Communication is sexy!
And communication is key – key to understanding each other, key for innovation, key for change, key for success.
May I introduce myself? My name is Stefan Gentz and I’m Adobe’s “Global Evangelist for Technical Communication”.
For about 18 years I have worked as a consultant and trainer in “Technical Documentation” – or “Technical Communication” as we speak today – and running my own company tracom.
Over these 18 years, I worked on thousands of projects with a broad range of industry clients, service providers and freelancers from both TechComm and Translation spheres from around the world. And on an enormously wide range of projects ranging from computer games, business software, IT hardware, heavy industry, pharmaceutical, to medical devices. And always it was about planning, designing and implementing information architectures, technical documentation processes and tools, migrating and transforming content of all kinds and in all possible formats, you can think of, and – of course – translation and localization. And if there is one core lesson that I have learned, then that is that communication is key. Communication with the team, with clients, with partners, with vendors, with industry associations, with conference organizers, and yes, even with competitors.
The past 18 years have been an incredible ride. I’m enormously grateful for this time and have learned something new every day. And with a lot of hard work (I recently calculated that it sums up to about 53k work hours, which equals, by reasonable standards, about 30 years of work experience). A lot of time to gain knowledge. But the main key to build up this experience and knowledge was, that I always stayed curious and communicative: Listen to and learn from others. And share the knowledge with your peers and friends. Isaac Newton once wrote in a letter to Robert Hoke:
“If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”
I have put this as my “Favorite Quote” in my facebook profile (feel invited to join my community over there as well). I like the quote so much because it explains the key to success: You only succeed when you have a great team. You only succeed when you work with the best. You only succeed when you build on each other’s strengths.
Oh, and when it comes to communication: Conferences. Over the last decade, I have been to about 100 TechComm and Translation conferences around the world in countries like US, Canada, Portugal, Spain, UK, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, India. In most of them, I delivered presentations and keynotes, moderated panels, tracks or whole conferences and consulted conference organizers to build up their conferences for an international audience. I enjoyed being an Ambassador of the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) and co-create the conference programs for the biggest TechComm conferences in the world, the tekom and tcworld conferences as a member of the Conference Advisory Board. Visiting conferences, public speaking and communicating with the community face-to-face were always an important part of my business life. And will continue to be in my role as the Adobe TechComm Evangelist.
A few weeks ago, Adobe handed the “keys” to communicate their comprehensive solutions for Technical Communication over to me. The core product of this solution ecosystem is the Technical Communication Suite which consists of FrameMaker, RoboHelp, Captivate, Presenter and Acrobat. Solutions like Adobe FrameMaker Publishing Server and Adobe RoboHelp Server complete the ecosystem.
The TechComm Central
One of the first things I set on my agenda was to completely revamp this blog, Adobe’s TechComm Central. The blog is an institution in the industry with more than ten-thousand readers per month. The earliest post is from January 25, 2007 (and I’m following this blog since then!). That’s a whopping 9 years now. And this is for sure also a bold statement from Adobe that their TechComm business is here to stay.
We have completely changed the design. The new design of our TechComm Central blog is fast and slim, clean and tidy. It’s built on Responsive HTML5 and CSS3 and works on both your big screen as well as your smart phone or tablet. The commenting experience is much better now, and sharing posts with your communities on facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, XING, Flipboard, VK, Blogger and Baidu has become much more easy now.
Over the last weeks we did a content audit and revisited the posts, re-categorized and tagged them, revisited the code of many posts – a process that takes an enormous amount of time and is still in progress.
TechComm Central has always been a channel for the Adobe TechComm team to keep you updated on the latest developments. But it also has always been a platform for thought leaders and subject matter experts of our industry like Ugur Akinci, Tom Aldous, Brad Anderson, Bernard Aschwanden, Colum McAndrew, John Daigle, Chris Despopoulos, Beth Gerber, Connie Giordano, Peter Grainge, Jang Graat, Neil Perlin, Scott Prentice, Jacquie Samuels, Kevin Siegel, Paula Stern, Matt Sullivan, Danielle M. Villegas, Willam van Weelden and many others to share their thoughts and speak their minds. And it has always been a platform for the users of Adobe’s Technical Communication products – to comment on our and our experts’ posts, discuss topics and give feedback to Adobe.
Currently we’re building a content schedule for 2016. And I look forward to curate the content for this blog and publish interesting insights from thought leaders and experts from the TechComm and Translation industry. Content about Best Practices, current and future trends, Technical Documentation and Communication, Content Strategy, Industry 4.0, HTML5, XML, XSLT, XPATH, DITA, S1000D, Mobile Publishing, Mobile Apps, FrameMaker, RoboHelp, Captivate, Translation Tools and Processes, Content Management, Webinars, Conferences, Adobe Expert Days and much more. We’re looking forward to a 2016 full of interesting, helpful, engaging, inspiring, and forward-looking content!
Adobe was always about partnership – “Adobe & Partners”. We clearly see partnerships as a core to the success of our business strategy. And I’m going to live this philosophy and develop more partnerships at multiple levels. Just drop me a line, if you see a potential for us to grow together. We have big plans for 2016 when it comes to partnerships – strengthening our existing partnerships and building new ones are key to our 2016 (and beyond) strategy.
Partnership with (C)CMS Solution Providers
Over the years, we have built and maintained close relationships with leading Content Management Systems like SharePoint, EMC Documentum, Adobe Experience Manager, BlueStream, Vasont, Schema ST4, Acolada Sirius, FCT TIM and DitaExchange … and the list is constantly growing.
Partnership with TMS Providers
We have built and continue to build strong partnerships with Translation Management Systems like Across, SDL Trados Studio, Kilgray memoQ, STAR Transit, Wordfast, memsource and XTM to name just some of the popular ones. And we will continue to be dedicated on this important piece of the content publishing chain.
Partnership with Universities
Education is key. We know that. And that it’s not enough to have just the theoretical knowledge, but also profound knowledge of the technologies and tools you need on your job when you leave University. That’s why we have built the Adobe Tech Comm University Outreach Program which comes with a bunch of benefits for technical communication students across leading institutions worldwide. We make our industry-standard technical communication tools available to the students and teachers for these professional degree/diploma courses. Adobe has already partnered with many Universities across the world and offered free-of-cost licenses of Adobe Technical Communication Suite, to the students and teachers in these programs. This program is a huge success, and we are dedicated to continuing with it and work with Universities worldwide to empower students to get ready for their professional TechComm life.
Partnership with Consultants and Trainers
Since the very beginning, we have partnered with the best trainers and consultants of the Technical Communication world. Many of the top experts, consultants, trainers in TechComm work very closely with us. Strengthening these partnerships is one of our top priorities for 2016.
Let’s rock TechComm together!
Communication is key. And so is partnership. And I’m here to stay and positively impact the world of TechComm – together. Together with my team in the Adobe TechComm unit and together with you – as a software partner, a consultant, a trainer, a client, a friend.
Let’s rock the TechComm future together!