First and foremost, Happy New Year!
I still remember my excitement six years ago when I received an email from Karl Matthews, then Director of Product Management at Adobe, asking me if I wanted to join his team as Product Evangelist for FrameMaker, RoboHelp and Captivate. Without even asking anything about the job or the salary, I said YES.
For someone like me, who had been a huge fan of Adobe products and who started his career teaching Adobe products like FrameMaker, Acrobat, Photoshop and others, it was an amazing dream come true.
For the past 6 years, I have had the incredible opportunity to work on some great Adobe products, including the launch of two Adobe Suites, Technical Communication Suite and eLearning Suite.
As an Evangelist, I was often asked what was the number one requirement for such a job, and with no hesitation I always responded with one word, passion. You have to believe that the products you are talking about are the very best there is. Passion is contagious and without it one cannot be a good Evangelist, a good salesman, or good at anything in life for that matter. I hope that if you ever heard me talk, Tweet, or Blog about one of my Adobe products over the last 6 years, you felt the passion I had.
Adobe has done so much for me and my family both professionally and personally that I will forever be indebted to the company and the people that I had the pleasure of working with.
However all great things have their season, and after surviving several mergers and yearly downsizing announcements by the company, this time it was my turn to leave Adobe. Was I surprised by the news? Not really. Was I ready for it? Yes. Let me explain.
I was not surprised by the news at all. You see, as more and more Adobe products and product support teams move to other countries, for a while now, it has been abundantly clear to me that all the action happens in India, including promotions, important meetings, final decisions and product roadmaps and directions, so it was only a matter of time before it was time for me to move on.
However, the timing could not have been better. For the last few years, I have been more or less talking about the same topics and going through the same presentations, demonstrations, conferences, press briefings and webinars, over and over to a point where I was getting a little too comfortable in my position, with no new challenges or opportunities to elevate my career in the company. In my mind, I had always hoped that one day Adobe would take notice and say, hey that RJ guy is doing some nice things with Social Media and would do great Evangelizing our more important flagship products. But it never happened. So I started to realize that I was’t going anywhere, and needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone. We all do from time to time. Change is a good thing and looking back, I feel that this is the best thing that could have happen to me, and the freedom that I now enjoy will enable me to embrace new opportunities, new product lines, new industry trends and new connections.
Today Social Media makes all the difference
It’s hard to image a time when Social Media did not exist, but I was thinking about when Macromedia acquired eHelp Corporation in 2003, then makers of RoboHelp and Captivate, and how almost immediately the company let us all go, and in that single day, I was completely incommunicado with business contacts I had made. That’s not too long ago really.
Different story today. 10 minutes after I heard the news, I tweeted about it and within an hour, I received countless replies from well-wisher, a ton of emails cheering me on and sharing what my work at Adobe had meant to them, several recommendations on my LinkedIn profile, and since then, I have even had opportunities from companies interested in me joining their teams as an Evangelist. I feel very blessed about the important relationships I have developed and I would like to express a very especial thanks to everyone who has encouraged me in the past three weeks.
2012 and Beyond?
I can’t remember being as excited as I am these days with the new opportunities that lie ahead in 2012. People ask me what I will be doing now that I’m not with Adobe; in case you are interested, here are a few projects I will be focusing on:
1) First and foremost, I’m not looking to return to the corporate world. This is the year I venture out and take control of my professional life. Life is indeed to short and I intend to live it to its fullest.
2) I will be blogging full time here on rjacquez.com, where I will focus on covering popular and up-and-coming Rapid eLearning tools, such as Articulate tools, like Articulate Presenter, their Studio Suite and Screenr, as well as some new ones they are working on; Tools from TechSmith, like Camtasia, Jing and others, and of course I will continue to blog about Captivate and other Adobe products, too. I believe that my experience as a Trainer, Product Manager and Evangelist will enable me to contribute to this community and be a key content curator, especially to those new to eLearning, who need to choose the right tool for the job. Soon I will be announcing a weekly eSeminar on choosing the right Rapid eLearning tool. I will also be launching Online Training programs for these tools.
In addition to covering Rapid eLearning Tools, I will also blog about mobile technologies, with emphasis on how these help advance Mobile Learning, for example HTML5, Tablets, the Cloud and Mobile Apps. Finally I already have several interviews lined up with Industry leaders you need to know if you are in eLearning and/or Technical Communications. It’s my hope that the content I share is so compelling that Readers will want to keep coming back for more, and companies will want to promote their products and services on my blog and sponsor my work.
3) I’m also writing a short eBook on what I learned at Adobe and why I believe companies need passionate Evangelists, especially in today’s Social Web, where most purchases are inspired by peer recommendations. Why this eBook? I had the interesting challenge of working on some of the least known products at Adobe (as compared to the Creative Suites), for example RoboHelp, FrameMaker, the Technical Communication Suite and Captivate for that matter, which in comparison to the Creative Suites, it is not that well known by the general public. My first two years at Adobe were particularly tough because my job was to reassure people that RoboHelp and FrameMaker weren’t dead and aggressive marketing campaigns from competitors made it that much tougher. In this eBook, I will share things that worked for me in case you are in a similar situation. And then came Social Media and Twitter and it changed everything, including my life as an Evangelist. My early days on Twitter were incredible, the more posts and tips & tricks I shared, the more followers I got, and the more they ReTweeted me, and the more passive users I was able to convert to superfans of the Adobe products I was Evangelizing. It changed everything. Suddenly I was getting more people to register for our eSeminars with one Tweet than our marketing teams were with their traditional campaigns. I still get excited when I think about it and it’s my hope to share in this eBook my experience and highlight the lessons I learned along the way so other Evangelists, who also promote less-known products in their companies can leverage these lessons. I’m fully convinced that if it weren’t for the positive experiences I’ve had with my work on Social Media, I would be looking for another corporate job right now. Please let me know if you are interested in reviewing this eBook once ready.
4) I’m also building two mobile Apps. One has to do with eLearning / mLearning and the second with Retail. I will share more about these when the time comes, but in the meantime, please let me know if you’d like to beta test these apps when ready.
5) From a family standpoint, I’m joining forces with my wife, who owns a small store here in San Diego, where she does custom picture framing and prints photography on canvas, http://www.jacquezart.com. My mission as she said is to apply everything I’ve learned about Social Media to grow the business and drive traffic the store and web site. Sounds like everything I’ve been doing for the last few years for Adobe Captivate, the Tech Comm Suite and eLearning Suite. This is an exciting project and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
So that’s it, that’s my plan for 2012. It’s my hope that on December 15th, 2012, when I write my ‘One Year after leaving Adobe Recap’ I can look back and say wow, if it weren’t for Adobe closing that door for me a year ago, I would not have done what I have in the last 12 months.
Here’s to a Prosperous New Year and to escaping the comfort zone in order to do something GREAT!