Flex/Flash Evangelism Kit

Greetings! I’ve recently joined the Flex Product Marketing team after years working on ColdFusion, and before that was actually on the Flex 1.0 team when we still called it Royale. Something that we’ve heard from you guys is that you need help championing Flex and Flash Builder to your customers or even within your own organizations. I’m now working to put materials together that can help you in these endeavors. We’re looking to have things like proof points, presentation materials, and other assets that can help you evangelize Flex in whatever form may be best for you. I’m therefore looking for feedback on the kinds of things that you’d like to see. Some ideas that we’re considering are: a product roadmap, examples of ROI and business justification, competitive comparisons, customer success stories, architecture slides and whitepapers, etc. There is a lot of material we could provide, and we’ll likely not have it all ready at once, so this will be an ongoing process. But in the meantime, please send your ideas on what would be most helpful as we begin getting Flex 4 out the door.
Feel free to respond in comments or if you’d feel more comfortable sharing your feedback directly I can be reached at kwebb AT adobe DOT com.

Cheers,
Kristen

19 Responses to Flex/Flash Evangelism Kit

  1. Kristen Schofield says:

    Hi David,Thanks for your note. I agree with you that SEO is an important objection to address explicitly. I did touch upon this in the kit… please let me know how it works for you and your customers.Cheers,Kristen

  2. David Robinski says:

    Hi Kristen,This is a great move from Adobe. Thanks for that.Although I agree with Jim Plamondon’s comment that business decision-makers need to be “shown the money”, it’s still important to touch on some technical aspects to prepare the business person for any technical conversations (and invalid objections) they may have from their in-house technical staff.For example, the SEO friendliness of flash/swf is one of the points I always raise with clients even when not asked. I always raise it because I know the business person is most likely talking to other developers, many of whom haven’t kept up with flash/flex/swf and aren’t aware of all the updates that took place over the past couple of years.Those conversations will typically go something like this:Client: “And do you know how to do this project with Flash? How much longer will this project take if done with flash, and would it cost more or less?”Other developer: “Oh, I don’t do flash. You know it’s not search-engine friendly, so you won’t be discoverable on the web. It’s like business suicide for you. It’s good for animations, but otherwise should always be avoided. What use is it to have a pretty site if it can’t be found in the SERPs.”This is the typical response you’ll hear from 99% of non-flash developers, not just when they talk to clients, but when they talk to us (flex/flash developers). It makes me feel like they’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years.What happened is that early in their web careers, they decided that flash/flex wasn’t indexed by the search engines, and that this is a problem that’s impossible to solve. So they stopped learning it, dropped it off their skill set, and they now ignore any articles or tutorials about it that might possibly update them about its current state.This is why I always raise the SEO point when talking to clients, because I expect them to hear that outdated nonsense sooner or later from someone who’s ignorant about the current state of flash.So I think this is one of the more important technical clarifications you need to address very early on (even briefly) in your marketing material, so that clients get the message very early on and are less likely to get misinformed by those who aren’t keeping up.Now, if a non-flash developer talks nonsense about flash not being indexable, it will be an egg on their own face, because the business decision maker has just read on the first page of your marketing material that flash is indexable due to efforts and collaborations with Google (and Yahoo I think), so they will immediately know that this other developer isn’t doing a good job educating himself about how the web is evolving.Looking forward to your material. It will help us focus on what we do best, because most of us aren’t large agencies and we don’t have the marketing capacity to produce such promotional content. But we are probably the largest segment of your developer base and this material helps us put our skills and talents to work.Thanks,David

  3. Iuri Pereira says:

    Is there any news about the evangelism kit?How can I make myself an evangelist?Thanks.Iuri PereiraGoiânia/Goiás/Brazil

  4. There is only one meaningful criterion in platform-adoption decisions: time-to-profitability (because the resources available to a given project are generally fixed, so that time, rather than cost, is the only variable).All other considerations are merely means to this single end. Code reuse? Means to that end. Inheritance? Means to that end. Data binding? Means to that end. Wide range of cool widgets? Means to that end.Hence, the ideal Flash/Flex “evangelism kit” does NOT contain materials describing the MEANS, but rather demonstrating the END: that, is, demonstrating that the use of Flash/Flex has been independently and rigorously proven to be the shortest path to the greatest profitability.Consider the iPhone. Independent software vendors (ISVs) are not adopting the iPhone because Objective-C is so cool (it’s not), or because Cocoa is so awesome (it’s not), or because Interface Builder is so far ahead of its time (it’s not, although it once was). ISVs are adopting the iPhone platform because it offers the shortest path to profitability. Its tools are “good enough,” which is all that’s necessary.Therefore, the ideal “evangelism kit” Adobe could distribute to its supporters would be a truly independent, rigorous, and comprehensive study that proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that using the Flex/Flash platform was the shortest path to the greatest profits.Once you establish that factoid, you’ve already won the war. After that, you just need to provide the resources needed to carry your ISVs through the “implementation” phase of the technology adoption process (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_of_innovations#The_adoption_process). The “confirmation” phase of that process should be no problem, if your platform is indeed the shortest path to profitability.So, forget the “product roadmap, architecture slides and whitepapers,” and other theological datapoints. SHOW THEM THE MONEY. That’s all that the non-technical decision-makers want to see.You can make this point in a single (large) study. Hire (a) a truly independent university researcher, whose role is to ensure that the study is conducted honestly, objectively, and rigorously, and (b) a consulting firm (such as Gartner, IDC, Forrester, etc.) to actually execute the study. The consultants should report to the academic, and be paid through the academic, to ensure that the academic has the power to enforce objectivity and rigor. Have the them identify three sets of real-world ISV projects: one using Flash/Flex, one using Silverlight (if you can find any), and another using AJAX + HTML5. Have the academic/consultant measure the individual projects’ costs, time, and profitability, normalizing as necessary. (This is all standard experimental design, as complicated by observing real-world projects as opposed to in-lab “toy” experiments.)Most platform vendors won’t do this kind of large-scale, objective experiment because they lack confidence that they will win the comparison. It’s so much safer (and cheaper) to hire an analyst to prostitute itself by spouting a paid-for conclusion. However, this rarity makes such truly objective studies all the more compelling.SHOW THEM THE MONEY. Do that, and you’re already home free.IMHO.Jim Plamondon

  5. Randy says:

    Great Initiative It will also motivate a lot of people to get flex certification

  6. Mert Saka says:

    I think it would be great to have Adobe TV tutorials which are localized. Localization can be done via subtitles and I am sure each evangelist -or- local Adobe office would be more than happy to contribute to it. Even if that would not be possible on Adobe TV, it could be done on a new web site. I would also love it if these videos would allow us to share on social media to attract newbie developers.Localization with subtitles example: TED Open Translation on http://www.ted.com/OpenTranslationProject

  7. ELIAS says:

    The team is in Adobe Congratulations!

  8. thinman says:

    Fantastic initiative.It’d be great to have a blended kit, with high-level marketing assets and high-level technical information. You know, not zoomed in to the supper-specific detail.Platform and product stacks. Some info on where other technologies already existing in orgs naturally plug-in to different layers of the stacks. Think: I’ve already got Exchange, Sharepoint, PHP, Java. Where can I leverage your stuff? Be sure to stress the relative ease-of-use and management plus the rapid design/dev/deploy benefits. Where these edges meet, provide a way for presenters to drill-down into a marketing and a technical detail or two.Some free code and design ‘templates’ to play with.If you provided a complete little environment (like Mura CMS does) where a CF server, related Flash Platform components and tweakable sample apps where all enclosed a la Tour de Flex/LiveCycle, that’d be great. Where we could go from presentation right into clickable examples, too.I already do this setup manually, but it’s a pain to do over and over again, and it’s not something I can easily do for a potential client without eating hours I’d rather not eat. I know, I’ll make it up as soon as I land the gig, but sometimes, I just want to share the love without putting too big of a hole in my pocket.- m

  9. Tom Gruszowski says:

    Real interested in enterprise line of business examples/case studies.While I’m sure it’s a no brainer for Java backends to use Flex I’d be curious if you can find compelling reasons for Miscrosoft shops to use Silverlight over flex. We are a .NET backend started flex migration for ASP.NET apps 2 years ago, I think if we were to try to make this decision now it would be a lot harder to sell the expensive learning curve and availability of resources. Management often thinks an MS developer can just pick Silverlight up ignoring the fundamental change of RIA vs HTML based app.

  10. Everything starts with a rich component set (be it from Adobe or from 3rd party). Without fantastic components most developers can only build mediocre applications. Have this fixed and the adoption will happen automatically.

  11. Iuri Pereira says:

    Custom t-shirts, stickers and buttons would be great!Cheers,Iuri

  12. Gilmar Purin says:

    It would be interesting to compare development productivity of Flex with other technologies.

  13. Peter Witham says:

    This is a great idea, something I encounter a lot when trying to champion Flash platform ( Flex mostly ) is comparing it to technology ‘xyz’. So examples of where & why Flex would be a better choice over say HTML, JavaScript & .NET would be very helpful.

  14. This is amazing!I’m from Amazonas in BraSil and i have a project that i call of “Think Flex Manaus(http://devi9.com.br/blog/?p=15)”Your idea will help me to grow and expand my project.I need a direction to follow for be a flex evangelist in my city (Manaus). What can i do to be a official flex evangelist?Congrats and thanks a lot!ps.: sorry for the english mistakes, i’m not so good ^^José Luiz@devi9lg

  15. Tom Bray says:

    +1 for customer success stories and ROI/business justification examplesMaterials that target the marketing and business development teams at an organization are, in my opinion, more important than the technical materials. For example, being able to show potential clients the Fed Ex demo at MAX 2009 would be very helpful. Other video demonstrations of real-world enterprise Flex apps would be great. It’s one thing to say that XYZ Corp is using it, it’s another to show them a screencast.Persuading a business person that her product might get left in the dust by a competitor who is using Flex is easier than convincing a dozen engineers that they’re “doing it wrong”. The engineers tend to want to stick with what they know and even if you persuade a few of them, they’re rarely willing to stick their neck out by evangelizing Flex internally.

  16. Willian Araujo says:

    It’s a good idea. so much newbies as me will lerning a lot with these materials…

  17. Lionel says:

    Please include the cost (time and money) of getting proficient in Flex. Cost and availability of certification preparation and testing.Before embracing any new technology, some organizations need to know that they will be leveraging it as efficiently as possible and that they can bring their people up to speed quickly and trust their implementations.Thank you

  18. Martin Arvisais says:

    Hi,poster of the Flex/AIR/Actionscript SDK will be nice. I do teaching in enterprise, i have request all the time for that!

  19. FLASHized says:

    Great initiative! Looking forward to the ROI material!Keep up the good work Adobe! 🙂