What is your title at Adobe, and can you explain what your daily responsibilities are?
My current role is Senior Product Manager, Customer Advocacy for Digital Imaging. I‘ve worked on the Photoshop development team for 14 years.
I live and work in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Adobe has a small engineering outpost in the Twin Cities with the majority of folks working on Lightroom, Photoshop, Revel and Premiere Pro.
I originally joined Adobe as part of the Photoshop development team in 2001 focusing on quality and usability. My first assignment was working on our web graphics engine and helping migrate from OS 9 to OS X. Over the years, my main focus was Photoshop’s architecture and core functionality – helping re-architect the Layers panel for multi-select and adding non-destructive editing through Smart Objects and Smart Filters. I was also a quality lead on the 64-bit/Cocoa work in Photoshop CS5.
My current daily responsibilities primarily include interacting with Photoshop and Lightroom customers .I spend about half my time engaged directly with our customers in person or through social media. You may have exchanged comments with me on Twitter, Facebook for Photoshop or Lightroom, our Community Forums for Photoshop or Lightroom, or our Feedback site.
I work closely with all our digital imaging product development teams to add the features and tweaks I hear our customers ask for. I really enjoy working and talking with photographers and designers – and being a bridge to the engineers who pour their hearts and expertise in digital imaging science into our products. I also work with industry influencers and help support our team of evangelists.
At the end of the day, I want our customers to be successful and productive – and have fun at the same time
I co-wrote my first book “Power, Speed & Automation with Adobe Photoshop” for Focal Press last year. The book is part of a series called “The Digital Imaging Masters Series” edited by Katrin Eismann.
What inspired you most to be involved in the Adobe community? Why did you pursue this as a career?
In college I studied photography and did my thesis on creative explorations using Photoshop 3.0 (the first version of Photoshop to support layers!) and Epson Inkjet printing. Prior to working at Adobe I was a customer who did television/radio production, advertising and web programing. I jumped at the opportunity to work at Adobe because I loved the products. Back then I was a heavy Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash and After Effects user. When I began working at Adobe, I stayed connected to my photographer and designer friends and relied on their input. My circle of friends and influence grew to include the amazing prerelease/beta testers we’ve had over the year.
During the CS5 prerelease, our prerelease customers gave us a near 100% CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) approval rating. Reading through the survey comments it became apparent this high rating was not just because our prerelease customers liked the product, they liked interacting with the team members who they could share ideas with, ask questions, and report/fix problems. I wanted to bring some of that spirit to a broader audience – so I took on a role in Product Management focusing on Customer Advocacy.
What do you think is the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in the creative fields?
I think the biggest obstacle is just the competitive landscape. There are so many talented photographers and designers out there. But that’s also the great part about being in the creative field. When I worked in advertising – I loved the competition and the challenge of creating a digital campaign our clients would love. I have the same drive when it comes to software development – especially being on a team of so many smart developers who are pushing the boundaries every day – it pushes me to work harder, be more creative, and keep up with best and brightest.
With all the new versions of Photoshop what changes do you personally feel are the most exciting or brilliant?
I am always blown away by the imaging science in Photoshop, Lightroom and Camera Raw. No one in the industry has better raw processing in my opinion.
I really like what we’re doing for designers in Photoshop CC. Generator and Linked Smart Objects are technologies I always wanted to get into Photoshop (I did early prototypes of linked SO and layer asset generation in my own spare time). The fact that Generator is an extensible platform is really exciting to me.
I see 3D printing as the next publishing revolution – and it’s exciting and fun to see Photoshop really lead the charge to get the technology directly into the hands of designers. Printing from Photoshop to Shapeways is incredibly easy and gives you extremely high quality prints today. On the desktop 3D printing is at its infancy. It reminds me of 1994 when I saw the first Epson Color Stylus. The resolution wasn’t initially there for me to say this is going to replace traditional photographic chemical processes today, but you knew it wasn’t going to be long before it did. Consumer desktop 3D printing is right at that same point.
I also like that the $9.99/mo price for Photoshop & Lightroom is democratizing access to Photoshop. It’s reflected in the number of new customers who have joined – customers that have never purchased Photoshop before because they couldn’t afford it.
The ability to release new features anytime is also a boon. Apple and Microsoft are releasing a new OS every 12 months and new devices at almost the same clip. The creative industry is also moving faster than ever. We can provide new workflows and solutions to meet our customer’s needs tomorrow rather than waiting every 18 months.
What social networks do you like most? Which present good examples of Photoshop and Photography the best?
Aside from our forums/communities, I’m primarily active on Facebook & Twitter. I spend some time on Google+ and a few other 3rd party forums.
I don’t really have a favorite. I’m happy to go where our customers go. Good photography and Photoshop work comes from all over – so I don’t really look to one resource.
Social Media will continue to evolve. Social sites are like any brick and mortar hangout. Eventually people will leave unless the sites continue to evolve and serve their audience.
What predictions do you have for the future of Photoshop?
As an insider, I know the current roadmap and it’s ever evolving. I could tell you specifics, but then I’d have to kill you. But seriously, I think you’re going to see Adobe’s digital imaging software continue to reinvent itself.
I think we’ll see new features to address new workflows and publishing methods. Adobe & Photoshop has always been at the forefront of various publishing revolutions including desktop publishing, web publishing, digital photography and digital publishing. Mobile and 3D come to the top of mind as we’re in the midst of rapid change and innovation in those areas. Of course, we’ll see more magic sprinkled in along the way. There will always be those things that will blow your mind such as the healing brush and content aware fill.