By now you will probably have heard the news that Adobe is laying off 600 people, or about 8% of their employee base supposedly because of "weaker-than-expected demand for Creative Suite 4" which started shipping in October. It came as a real shock to all of us, especially timing this announcement just after the MAX Europe conference and with the holiday season coming up. One of the most well known people affected by the job cuts is Mike Downey, former principal evangelist for the platform business development team, a cornerstone of the Flash, Flex and AIR community for over 7 years. His work at Adobe was a real inspiration to me and many others and am very happy to have regularly had him over to our Adobe User Group Belgium and the times I was able to meet up and present alongside him at events.
Another person leaving that was especially close to us in the community programs was the Developer Relations Manager for EMEA. Having been active in the various programs starting from June 2003 as a Team Macromedia volunteer for Flash, I've seen how difficult it has been to bring the European developer community together and with her at the wheel we've started to see some real momentum build. She'll be greatly missed at Adobe.
I wish all employees affected by this decision the very best of luck, and am sure they'll do great in whatever opportunity they decide to take up next! While writing this blog post I came across a twitter message from Adobe's John Dowdell that resonated with me: "It takes a long time to get to know a person, but only an instant to miss them."
What really struck me was the reaction of the community and seeing messages of support continuously streaming in on Twitter, Facebook etc. I barely had a few hours of sleep that night. At the breakfast table the conversation was dominated by the unfortunate news and Cyril, Pablo and myself found ourselves buying overpriced wifi access in the hotel lobby just to follow up on the latest news.
Much as we like to complain - the evangelists, people in the product teams and community programs are like an extended family. Their work affects what we do on a daily basis and while they might not always be in a position to come out publically in support of our rants I am convinced they are listening and are fighting the fight for us internally at Adobe.
At MAX this year I refound an appreciation for what they do after admittedly a few months of skepticism and uncertainty about the direction they're going. Despite the recent news there is no doubt in my mind a bright future is ahead for Adobe and the Flash Platform!
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