Inside Adobe

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"Inside Adobe" comes from Adobe's internal corporate website, which is called, "Inside Adobe". Why is it called that, instead of "Adobe Insider"? Because years earlier, when Apple created the Macintosh, their internal developer documentation was called, "Inside Macintosh". So anyone familiar with that, would vote for that nomenclature to sort of parody and pay tribute to Apple.


Inside Macintosh

In 1984 Apple released the Macintosh with the famous "1984" Commercial. They also released the less famous "Inside Macintosh" volumes 1, 2 and 3, which were 3 books printed on cheap paper which looked like telephone books, that were the developers bible. Later, they added many more books to the series, and printed the whole series on better stock.

These books contained all the Mac API's (application programming interfaces), which is really just a fancy way of saying a list of all the things a programmer could ask the Mac to do for them, so they didn’t have to write that code themselves — print a character, draw a line, send something to the printer, get the next character from a keyboard and stuff like that. Since big applications are millions of lines long, no single programmer writes it all. Thus programming usually involves stringing together a series of commands to do something, interspersed with asking other people’s code (routines) to do things, into something that’s useful. The more Apple wrote for the programmers, the easier it was for programmers to get their jobs done. And the Mac tried to get the programmers to think different and do more, by providing more routines than any personal computer that came before it had: and Inside Macintosh was the divine tome of knowledge from which you tried to divine how to do everything. more...

A decade or so later, as the Web was becoming popular, many companies were creating internal-only websites that allowed their employees to get all the information they needed to get their work done. And of course, they needed a name for those websites, and since Adobe had many geeks and creatives who love a good pun or play on words and to pay homage to those that came before them, they created their Internal website, called “Inside Adobe”. Where you started in Adobe to find everything you needed: people, places, things, policies, HR information, and links to all the other resources. And since real artists steal, and geeks pay homage to others through obscure puns and references, I’ve called this book Inside Adobe as well.

The goal is to give the reader an idea of what it’s like to be inside Adobe. Not just work for the company, but know some of the personalities, decisions made — and think of these things from many points of view: the businessman, the marketer, the creative, the engineer, as well as different groups and factions inside the company. But in any large company, there’s many teams and factions.

I joke that if you lock 5 engineers in a room and ask them a question, you can wait 30 minutes (for the arguing to subside), only to get back 6 mutually exclusive answers.

Large companies are like that. There are many differing opinions, and the one thing they all agree on is that theirs is the best one. So any conflicting points of view are all true, and false at the same time. From the marketing view, the engineering decision may be a horrible idea, and vise versa. But yet, companies will succeed in spite of that. The only question is how well. How many of the bad ideas get filtered out early, how much ability to listen and delegate do they do. How enjoyable is the process and people to work with? That’s kind of what defines a company.


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