August 23, 2008

“Dear Adobe…”

Dear Adobe is a site devoted to rants & raves (but mostly rants) directed at the Big Red A.  You can "Submit Your Gripe" and vote others’ contributions up or down.  Although much of this stuff is hard to hear (in part because some of it echoes what’s said privately at Adobe), the site is a valuable exercise.  It has driven lots of conversation here: I count 30+ emails from yesterday alone, and that was just among Photoshop team members.  We’re listening, and in response to a request from Adobe VP Dave Story, site creator Erik Frick quickly created a Top 25 list (thanks, Erik).

 

Some thoughts, in no meaningful order:

 

  • About the CS3 installers and updater: We know. Painfully. We could blame it on trying to mash together Macromedia & Adobe in one rev while moving to Mac Intel and Vista simultaneously, but at the end of the day things never should have happened as they did.  That’s as much as I personally can say about it.

 

  • Just because it would be unprofessional of me or others to rant about this or that aspect of the company in public, don’t for a second think it’s not happening behind closed doors.  As I remind my teammates, "I swear because I care"–and I care a lot, at high volume.  It is, to borrow a phrase, "an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about."

 

  • Similarly, it may look like all we do it ladle on more features (more coats of paint on a creaking house).  What’s not apparent is that we–Photoshop at least–are devoting a large chunk of our resources to architectural work that will yield greater speed, stability, and extensibility.  I’ll share some more specifics on that soon.

 

  • Russell Williams wrote, "Of course the top engineering item, ‘Stop creating new features and make
    your software fast, stable and straightforward,’ really means ‘stop creating
    new features except for the ones that really help me.’" Everyone likes to complain about "bloat" while asking for just one or two "wafer-thin" features.  Apps will inexorably grow more powerful, and it’s extraordinarily difficult to remove features, but we are taking real steps to make things better.

 

  • Re: "Consistent interfaces. Sweat the details. Designers notice how much you fake this crap."  That’s nice.  Have you noticed how much more aligned things became in CS3, and how much further that’s been taken in the CS4 betas now revealed?  We’re actively making things more consistent, and that will necessarily entail change, pain, and thus bitching.  So it goes.

 

  • Re: "Please allow cross-platform upgrades! Thanks to you, I can’t switch from PC to Mac :-("  Sure you can.  (How is word not getting out about this?)

 

  • I’m told that the requirement to close your browser during CS3 installation is related to a desire not to overwrite a color settings file that could be in use by Firefox.  I agree that it sucks, but at least you know the rationale.

 

  • In response to "You f___ing f___ers should be in jail just for calling that software," Caleb Belohlavek wrote, "Anyone who uses the f-bomb as an adjective and an noun together is tops in my book."  He also celebrated, "God help me, your the MILF of the software world. And I love you for it."  (I would have thought that some of our apps are GGILFs by now…)

[Via Joe Lencioni & others]

Posted by John Nack at 9:18 PM on August 23, 2008
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