Adobe’s launch of Creative Suite 3 got a lot of static from those watching, but it wasn’t Adobe’s fault.
Imagine all of the planning that Adobe must have done prior to the largest launch of new software products in its history yesterday. (You can't begin to imagine how long it took to write and debug the 80 million lines of code that Adobe claims to have written for the entire treasure trove of programs in its new Creative Suite 3 family.) Then picture the hours of rehearsal and preparation that must have occurred on site involving hundreds of employees and support staff, plus the extra networking challenges faced by hosting the entire event live on the web before thousands of Adobe fans and journalists around the world. What could go possibly go wrong?
Plenty! But it’s the job of the organizers (and PR tacticians) to do everything possible to prevent even one minor case of food poisoning from occurring, or anyone from being pushed back against a candle in a crowded room and setting their pants on fire. (Both are personal experiences of mine, the former from bad shrimp at a gala hotel opening, and the latter at the Olympus E-1 launch in 2004—which temporarily earned me the nickname “hotpants”.) An any eventhere’s only so much you can anticipate going wrong before deciding that the “show must go on!” and I’m certain that no one thought for one second that the entire Adobe presentation would screech to a halt in the middle due to an audio-visual hardware failure.
The timing was interesting. Just as the presenter was boasting about how users would be able to optimize content from a number of programs (including Photoshop, Dreamweaver, InDesign, and Illustrator) and be able to forecast problems the content might face when viewed by a number of internet browsers, the two giant screens on stage started going nuts. At first, we all thought it was part of the presentation, but then it got worse, and finally grew intolerable. After scrambling around, either the Adobe CEO, COO, CPU, or COD finally put the presentation on pause and told everyone to go get drunk (referring to the journalists, not the employees who really needed to down a bottle at this point.)
About ½ hour later the presentation started up again with one big screen operating instead of two, and finished up without further “interference”. (Applause all around for the improvements and new Adobe products included.) Much will be written on this site and in the pages of Popular Photography and Imaging about the new features and capabilities of the Creative Suite 3 products over the coming months, but I will always remember the launch snafu. Actually, I feel a bit responsible. After all, I didn’t turn off the two camera phones I had on me at the beginning of the presentation as requested, and with my track record of embarrassing moments at press conferences I should have sat further back from the stage just to be certain. Oh, that reminds me! Way back when Photoshop 2 debutted at MacWorld I was asked to come up and play around with it at the end of the official presentation. I eagerly did so, clicked the mouse button just one single time, and the entire computer system froze and had to be rebooted. It was embarrassing! But at least no one on the internet was watching—or recording the event for a podcast, webinar, or YouTube follies show.