Adobe MAX 2015 LA, my experience


The first thing I would like to share is that I didn’t really realise that this conference was three days. I mean, I knew it was three days but I didn’t realise it would be three FULL days. I planned to write about points that I had learned at the end of each day but I soon realised that this would not happen! You really get your moneys worth with MAX- it is full on. Someone said to me early in the conference that there is so much going on that you you get “inspiration overload” and you need a few more days to take it all in! One of the days worked out to be 6:30am through to 11:30pm and by the end of the three days I was mentally drained- in a good way!

My experience of conferences in the UK are of someone standing at the front of the room talking about best practice within design, UX or others that I attend are within the financial services industry. At the end there are questions- generally from people who know the answer but who ask questions to show that they too are intelligent. I am really generalising here but that is my experience.

MAX is different. It is like university for “grown ups” and the Monday was like the first day of school.

The sessions fall into four categories;

  •  Talks by people who are in the industry and talk about their experiences,
  • Talks about Adobe products by Adobe staff,
  •  Labs (everyone works on a computer and follows a class)
  •  Workshops which are interactive and split into teams (of people you have never met)
Some sessions were held as workshops

Some sessions were held as workshops

Buses ran from the hotels to the conference from 6.30am- the first chance to meet people and network. Breakfast from 7 allowed more mingling and a chance to see various stands in the pavilion.

Some of the sessions were interesting with speakers explaining the way that they work. In others people learned how to rapidly reduce the time needed to perform certain tasks.

In a room filled with expert Photoshop users there was genuine learning. The questions were from people who really didn’t know the answers and the labs became a collaborative affair with people helping each other out.

Sessions started at 8am and went through to 5.30 and there were networking opportunities in the evenings. Over the three days I had 16 sessions if you include the keynotes. In between sessions food was served and the pavilion was alive with chances to win prizes and try out technology. I realised that sitting on a bus, eating lunch or standing in a line for the chance to win an Apple watch (I won a bag of sweets) were the best ways to meet people.

Everyone at the conference was given a Fujifilm camera- a great giveaway to all 7,000 that attended!

On the Monday I left the conference at around 8:30pm ready for bed, feeling inspired and with a bunch of new friends who I would see throughout the three days.

There were two keynotes, one about the Adobe roadmap and the other was from a few creative individuals sharing their stories.

Adobe know how to put on a show!

Adobe know how to put on a show!

Adobe ‘Sneaks’ was a chance for the Adobe engineers to show off concepts of what may be coming next. A highly entertaining event presented by Nick Offerman (very entertaining on the night and also in “Me and Earl and the dying girl” that I watched on the flight home).

After “sneaks” was the MAX bash, an open air party with food, drinks,  live music and performers. I attended on my own but met up with friends that I had made over the previous few hours. A really enjoyable event and a good chance to network and discuss all that had been learned in the last few days.

There were lots of classes available. For every class time slot  there were at least another ten. With people doing different classes there was a lot to talk about outside of them.

My only negative is that the Wednesday was a bit of an anticlimax. The ‘big bang’ was on the Tuesday night. Wednesday happened and people drifted off throughout the day. Everyone was exhausted and people had to leave for flights but I do wonder if a final keynote would have been a nice way to finish it off.

Am I glad that I attended? Definitely! I have learnt a lot, met some great people and had a very enjoyable time.

I wanted to write one article that covered the event and offered something for others to learn from but there was just so much and far too much to put in one article. I didn’t want to post a diary report of all 16 sessions but want to offer something that may be useful and inspiring. Take this as an introduction…

Well done Adobe!

Watch this space for more from Adobe MAX.

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