At the conference last week, all the SEs (System Engineers) and Evangelists were invited to participate in a demo shootout. Entries were judged prior to the conference and two finalists from two categories (Creative and Acrobat/LiveCycle) were selected to participate in the ‘on stage face-off’ as part of a general session (~2000 attendees).
My team’s entry made it to the finals and we (Adam Pratt, Lynn Grillo and I) got our chance to present our demo – taking an XML file of book titles, producing a multi-page catalogue in InDesign, output to PDF, output to Digital Editions and output to Spry-based (Ajax), mobile-friendly webpage. Plus, we took a low-res video of a guy dancing, stuck our manager’s head on it using After Effects, keyed out the background using Ultra, and brought the video into Flash for web playback, and used the same video as overlay advertising for the Adobe Media Player. All in 5 minutes! Whew! Well, most of the stuff was baked in advance, so it was merely a matter of getting through our ‘script’ with some jokes thrown in for good measure.
Our opponent in the face-off was Rufus Deuchler, an evangelist from Europe, who did a fantastic demo on LiveColor and Kuler in Illustrator.
In the end, the ‘applause-o-meter’ determined the winner – us! Our team had decided in advance to give the $2500 purse to charity – and we’re hoping Adobe will match the donation. One of the nice perks of being an Adobe employee is that the company will match your charitable contributions on a 1:1 basis up to a certain amount, so we should be able to make a small difference this holiday season.