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Adobe Create Now Denver: Terry White Interview on Adobe’s Evolution in Design and Web

Last month I had the opportunity to catch the Adobe Create Now tour while they were in Denver. My second interview was with Terry White, Worldwide Design Evangelist for Adobe. Terry currently leads the charge of getting customers excited about Adobe Creative Cloud Products. (My other interview of Paul Trani from the event).

Terry showed off some new features in Muse.

Video Transcript

Brent: I’m Brent Weaver and you’re watching uGurus TV. The must watch web series to give a more profitable and in demand web professional. I’m here in Denver, Colorado at Adobe Create Now, and I’m having a chance to hang out with Terry White, who is an Adobe Product Evangelist.

Terry: World Wide Design Evangelist.

Brent: Okay. What does a world wide design evangelist do?

Terry: I go around the world talking about Photo Shop Illustrator, Light Room, End Design, and basically the design aspect of our products.

Brent: How did you get started in that?

Terry: How did I get started in that. Well actually I started over 17 years ago at Adobe. I was actually back then what was called a market specialist. Today you would call that position a solutions consultant or system engineer. And so my job back then was to go around with the sales team and while they would go talk to companies about maybe upgrading to the latest version the products. I would do the technical demos. Prior to that I was actually teaching the software. So teaching Photoshop and Illustrator and back in those days, Pagemaker. Yeah, that long ago. So that’s how I got started.

Brent: Okay, so 17 years at Adobe. Most of it on the design side. What has changed over that period of time when it comes to web design? Like what have you seen change in that period of time?

Terry: What I’ve seen change over that period of time, certain things change, certain things remain the same over time. Is that web is probably the most fluid of the three product areas. I mean design, design is design. When you have a product like End Design, it’s been around for over ten years. Of course it gets new features, you know ever new version. Illustrator over 25 years, Photoshop over 20 years. But now point to a web-tool that’s over ten years old. They’re aren’t that many. It’s because the webs constantly changing and the requirements are constantly changing. So one tool usually doesn’t survive that long. I mean Dream Weaver has been around for a while, but, in most cases the tools themselves have to be reinvented to meet the new demands.

Brent: So If there was one tool, you guys had showed several tools today. You guy showed a lot of wiz bang, a lot of cool little work flows. If there’s one tool that a web pro should keep their eye on, what would that tool be right now?

Terry: A web pro should keep their eye on, I would probably say Edge Reflow. It’s hard because ReFlow is kind of answering that question you just asked work but I also want to say Edge Animate. Because I think Edge Animate has more appeal across a wider segment. Being able to easily do HTML5, CSS, Javascript, animations in a visual tool that keeps getting better with each revision. So I would say those would be the two I would keep my eye on.

Brent: One thing that some web pros have gotten maybe uneasy about from a product standpoint has been the product, Adobe Muse. Tell me what your position is on how you think a web pro can leverage Adobe Muse? Is it threatening their way of existence?

Terry: Here’s my take on that. If you’re defining yourself by the tools that are available, then you’re doomed for failure to begin with. It’s no different than me hiring a professional contractor to do something at my house or me heading to Home Depot. That contractor is not worried that Home Depot exists because he’s going to fix the things that I broke anyway.

So as a web professional a new tool that comes out that allows people to do something that maybe you could do, or do better, how does that hurt you really? Because chances are those people weren’t coming to you anyway. So if you can do it better great, then you can be above what the tool submits itself to. So again, I would say to web pros, you shouldn’t feel threatened by any new tool whether it’s Muse or anything else that comes out, because, you should be better than what a tool does. In other words if I pick up a hammer it’s really who’s holding it and wielding as apposed to the hammer itself. Why be mad at the hammer?

Brent: Definitely a very good point. A lot of what you guys are pushing is Creative Cloud. So how is Creative Cloud helping web professionals and other creatives be more profitable? How is it helping them build business?

Terry: Well what it’s doing is it’s leveled the financial models. For example, to get started in the past you’d have to lay out hundreds if not thousands of dollars to even get the software to begin with. I think our lowest software was $399 if you pick one package. The lowest suite was like $1,800 to just buy it out right. Then every 18 to 24 months which is usually especially too long in the web world. Having to wait for new features and then when those new features did come out, having to pay another $500, $800 to upgrade the suite. So now it’s a flat cost monthly that you can easily monetize if you’re any working professional. Whether it’s 20 bucks a month for a single app or 50 bucks a month for the whole thing. And that’s without the first year discount. I don’t know of any working professional that can’t afford 50 bucks a month. And if that’s the issue, then chances are it’s time to get a job.

Brent: Maybe find something else to do.

Terry: Find something else to do, exactly. So having access to everything for that one price and without having to think about it or having to pay an upgrade fee, and always having the latest tools, and always getting new features as they come out. I can’t see how that would be worse than what you were doing before.

Brent: And that makes sense for the freelancer, lower bared entry, to get the tools and then how does that, how does that benefit scale up when you talk about teams and agencies?

Terry: Same things with teams and agencies. So the price goes up to $79 a month, I believe, $69 a month I think for the team version and, but you’re now getting 100 gigs of storage, more support, more content, more things. And from a small design shop or team based. If I own a shop for example, and I’ve got six designers or six web professionals and I have them coming and going as freelancers or contractors. I centrally control everything and turn it on and off as people come and go. So the team version, that’s what it’s geared for.

Brent: So with Creative Cloud having releases constantly, I mean what’s next for Creative Cloud when it comes to web pros? I mean you guys went through some of the tools today, but I feel like Creative Cloud is just infancy.

Terry: It is.

Brent: What’s the big thing that’s going to be revealed some time in the future or at least some hints, maybe give me some hints.

Terry: I would just say that it doesn’t stop where it is now, the apps you see today. I mean obviously our claim to fame with our big apps will continue to go on. Photoshop will continue to get updates and get better. But I would say the thing you would have to look forward to is not being limited to just what you see today. The Edge tools didn’t exist three years ago. And now there’s four of five Edge apps. So what you’ll not only see is new feature updates to the apps we know and love, but new apps. And more specialized apps, specifically solving problems.

Brent: Very cool. Well Terry, we appreciate you taking the time to hang out with us. Hopefully you’ll have a little bit of time to enjoy Denver while you’re here.

Terry: Well I see a little snow coming down here.

Brent: We’ve welcomed you with some snow. Very nice, we’ll we appreciate you taking the time to chat with us today, and wish you the best of luck…

Terry: All right, my pleasure. Thanks.

Brent: Absolutely.

Terry: Take care.

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