May 29, 2008

Good intentions gone awry

Note to self: "Blog first & ask questions later" is a really bad approach.


On Saturday I posted a blog entry in which I tried to clarify some details of what we’ve been developing in Photoshop.  Unfortunately, looking back, it’s clear I did a poor job of communicating what I intended.  In particular I regret the way I went about pointing out some errors I’d seen in stories.


Let me give you a little context about how things unfolded.  A few weeks ago I demonstrated some "potential future Photoshop technology" (more on what that means in a minute) during Adobe’s meeting with financial analysts.  Some folks at NVIDIA saw that demo and asked whether we’d mind repeating it at a press gathering they’d scheduled for last Thursday.  We said sure, and I got busy testing everything on a system they supplied.


On Friday I saw Theo Valich’s story on TG Daily covering the demo.  One detail jumped out at me: "The package is expected to be released on October 1."  As anyone who’s dealt with Adobe will tell you, we very rarely share details about when most products are expected to ship.  In fact, during my demo I’d noted a number of times that I was just showing some possible future technology, not announcing a new version, timing, etc.


Throughout the next day and a half, I kept getting Google Alerts linking to articles that repeated and amplified the news, occasionally misstating various details.  I started getting mail from colleagues to the effect of, "You said what??"


At that point, watching the story morph and replicate, I decided to try to nip things in the bud by sharing some clarifications.  Given that we were in the middle of a long holiday weekend, I opted to act quickly–too quickly.  I ended up overreacting, and whereas I should have dropped a line to at least some of the various media outlets, I called them out here.  The irony is that I was complaining about people blogging too quickly without checking all their facts, and in the process I was blogging too quickly without checking my facts!


On Sunday I got a quick & courteous note from Jonathan Fingas of Electronista thanking me for the clarifications & noting that they’d updated their story.  Similarly I heard from staff at Gizmodo & TG Daily noting that they’d made updates.  I greatly appreciate that, and in the future I’ll find a much better way of pointing out needed changes.


As for the content of my post, I know there’s been some lingering confusion, so let me try to clarify a few points for the record:


  • I didn’t say whether the next version of Photoshop would or would not be called CS4.  Instead, I was simply trying to point out that what I was showing was a technology demonstration that was independent of a particular version.
  • Similarly, I didn’t say that GPU-enabled features would or would not ship in the next version of Photoshop.  Think, "I can neither confirm nor deny…"  When developing any product, details are always subject to change, and it’s always possible that some unforeseen roadblock will appear.  That’s why we try so hard to wrap a lot of caution tape around any future-looking statements: we’re excited to be showing you some of what we’re building, and we hope you are, too, but we want to manage expectations & not over-promise anything. Make sense?
  • Lastly, I didn’t say that the next version Photoshop would or would not ship on a particular date.  My (badly made) point was that nothing had been announced, so the fact that a date of "October 1" kept getting repeated should be taken with the appropriate grain of salt.


In short, I just meant to say that we weren’t promising any particular features at any particular time–nothing more, nothing less.  Hopefully needless to say, we’ll work as hard as we can to bring you the good stuff sooner rather than later.

7:38 PM | Permalink | Comments [18]
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