Sales Animals

Daring Fireball has opined that The Fish Rots From the Head. (If you aren’t a graphic design person, I’m not sure if this will appeal to you or not.) I’ve never really followed the Adobe saga very closely, but it is interesting to me how I’ve still been in a way plugged into it:

Tough, and with a large dose of Brooklyn chutzpah, Mr Chizen in 1998 turned Adobe’s culture upside down, introducing hierarchies, performance reviews and the like. In 2000, he became chief executive, and the founders co-chairmen.

That allowed Mr Chizen to return to his main passion, salesmanship, and in particular to a software application called Acrobat, the one Adobe product that has always been targeted at the wider business (as opposed to the narrower graphics-and-design) market.

This intrigued me because I still haven’t upgraded from PS 5.5 (which was last current in… 1999.) I looked at the new features, and simply said, “not worth it.” Sure, a magnetic lasso would have been nice, but that was about all that was compelling me. They have since done some things with vector art that would be nice to have… but I am already using Macromedia Fireworks for that (since it came with Director.) It looks like my Fireworks days are numbered.

A malaise has settled over Adobe, and I think this is likely to be it. The sad part, to me, is that if this is the case, it isn’t going to simply kill Adobe as a kick ass company — it is going to drag Macromedia down with it. The best part about Photoshop has been that it is technically powerful because it is flexible. The framework for me to work with is there, and you can polish that up somewhat, but it is very difficult to incrementally improve it. The best that Adobe has been able to do so far is to simply roll into the program things that I was doing manually. Ho-hum.

I don’t do very much layout work at all, anymore. The last time I did was around early 2001, and I was still using Xpress then. I was ready to move to inDesign then, because it seemed like a superior program. Rather than the incremental improvements that Quark was (not) doing at the time, Adobe came out with a complete change in thinking that was superior to the Quark mindset. If Adobe is going to expand by acquisition, rather than having people who Don’t Suck making the programs and running the show, people like me (meaning, creative producers) are going to shove off as soon as all those people who Don’t Suck get together and make that complete change in thinking.

(And to all you GIMP goons out there, I’ve tried it. It sucks. Photoshop — even PS 5.5, a five year old program — rocks its skinny crackhead ass.)


  1. Cosmic Siren says:

    I have Paintshop Pro 5 and I’m not looking to upgrade it either.

  2. Mexigogue says:

    I have Paintshp Pro 8 at home. I don’t understand most of it, I just use the basics. I also use ThumbsPlus to adjust the graphics.

    At work I just have the basic MS Paint that comes with the computer, the one that was released in like 1776 or something. That’s why my stuff looks so cheesy.

  3. Phelps says:

    You guys know that you are talking about Paintshop and I’m talking about Photoshop, right? One is a very good, easy to learn basic image editing program (PSP) and one is an industry standard, hard to learn, somewhat counter-intuitive, extremely, breathtakingly powerful image manipulation program (PS).

  4. Mexigogue says:

    Yes, I know the difference. I’ve never used Photoshop but I’m aware that most of the civilized world uses it.

  5. Phelps says:

    I would be very surprised if PS had a large fraction (like 1/8th) the users that PSP has. Photoshop is simply arcane and difficult to use. It is like the number of people who use convection ovens. Sure, they are better, and you can do things with them that you can’t do with conventional ovens, and pretty much any professional baker uses them, but for most people it simply isn’t worth it.

  6. Cosmic Siren says:

    I’ve used my dad’s Photoshop and outside of a few nifty tricks that I wished PSP 5 had, it was just a pain in the ass.

    But then, I use mine to do art more than manipulate photos. It’s fun because a lot of artsy people think I’ve scanned the stuff and actually can’t figure out what media I used.