Catalyst for Invention


So there I was sitting in San Francisco’s Moscone Center surrounded by 5,000 of my closest friends all waiting to be fed a heavy dose of inspiration. After all Adobe’s MAX conference is all about connect, discover, inspire, right?

So there I was sitting quietly taking in all the sights and sounds around me. Goosebumps forming like a second layer of skin as I settled in for the show.

Slowly as conversations began to take form around me I suddenly had this feeling that I was in the minority. A designer living and breathing within the constructs of a foreign language. In fact at one point I thought I heard what sounded like Japanese but come to find out they were just talking in a language called CFML. Maybe I should have brought my lightsaber to fend off the impending disaster that was beginning to consume me. But as a designer I realized I had no such weapon, only my trusty black-baret was able to defend my position. 

Suddenly the lights went off and within seconds the mash-up artist Mike Relm began mixing and spinning his table-top magic. Videos and images temporarily juxtaposed like fractured pieces of memories as sounds exploded into the venue. His fingers orchestrating this feast of melodies as the crowd of 5,000 brought the house down with applause akin to a ColdPlay concert. The leftover memories of a “designer/developer” showdown quickly evaporated. I was indeed in the right place!

For me this week was about perception (lightsabers and black barets) vs. reality. And for the first time in my career it was this interaction with developers that inspired me as a designer. No longer was the conversations siloed into separate corners rather genuine open dialogues could be seen and heard within the Keynote addresses, sessions, and hallway chatter throughout the week.

In a practical sense this could be seen as Adobe released a pre-build of their latest and greatest tool Flash Catalyst (formally Thermo). This application is truly beginning to blur the lines between designer and developer. Or at the very least giving the tools to the designer in order to better communicate to the developer communities in ways which makes sense to both parties.

It’s this handshake between the designer and developer communities that will ultimately be the Catalyst for Innovation and in a couple years when I look back I will remember that, for me, the MAX conference 2008 was where it all started to make sense!

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~ by Christian on November 21, 2008.

One Response to “Catalyst for Invention”

  1. I’ve struggled with the same thing my friend. I hope that in future MAX shows there is more of a focus on interaction design, visual design, experience design, etc. I realize they have ‘tracks’ for those at MAX, but like we’ve spoken about in the past, we’ve been saying the same message for 15 years. Why are these conversations circling back to the forefront?

    It seems that with the introduction of Catalyst, Adobe realizes an opportunity to bring the visual designer back into the conversation. I hope they capitalize on it.

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