The tidal wave that is Adobe MAX has come and gone for 2009 and I’m back home recovering.
I have attended a lot of industry conferences over the years and even helped organize a few. To me, what separates the good from the bad conferences is not the facilities, the speakers, or even the wifi availability, it’s the people. Obviously MAX is about an intense amount of information transfer — with hundreds of hours of sessions, keynotes, BOFs and unconferences — but it’s also about building connections within the Adobe community. The advent of MAX Online means that if all you want is information, you can get that without having to leave your home. The true value of attending MAX is everything else that is layered around those sessions.
Although I’m biased, I think the fact that one of the first things you saw when coming onto the show floor at MAX was a very large and comfortably furnished community lounge speaks volumes about the importance of building connections at MAX. And that lounge was never empty, not even early in the morning. Any time you came by, there were community members and Adobe staff filling the chairs and gathered around the tables; talking, working, Twittering, demo-ing, and much more.
A lot of other people have written extensively about the news Adobe released at MAX this year, so I’m not going to talk about that here. And if I tried to list all the people or all the cool stuff I saw this year at MAX I would fail miserably. Instead, I am going to call out two things that were particularly meaningful to me.
First, there’s this:
(Photo Copyright © 2009 by Kendall Whitehouse, used with permission)
I knew going in what the theme of the Day 2 keynote was, of course, but had no clue at all that the keynote would open with a display of Adobe User Group logos from around the world onscreen, so when I saw the screen it was a big warm fuzzy moment. The Adobe User Groups work very hard to build community in their local communities and it was great to see them included onstage. Many of those user group managers were not able to be present at MAX due to the cost of travel, but as one manager put it “At least my logo could be there!”.
And next there’s this:
It’s been a very long time since I first sat down with a copy of ColdFusion and tried to figure out how to connect a database to a web page, and CF has had a special place in my heart ever since. That the CF team included me in the launch gift for CF9 means a lot to me. Thanks guys!
This post is getting a little long, so I’ll just wrap it up by saying that MAX rocked, and if you;re on the fence about going next time, just go. It’s worth it.