Surely more than enough has been said and written about the misadventures of Adobe PR back in November, yet there is still one unresolved pain point that has not been addressed - where is Shantanu Narayen in this whole story? Throughout Adobe's restructuring and announcements around its new focus, the one person missing in action has been its CEO. In fact, so conspicuously absent, that just about the only related public statement we have seen from him since is a single blog post (conveniently closed for comments) where he not even acknowledges the disruption caused to the community.
Its obvious though Adobe is scrambling to get the right messaging across, unfortunately though for a lot of us the damage has been done and we're left to pick up the pieces. Many long time Adobe employees are now either laid off or in the firing line of a largely disgruntled user community.
Disgruntled, not because of Adobe's plans, but their public messaging and clear lack of leadership. There are a great many Flash Platform developers both on desktop with the Flash Player and mobile through AIR who's primary occupation now is convincing clients about the viability of their technology rather than doing actual coding.
For all intents and purposes Flash is alive and kicking, though admittedly its scope and use cases will change over time as web standards mature and allow us to reach as wide an audience. AIR development on desktop and mobile remains a compelling cross platform solution for rapid application development.
Fast-forward to today, for several days people were asked to submit questions on Twitter using the hashtag #askShantanu to be answered during the keynote of the Adobe Digital Marketing Summit by the CEO himself. The hashtag in question makes for good reading material, as does the distinct lack of actual questions submitted. Another sign of increasing apathy around everything Adobe?
Needless to say, my widely retweeted question was left unanswered:
"with respect, do you feel you've taken enough personal responsibility around the massive communication failure in November? #askShantanu"
So I'll ask it here again, along with a call to action - if you think this question deserves an answer, I'd like you to post the following to whatever blog or social network you're active on:
"Shantanu, where are you? #Adobe"
It is in my opinion time for Adobe as a company to clean up its mess and move on, but to do so it needs to come to terms with the present situation and acknowledge its failures. If nothing else, I expect from a CEO to be willing to step up and defend his position.
This is my question, this is your opportunity Shantanu.