Seb Lee-Delisle


How I learned to stop worrying and love Adobe

You may have seen some of the comments on my previous post, the first report from MAX this year. At first I was surprised and upset by Mike Chambers’ and Lee Brimelow’s reactions, but I wanted to take the time to reflect on this and gain some perspective on their point of view. It can sometimes be too easy to submit an emotional response, and I really didn’t feel like that’d help anyone!

Now I think about it I really can see why my post caused such a reaction. I was curt in my brevity and it was negative. My opinion hasn’t really changed but I do feel like I did myself a disservice by the tone of my writing. More than that, I’m quite horrified at how negative my post sounds now I’ve re-read it. There were indeed many things about MAX that I did like and I hope to go into some of these in later posts.

But right now I’d like to explore my personal relationship with Adobe, and try to figure out if there’s a way I can work more closely to become a more useful collaborator in future.

I must admit, our relationship has a somewhat chequered past. Some of our tiffs have occurred in public and others I have chosen not to talk about, in an increasingly rare display of discretion 🙂

The truth is that I often find it very hard to tally my position as a “community leader” and open source contributor with the fact that Adobe is, after all, a multi-million dollar corporation. It’s a essentially a symbiotic relationship, but it’s when Adobe makes bad business decisions that adversely affect the community that I feel compelled to speak out.

But trust me, I really do not enjoy being the voice of dissent. In fact I find it incredibly stressful. Anyone who knows me will realise I’m generally a positive person, and I’m passionate about digital creativity. I evangelise the Flash Platform at conferences and events all around the world.

I also find it very difficult to distinguish between the anonymous corporation and the many talented passionate people behind the scenes. So sometimes its just too easy to be dismissive without realising that there are real genuinely caring people that are behind the work upon which you are passing judgement.

I felt heartened when Lee described us as “friends who sometimes disagree” and that made me realise that he cares enough about what I say to correct me when I’m wrong and argue the other point of view when I state an opinion.

It’s also become somewhat of a surprise to me that people seem to listen to what I say; I now realise that I have a responsibility to explain myself clearly and accurately, stating my position with respect to the many individuals who have invested their time and effort to build the products that make Adobe what it is.

So! It is with a renewed sense of enthusiasm that I reach out to Mike and Lee, both of whom I respect massively, and ask that we communicate more efficiently with one another. We are friends (at least I consider us so) with many shared qualities and passions. Sadly though, we’ve rarely had the chance to chat for more than 5 minutes here and there, or the odd twitter message. I’d love to get to know you both better and to share the things that drive me and hopefully you’ll see that I’m more than my random mildly sarcastic tweets.

Don’t get me wrong though. I will tell you honestly what I think. Sometimes it will be good, and sometimes not so good. But I promise to do it more constructively. And I’ll also take the time to talk about what I love.

So it’s with this in mind that I will add some further explanation to my previous MAX post.

Group hug? 😉

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