May 05, 2010

My Decade at Adobe

Looking out on the Lake Washington Ship Canal & drawbridge outside of Adobe’s Seattle office today, I’m hit by a profound sense of déjà vu: I looked at the same scene exactly 10 years ago, my first day at Adobe & working in this office.

I’d given up my Flash & HTML design gig, moved out from New York, and joined a team that set out to make a great new Web animation product.

  • Back then the open-standard SVG was just about to take over the world (for real!), and we were getting set to support it. We’d export Flash SWF files, too, but fundamentally we wanted to support open standards.
  • The browser wars were still blazing away, bringing rapid innovation in HTML.
  • We were starting to see hardware-accelerated Web content, and it seemed inevitable that such support would soon be widespread.

Well, you know, funny stuff happens… But here we are, exactly 10 years later, and I’m looking at today’s headlines:

Interesting times, to say the least.

In the intervening decade I moved coast-to-coast two more times with Adobe, hung up my flamed shoes & the flamed Volvo I bought in Seattle, met & married a great Seattle girl, had two most excellent boys, and got to help design, build, and support five versions of perhaps the most important graphics application in the world.

And now I’m about to take on some brand new challenges. More details to come, soon.

Posted by John Nack at 11:45 AM on May 05, 2010


  • Klaus Nordby — 12:07 PM on May 05, 2010

    Happy decadivarsary, John! It’s good to have you on my team, so I hope your “brand new challenges” won’t make you stray too far away. :-)
    [Thanks, Klaus. I’m not going far (well, not in the bad sense). –J.]

  • Ben Hansen — 12:12 PM on May 05, 2010

    indeed. keep us posted.

  • Adil Lotia — 1:15 PM on May 05, 2010

    Sounds a bit ominous! Good luck in your new ventures, but I do hope you will continue updating your excellent blog!
    [Thanks, Adil; I plan to do so. –J.]

  • Terri Stone — 1:37 PM on May 05, 2010

    The suspense is killing me, and I just read this blog post. When will you spill the beans?

  • itsmin — 1:42 PM on May 05, 2010

    I’ll have to chime in and say I’m curious too! Spill it John.
    Regardless, I can’t wish for anything but the best for you and yours in whatever comes next.

  • Jason Sheesley — 2:17 PM on May 05, 2010

    Happy Anniversary! Best of luck to you in the future.

  • leef — 2:18 PM on May 05, 2010

    Yes but what’s been more interesting over the decade, the same ol’ Ballard drawbridge, or the same ol’ this vs that technology debate?

  • Watson — 2:21 PM on May 05, 2010

    Hummmm… What is John building in there? Congratulations on year 10. Don’t forget this blog as a mark of your accomplishments. The info you provide to the online photo community should not be overlooked. Big ups.

  • Matthew Fabb — 2:38 PM on May 05, 2010

    Best of luck wherever you end up.
    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog over the years, even as just a Flash/Flex developer these days only occasionally dabbles in Photoshop.

  • Phil Brown — 3:28 PM on May 05, 2010

    Congratulations, John! I hope that the next 10 years brings you and your family much happiness and success.
    Good luck with whatever the next step is for you, and glad to hear your blog will still be udpated :-)

  • Rachel Luxemburg — 4:11 PM on May 05, 2010

    Happy anniversary John!

  • imajez — 4:48 PM on May 05, 2010

    Can you do up my sister’s volvo John, as a flamed volvo is so unlikely and yet so genius at the same time?

  • imajez — 4:52 PM on May 05, 2010

    Oh and I hope you aren’t going to be leaving PS behind as you’ve been quite excellent in communicating to the world [and with amazing patience at times], how PS is moving forward and obstacles that may occur with improving such a great programme.
    This blog is a great asset to PS.

  • Jan Kabili — 6:49 PM on May 05, 2010

    Whatever those next challenges are John, I’m confident you’ll be great! You’re just one of those guys. : )

  • Tom Hogarty — 7:01 PM on May 05, 2010

    Congratulations John! A significant milestone and I’m privileged to have worked side by side with you for almost 5 of those 10 years. -LR_Tom

  • George Penston — 7:15 PM on May 05, 2010

    Wow, that’s amazing John. Congratulations on your 10 years with Adobe. I just came up on 4 years at Widgetbox. I just met up with my friend Terry (you know him too) last week and we were talking about how great of a guy you are and how we have to give you props for always being passionate for creative tools and thusly Adobe. I feel lucky to have met you and get to know you more over the years.
    I’m excited to learn what about your new challenges. Hope the boys are doing well. Take care and godspeed my friend.

  • Andrew Smith — 8:18 PM on May 05, 2010

    As long as you don’t dare leave Adobe. Okay???

  • Laurent — 8:24 PM on May 05, 2010

    Dunh dunh duuuunhhhh….!!!

  • K Brown — 11:11 PM on May 05, 2010

    Well done John!
    But the real question, after all that time at Adobe, in the great Pacific Northwest, best asked by that immortal journalist is……..
    If you were a tree, what kind would you be?

  • Coşkun OLCA — 12:09 AM on May 06, 2010

    Congratulations, Happy Anniversary:)

  • Henrik — 12:55 AM on May 06, 2010

    Here’s to many more! Whatever that may be.
    And yes, you’re a good Photoshop communicator.

  • PECourtejoie — 3:12 AM on May 06, 2010

    John, Congratulations for those 10 years, thank you for your most excellent work driving the Photoshop team.
    It was a pleasure to work in the Prereleases…
    I hope that you won’t be too far away of the Photoshop universe, maybe leading the Creative Suite? Cheers, and thanks!

  • Herman — 3:23 AM on May 06, 2010

    Congrats! :) -And joining everybody above, please don’t leave this post!

  • Herman — 3:24 AM on May 06, 2010

    (Nice read about livemotion there – was the macromedia merge 5 years ago already!? damn, time flies :)

  • Trevor Morris — 7:57 AM on May 06, 2010

    Congrats, John! And I echo all of the sentiments and kind words above. Here’s to another 10 years! Best of luck with whatever life throws your way.

  • Gregory Wostrel — 8:06 AM on May 06, 2010

    (I really liked LiveMotion – great idea, clever concept that made much more sense to me than the Flash interface at the time. worked well, fast, clean, flexible…)
    John, you are a quality guy, great attitude, generous with information, a real asset to Adobe. Looking forward to your next “thing.”

  • David — 8:28 AM on May 06, 2010

    “the same ol’ Ballard drawbridge”
    Isn’t it the Fremont drawbridge?
    Love Adobe’s location right there on the Burke-Gilman trail. Visit the area every summer and stop by.

  • Jim Thibert — 9:23 AM on May 06, 2010

    Happy Anniversary John.
    Every morning I start my day with my e-versions of newspapers and then to your blog.
    Thanks for the insight and thanks for the interesting blog.

  • Martin Schaefer — 3:15 PM on May 06, 2010

    Chief Executive Community Motivator .. that’s what you are, John. Thanks for many years of brilliant work and I’m looking forward to see you go to the next level. And I’m pretty sure you’ll make us say “Wow”. :)

  • Chris — 7:53 AM on May 07, 2010

    I wasn’t around the web side of things when Live Motion was out so I have no idea what it was like, but I suspect I’d have preferred it over flash. All the difficulties I have with using Flash I think are due to it’s Macromedia legacy, it just doesn’t fit with other Adobe products which I think generally have a better interface (for me anyway). Dreamweaver is alright though. What would be great in my dream world is a new product to be developed to replace Flash directly. Do all that Flash does and more (the whole HTML5 thing, whatever it means to do that) but built differently and more like an original Adobe Product. Having seen InDesign rise from the ashes of Pagemaker and Premiere Pro from Premiere 6.5, Adobe does a great job when they can start from scratch (m.

  • Scott Barnes — 9:25 PM on May 08, 2010

    Happy Decade! :)
    Also just down the road from that bridge is where the boathouse from the movie Sleeping in Seattle is.. I was walking around there one afternoon and noticed it! :)

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