Despite the recent changes at Adobe, we remain very focused on the long term growth for community and events globally. Having just finished record setting events in MAX NA, MAX EU and soon MAX Japan, we are planning to expand events and community programs in 2009. I wanted to talk openly about plans headed into 2009 and provide some insight on our direction and things to come.
Our team has been working on making everything we do more scalable. As a team of 5, we manage 600+ user groups (growing rapidly now with Adobe Groups), the community experts program (growing soon), and events (MAX & Camps). The programs we start/maintain must be easy to manage, sustainable globally, and bring about measurable returns for the community/ecosystem. Recent projects, Adobe Groups and event recording (MAX, 360Flex, Ajax Experience), are good examples of scalable projects but we plan to do more in 2009.
We will be focusing on new community growth in 2009 leveraging Adobe Groups, Connect, and online events to foster new types of community programs around the globe. Adobe Groups is really an enabler for our team as it allows community members to manage community directly and work in parallel to our team’s effort. We need to get community members more involved in managing community at the local, regional, country levels and we are very open to creating new community roles to support this. Given we added 176 user groups in the weeks following the launch of Adobe Groups, we are projecting 1000+ Adobe User Groups by mid-2009. With this level of growth, we need to change the way we work and get more community members involved in the process. I am looking forward to working with the community to build this new open governance around the globe. It will be challenging but when we get it right the Adobe community programs will be more resilient, larger, and better at ever corner of the globe.
Over the past 2 days I have seen a lot of disappointment in the community regarding people departing Adobe, clearly this is understandable. What I find troubling is that some of the disappointment is related to loosing a “connection” or “contact” at Adobe. We need to change this and share information, contacts, and programs more openly and more transparently with the community at large. Ideally everyone should feel connected and no community member should ever feel cut off when someone departs Adobe. We need to do more to foster stronger bonds between the ecosystem and make sure that everyone has access to great programs and contacts.
We need to reach more people at a lower price point with our events. MAX is targeted at customers who have invested and adopted Adobe’s platform but we lack an event that drives adoption at a lower price point (AKA FREE). We are going to add a new event in 2009 that will be free online and will be paired with Adobe User Group meetings around the global. We are also going to scale up MAX even larger in Los Angeles, Europe, and other parts of the globe. We will also be building MAX in the open in 2009 on the MAX Open Working Group on Adobe Groups. Gone are the days of building MAX behind closed doors and not getting the community deeply involved.
We will be growing events and community in 2009 like never before. I look forward to working with you.