX can drop by and chat!

Between MAX sessions, Unconferences, and all the other wonderful things to do at MAX, there’s no lack of stuff going on, but if have have some spare time, here’s some more events you won’t want to miss:

Monday 1-2 PM RIM Developer Meetup
Monday 3-4 PM Hang with the Creative Team + A Guest Appearance By Brian Yap
Monday 6-7 PM Creative Suite Ambassadors Reception
Tuesday 12-1 PM Game Developers Tweetup
Tuesday 1-2 PM Meet & Greet with Evangelist Paul Trani
Tuesday 1-2 PM A Peek Behind the Curtain: Meet the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Team
Tuesday 2-3 PM Training Partner Program Community
Tuesday 2-3 PM Adobe Certified Expert Meetup
Tuesday 3-4 PM Play Time – Come meet the Gaming Solutions Team
Tuesday 4-5 PM Meet up with CS Design Evangelist Rufus Deuchler
Wednesday 11:30 AM-12:30 PM Hang with the Creative Team + A Guest Appearance By Kyle Lambert
Wednesday 12:30- 1:30 PM Meetup with the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite Team

No RSVP is necessary, just come on by the Community Lounge!

Adobe MAX is a huge high point for me and the team each year and this one is no exception. We’re all looking forward to seeing hundreds of old friends (and new) at MAX. Please stop by the Lounge and say “hi!”.

FOTB – The Once and Future Conference

the Brighton Done, home of FOTB

the Brighton Dome, home of FOTB

Last week I joined the Adobe UK crew to help out at Flash On The Beach, an excellent conference based in Brighton. It’s in my personal Top 5 of conferences due to the amazing content, great location, and all-around excellent vibe. 2011 was no exception. And even the weather played along; we had perfect sunny days that brought out the best in Brighton.

A number of folks have already posted good summaries of the event, including Seb Lee-Delisle, Eye Magazine, and PJ Tierney.

The big news from the conference was that this is the last FOTB in its current name and format. Sad news, but I have confidence that the FOTB spirit will continue, and I hope to be wending my way to Brighton again in 2012 for whatever FOTB morphs into.


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!



“June was a busy month for the Adobe Community & Evangelism Teams, so here are some highlights — Aaron Houston (Adobe Community Mgr) 

JAX San Jose Ca – June 21-22, 2011

Ben Forta (above), Adobe’s Evangelism Director, addresses Java Enterprise audience at JAX San Jose about Adobe’s launch of new product: Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform.  JAX  also coincided with the update to Flash Builder, so Ben was also there talk about Adobe’s mobile story.  Ben, pointed out that one can also write Flex/AIR Apps for iOS devices with the new FlashBuilder 4.5.1 update, and then mentioned the Politifact Mobile App which is the best selling new app on iTunes.

FlashBuilder 4.5.1
Here is a video of Ben’s talk at JAX-San Jose (link to his slides forthcoming):


Ben Forta JAX San Jose 2011 Keynote YouTube

Presentation slide links:

Adobe Speakers @JAX:

@ccoenraets TwitterChristophe Coenraets (“@ccoenrats“) had a session on Mobile Application Development with Flex and Java using the new FlashBuilder 4.5.1 tooling to deploy the same code across multiple mobile devices (iOS, RIM Playbook, and Android).

Cedric Heusler from DayCédric Hüsler (“@keepthebyte“) is an Evangelist from Day software; and, he had a session about Data Structures, Restful Web Services, OSGi, & Java Content Repository (JCR; JSR-170, 283. He also demo’d (CRX) the new Java Content Repository Platform which is part of Adobe’s new Digital Enterprise offering.  It was my first chance to meet one of the enterprise evangelists that came over in the Day Software acquisition.

JAX-SJ Adobe Booth:

Liz Frederick (left); Aaron Houston (right, background)

Liz Frederick
(Adobe Community Team) and I helped out  to staff the Adobe booth.   While the attendance of JAX-San Jose was not spectacular, the event did provide a chance for Adobe to mingle with the Java Enterprise crowd.  And, I got an opportunity to reconnect with some of my former Java community folks: Chris Richardson (Oakland JUG, POJOs in Action author, Java Champion); Chet Haase (Google,  formerly w/Adobe, & Sun); Romain Guy (Google); Kevin Nilson (Silicon Valley Web JUG and Java Champion); Sonya Barry (, Jasper Potts (Oracle, Sun, JavaFX); Pieter Humphrey (Oracle, BEA), Kito Mann (

Folks I met @JAXCONF:


VegasFlash – Flash Builder 4.5.1 Tour 22June2011

After the JAX conference, I hopped on a plane to make an evening meeting with VegasFlash.  Adobe Evangelists Renaun Erickson & Greg Wilson demo’d the new features in the FlashBuilder 4.5.1 (update) which was released earlier in the week.  VegasFlash has a nice setup for larger meetings like this. They use McMullen’s Irish Pub’s backroom which has its own bar.  McMullen’s is on 4650 W. Tropicana by the Orleans Casino & they have a pretty nice Flash website (  There were about 50 Flash Developers onhand to watch Renaun’s demo. Greg Wilson was also in town following-up with one of the casinos who is very interested in expanding into mobile apps of tablets/phones…. FlashON! After the meeting, I got a chance to talk to a couple guys from Zappos about their plans to move into the old Las Vegas City Hall and help revitalize the area as a technology business incubator for startups. One of the Zappos guys even won a boxed-copy of FlashBuilder 4.5 that I brought to the meeting, so I know they will put that to good use.  We will be checking in on the Zappos guys in the future! Wish them the best of luck bringing new jobs to downtown LV.

FlashBuilder 4.5 User Group Tour:
The VegasFlash meeting was part of a series of FlashBuilder 4.5 Launch Tours with select Adobe User Groups who could accommodate both in venue and the busy evangelist schedules. Here’s a list of tour dates & facts:

Date User Group Adobe Speaker #’s
10 May 2011 Boston Flex Christophe Coenraets 45+
14 May 2011 IndyFlex Kevin Schmidt 50+
07 June 2011 NYFLEX Terry Ryan 50+
16 June 2011 Dallas Flex Renaun Erickson 45+
22 June 2011 Vegas Flash Renaun Erickson & Greg Wilson 45+
23 June 2011 Mid Michigan Flex Ryan Stewart 40+
28 June 2011 LA Flex Renaun Erickson 60+

Next, a couple days after the Vegas/JAX events, it was on to the LAST Stop of the FB 4.5 Tour:   a joint meeting of Los Angeles Flex User Group, LA Flash, and LA ColdFusion UG.

LA Flex – Flash Builder 4.5.1 Tour 28June2011

So after a quick flight (SJC to LAX) on a new eco-friendly Horizon Q400turbo-prop, I found myself in Los Angeles….land of Gourmet Food Trucks, Hollywood, Fine Beaches….AND MANY Adobe User Groups!Something Very LA:

I checked in to the Crowne Plaza at the LAX row of hotels and to my surprise I ran into a little bit of LA Culture (ala First Fridays) in the back parking lot — Gourmet Catering Trucks.   Every Tuesday from 11am-2pm, the back parking lot transforms into a lively spectacle of colorful food vendors, outdoor seating, and music (i.e. there was a Dee-jay). And the food, very interesting! Where else, but in LA can you find Korean Nachos, Chimales, and Indian Curry alongside Southern BBQ!  So here’s a slide-show of what I found.

Tom Bray LA FLEXLater, that evening I mentioned to LA Flex UGM Tom Bray that it might be kinda a cool idea to connect up with catering trucks for User Group meetings; it would solve a problem most UGMs have: FOOD! (& how to fund it).  Tom seemed to like the idea…and it would be something “very LA” to draw folks to the meetings.


But food was not why I was in LA, I wanted to check out how the LA Flex holds their meetings and the venue that they use. Venue: Coloft is an interesting place, because it’s a place where “freelancers” can come an rent a space and focus on their projects in an work environment.  Sometimes, working at home isn’t as productive as it could be, so there are places like Coloft where developers & designers can come and perhaps even collaborate together.

Tom Bray addresses LA Flex
Tom Bray & Renaun Erickson

All in all, I was impressed with LA Flex’s organization and venue. Renaun gave a great talk on FlashBuilder 4.5.1; We gave away some software, T-shirts, & books. The member’s appreciated Adobe’s effort to visit their group.  The visit also gives me as a Community Manager, a good idea what the User Group venues are like for future engagements.  I also got to meet one of the local Adobe Community Professionals (ACP), Elliot Mebane (aka “Roguish”).  Tom Bray the User Group Manager mentioned that his group has had only (2) Adobe Speakers in its entire existence.   Hopefully, I can help overcome that + writing this blog will help internally @Adobe.   Tom, we’re working on potential visit from folks @Zend to talk about FlashBuilder 4.5 for PHP… (So, stay tuned).

Where do LA Flex’rs hang out after the meeting?

The WarzsawaThe party continued at LA Flex’s local pub, the “Warzsawa” (a Polish Pub & Restaurant which has cool outdoor seating); it’s a couple of blocks from the Coloft facility. I got to chat with a couple of LA Flex’rs on the projects they were working on over a beverage!


Some feedback from the event: