the calm after the storm

Yesterday had that calm after the storm feeling. MAX wrapped up on Wednesday and I spent a good part of the day thinking about my reactions to it …

I’m happy to have been able to put faces to a good number of names. Unfortunately there are a few folks that I just never seemed to be able to catch up with. Attendance this year was in the neighbourhood of 3000 people so I guess that’s to be expected. One thing’s for sure though – there are alot of really cool people out there doing some really cool things and the opportunity to meet some of them and just hang out was inspiring. “Zat alone is worth zee price of zee conference”. (Sorry Joe, I’m too lazy to work out decent phonetics).

I’m also pretty excited about some of the new things coming from Macromedia. Which I guess is a pretty natural reaction – I’d imagine something to that effect is at the top of the objectives whiteboard in MAX planning meetings, (a Breeze meeting collaborative whiteboard no doubt). For now atleast I’m going to take a pass on simply listing the things that have me so enthusiastic. I’d probably just wind up rattling off a bunch of product codenames and confuse myself. Again. (I know I’m getting too old for this but there’s a great drinking game in all those codenames – someone just needs to hammer out a few rules).

What really stuck with me coming from the conference is a sense of how things in this internet application space seem to be accelerating. Web 2.0 indeeed. It would seem to me that nearly everyone I’ve talked with whether they do elearning, web (or desktop) applications, mobile, web design, you name it, is excited and optimistic about the near future. I didn’t really get the impression from anyone that they had their foot on the brake.

Macromedia it would seem are feeling this way as well and, atleast in my mind, seem to be in no small part fueling this trend. They are often held up as the epitomy of a company that has embraced upcoming mediums like blogging to foster genuine two way communication with their customers. Thing like and all the “let me show you what we’ve been working on” sessions (or hallway conversations) would seem to be an extension of that strategy. As people at Macromedia are saying, this move signifies a greater role for users of the tools in the development process. It also occured to me such a commitment will probably have a couple of other strategic advantages.

Besides the obvious “two minds are greater than one” argument, what better way to make developers feel like stakeholders in a tool than to involve them in the process of developing it. Not only do you get the theoretical “software of the people” (”uhh, open source software” you say? Sure, I agree, realistically though in OSS the “people” tend to be coders) but Macromedia will also be establishing a more grassroots relationship with customers. Something that will be of advantage when competition for customers is real. Macromedia is very aware of their competition.

Another thought on the significance of the direction that I can’t seem to shake is the level of commitment it represents. Probably the single greatest fear of Macromedia developers in regards to the aquisition by Adobe is the loss of the sense of community and collaboration. The launch of labs and the detailing of it’s longer term mission will make it extremely difficult for Adobe to sever those ties. Considering that Bruce Chizen (Adobe CEO) mentioned that they had hoped to have finalized the aquisition by MAX I have no idea if that was intended or not. Regardless it is at the very least a comforting side effect.

Anyhow, While I’m going to try and moderate my cool-aid consumption, overall I’m enthusiastic about how things are shaping up.

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