The End of the Road for me at Adobe. 2012 and Beyond.

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!

 

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  • Robert Gadd

    Hi RJ,

    Wishing you the best on your new career and direction. It’s not the end of the road, but the beginning of a new, exciting and rewarding path.  And I’d love to connect to discuss all things mobile (e.g., Apps, enterprise, dev tools, more) plus chat about being an eBook author and the many advantages of working with your spouse too, if you’re open to any of that.  I plan to be in San Diego in the next 4-6 weeks too.

    So, lace up your new trekking boots and enjoy the journey 2012 has in store for you! As a self-employed person for 30 years, I can think of no better way to hone your skills and open your mind to the world’s many possibilities.

    Robert Gadd 🙂

    • I love your take on the way I should look at this beginning and I embrace it. Please let me know when you are in town and I’ll pay for lunch.

  • Hi RJ,

    Thanks for the post. It sounds like you have some great projects in the pipe. Congratulations on this new, exciting chapter in your life. I’d love to take a look at your mobile learning app when the time comes. Best wishes for you and your family.

    • Thanks for the comment and kind words, Jason. I will most definitely give you a sneak peek into the Apps I’m working on when ready. Thanks again and wish you a prosperous 2012.

  • Sanjeev Gadre

    Good luck RJ.

    • Thank You, Sir. I truly enjoyed working with you. Happy New Year with your new ventures.

  • Ginny Burns

    RJ,
    I would like to thank you for all your Captivate help you have given me over the last 2 years as I discovered and learned the program.

    Best of luck in all you do!   

    • Thank You for your comment, Ginny. It means a lot to me what you said. I need all the encouragement I can get right now to get off to a great 2012 start. Thank You and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need further help with Adobe Captivate.

  • Veronica

    Happy New Year! Enjoy the journey in 2012! I would like to thank you for all your help you provided to Front Runner over the years. You were always responsive and helpful when we needed to find answers for our clients.

  • Veronica

    Happy New Year! Enjoy the journey in 2012! I would like to thank you for all your help you provided to Front Runner over the years. You were always responsive and helpful when we needed to find answers for our clients.

    • I appreciate the love, Veronica. I have always enjoyed working with you and Bernard and everyone else at Front Runner. You guys rock and I wish you the very best in 2012.

  • Tammy VB

    RJ,

    Words cannot express how much you have meant to the Adobe Community. Your generosity and spirit have meant so much to me, and I have learned so many things about Adobe Framemaker and Robohelp that I could not have learned anywhere else. You will be immensely succesful (as you have always have been) in all of your future endeavors. Here’s to a happy, successful, and prosperous New Year to you and your family.

    Tammy

    • Wow, Tammy, I’m pretty speechless over here. I can’t thank you enough for your kind words, they encourage me in a powerful way. Happy New Year and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need any help with RoboHelp, FrameMaker and the Tech Comm Suite. I will also have a special place in heart for them. thank you!

  • Wow RJ it sounds like you certainly haven’t let the grass grow under your feet since Dec 15th. I know that is not your style, so I’m sure you’ll suceed in what you are attempting to achieve. It sounds like you have a truly exciting year ahead of you. I wish you all the best, and I’d be happy to review that book when it is ready.

    • Thank you for your comment, Sir. I appreciate your friendship very much and always enjoy your posts and forward thinking wrt TechComm. I look forward to continued collaboration in 2012. Have a wonderful year, my friend!

  • Anonymous

    I’m excited to see that you’ll get a chance to put all that SM juice to work for yourself now!

    Count me in as a reviewer for the eBook if needed, and I look forward to seeing what you have on tap for the online training. 

    Hopefully your Colts can match what we all know will be *your* success in 2012!

    -Matt 

    • One of the best comments yet, Matt. The pressure is now on for me to go to work and put everything I’ve learnt for the past years to work. I love it. As for my Colts, I’m hoping for a Superbowl next year with Peyton Manning back in business and hopefully Jeff Fisher as the coach 🙂

  • Lindag

    RJ,

    So sorry to hear about this change in your job situation, but layoffs, downsizing, rightsizing, whatever you want to call it, have become a given in today’s world. Adobe is the worse for having let you go, but I know you will successful on your own. I wish you all the best in your new endeavors. It sounds like you’ll be plenty busy, and with your experience and reputation, you will not want for work.

    ¡Buena suerte!

    • Hola Linda, your very warm comment means a lot to me and it’s going in my encouragement file. I quickly moved on after hearing the news and hold no grudges. The Adobe eLearning team did what they had to do, and now I will do what I have to do. Feliz Año Nuevo.

  • Congrats, RJ- I’m really excited to see all the cool new ways you’ll be contributing to our community in 2012!  Best of luck.

    • I appreciate that, Arnold. I will work tirelessly to bring great content to the eLearning community. Thanks for the comment and Happy New Year!

  • Dear RJ,
    Your words have really touched me. I couldn´t agree more with the ideas of “escaping the comfort zone” and “that great things have their seasons”. Specially, when companies don´t notice your full potential. So, now it´s time to set yourself new challenges and experience the incomparable “flavour” of achieving your own dreams. I think it takes bravery and honesty to express your thought in the way you have done it through this post, that´s exactly what you need to embrace your new future! Your 2012 projects seem very interesting and exciting and no doubt, you´ll be highly successful in carrying them out. Adelante! 🙂

    • Hi Mayra, thank you for your kinds words. Truth be told, I wasn’t planning on posting this for another couple of days, and then I watched your presentation and you inspired me and said, why wait, so I did it and I’m glad I did. I think that meeting people like you, who inspire you is the real ‘Killer App’ of Social Media. So thankful for knowing you and I wish you the very best with your new ventures in 2012.

  • Best wishes for the new year and beyond, RJ! I look forward to seeing what you’ll be working on in the coming months.

    • Thank You, Sir. I hope you and your little ones had an awesome Christmas and I look forward about our interview and discussing Flash on mobile and your thoughts on HTML5. Have a great 2012, Joseph!

  • Sad news for us, but very exciting for you. And we’ll still benefit from your vast knowledge, probably even more so now that you will expand into other areas!

    • Anonymous

      Hi Jody, many thanks for your kind words, they mean a lot to me and I’m glad to hear I was able in some way to contribute to the Adobe community. I’m really looking forward to contributing from a wider standpoint, so please stay tuned. Thanks again and Happy New Year.

  • Philippe Zingoni

    Very exciting projects from you RJ. I liked to work with you and will continue to read your posts with attention.
    Happy new year, and enjoy ! Philippe

  • First of all congrats on venturing out on our own, wise move. I did it and I’m loving it.  But I will say that planning and having goals is the real key to success but I think you have that covered well. Looking forward to hearing more from you 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the comment, Liz. I agree with you in that planning and goal setting is critical to success. I love where I am in life these days and I wake up fired up each morning to go out and cease the idea and my goals.  Happy New Year and I wish you the very best 2012 has in store.

  • Best of luck outside of Adobe RJ.  It is interesting reading your thoughts about leaving as they are some of the same fundamental reasons I was happy to leave as well.  Good luck in 2012 and beyond!

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Dave. I appreciate the comment and I wish you all the best in 2012, too. What’s on tap for you in this new year?

  • terri barnes

    Love reading your posts and will continue following you! Wish you the best in 2012!

    • Anonymous

      I appreciate that very much, Terri and I promise I will do my very best to keep it going. I’m finding blogging to be a great way to stay focus and forward thinking. Thanks again and Happy an awesome 2012, Terri!

  • All the best in 2012 RJ. Looking forward to your new posts.

    • Anonymous

      I appreciate that, Tomasz and I will keep at it. I look forward to blogging more and seeing more of your comments here. Take care.

  • Anonymous

    Glad you shared your story. Best of luck to you – as somebody who recently took control of her own professional life and is now self employed, the grass is indeed greener on this side.  Even if you have to stay up all night mowing it.  🙂

    • Anonymous

      Hi Laura, thank you for your encouragement and your comment. I’m with you 100%, life is about taking control of our destiny and not being at the mercy of corporation that make decisions for you and your family. I’m done with that and I’m loving my new self 🙂

  • This is great. I’m looking forward to the ebook. 

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the comments, James. I’m working on it every day as I find time. thanks.

  • RJ, you’ve been a great inspiration to me and an amazing leader in the industry for very long time. I’m very much looking forward to reading your eBook, as well as hopefully connecting once again down the road. Best of luck to you!

    -Jeff Dicker
    RealEyes Connect

    • Anonymous

      Hi Jeff, many thanks for your kind words, they mean a lot to me. Regarding the eBook I’m writing, I’m on it every day and when I hear people like you say that they are looking forward to reading it, it motivates me to keep it going, so thank you.

  • Burtin Hart

    Well, RJ, I  just want to say “Thank you.” Thank you for more than a few years’ mentoring and friendship, and thank you for being so open and honest in providing liaison between communicators and companies with whose products we earn our living. And thank you for championing world-class products (even against the odds, it seems, sometimes) that have helped a significant number of people compete fairly in an increasingly global economy. It will be interesting indeed to see where this fork in the road leads…

    Burtin

    • Anonymous

      Hi Burtin, I appreciate your kind words here my friend. You have been a great friend of mine throughout my Techcomm Evangelist career and I feel very blessed for that. I hope you are doing well and I look forward to many more years of friendship. Thanks.

  • As one of your “tweeps” I want to let you know that I definitely will want to read your e-book and am interested in beta testing your mobile app.  Many of your posts have encouraged me to look at a course in a different way, understand many of the tech components I have had questions about, and pointing out what’s new, what’s coming, what’s worth questioning.  I wish for you only happiness and joy as you move forward with your new beginning!

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for your kind words, Elizabeth, they mean a lot to me. I will continue to share my take on interesting trends and I look forward to hearing your thoughts too here. Thank You, Elizabeth.

  • Malu Schloss

    Hi RJ,
    I was re-reading your “storyline gamechanger” blog and others. Kindly include me with those who want to see your beta mobile apps.,

    Best to you!
    Malu

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