My Big MAX Attack Adobe MAX is back!

It has been a busy autumn with work. I’ve travelled around a lot these past couple months, visiting schools, working with students and faculty. And while the travel can be wearing at times, watching students and teachers enjoying the creative outlets that Creative Cloud makes available is worth it. I’ve experienced a lot of energy, excitement and enthusiasm while running boot camps for Adobe Creative Jams, and seen some incredible accomplishments from participants within very short timelines.

Creative Jam events are so much fun!

These trips I’ve taken, the creativity I’ve witnessed, have all been a very appropriate lead-up to the next few days.

Adobe MAX is back! 3-5 days when Adobe Magic is everywhere. It’s my pop-up Magic Kingdom, and I’m here with more than 14000 other creatives, students and faculty soaking it all in.

This will be my running journal of the event, sometimes nearly live, but often a reflection of the day.

As I was heading to the airport early Friday morning, I tweeted that MAX is the one work event when I’m ok giving up my weekend at the cottage. And that says a lot, if you’ve viewed any of my stories about the Fortress of Moderate Solitude. And even if you haven’t, October is the last month of the season before we shut down the cottage. Not many weekends left...

Adobe CEO Shanyanu Narayan on stage at an earlier MAX.
The famous chalkboard wall. If you’re at MAX, come and make your mark.

And yet, I still want to be here. Be involved. Laugh with my friends and colleagues. Take photos.

TA in workshops.

See the magic.

Share in the excitement.


As usual, I get started a little early talking about MAX, building up both my excitement and hopefully that of others.

In just under an hour, I’ll be landing at LAX. Yep, we’re back in LA! There’s no WiFi on the plane unfortunately, or I’d be posting this 10,000ft up in the air. But I just felt the need to get things started. I hope you follow along with my story and images over the next few days, and keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram (@jimbabbage) feeds too, for photos on the fly.

Rooftop panorama view from The Perch restaurant in downtown LA. The food was quite good.

Preconference Day 1

I woke up this morning, excited to start the day. Looking out my window, I new I was in a for a special day; it was raining in LA!

I headed down to the conference Centre with my colleagues, Donna and Steve. The aim was to get there early to grab our badges, before we began TA’ing for the MAX Preconference. We opted not to make the 30-minute walk in the rain, though, and snagged an Uber ride.

I haven’t been to LA for a couple years and the LACC has had a serious makeover. For starters, it’s MUCH bigger. Which meant a longer trek to the registration desk. But the great part of that longer walk is that we got a chance to see more of the MAX decor along the way.

After picking up our badges, we dropped in early to see if our preconference instructors needed any additional help setting up. I noticed a few very keen attendees already nearby the workshop room doors, ready to make sure they got their pick of seats.

If there is one thing I LOVE about MAX is the energy, the excitement of everyone around me. This is an Adobe event and one that people pay a fair chunk of change to attend. And they are happy to do it. The networking and learning opportunities are vast, in my opinion.

Preconference attendees had a very productive and informative experience. Led by Adobe Solutions Consultants, attendees worked hands-on with the yet-to-be-released versions of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, XD and Dimension to create a series of promotional materials, including an awesome 12-month calendar, which each participant printed our poster-size to high-resolution Epson printers.


Today I change tracks (and wardrobe), attending a full day of inspirational education presentations from faculty, students and edu CIOs. Normally, I’m the guy taking the photos at EDUMAX and Creative Campus, but they’ve now hired a photographer to do the documentation, so I can focus on engaging more with customers and colleagues through the day (and enjoy listening to all the presentations!)

Don’t despair! Even though I did not bring my DSLR to this event, I still have my iPhone and my Moment lenses (awesome accessories for my smartphone), so there will be a few photos from the day.

Feeling a bit like a fish out of water without my camera and shiny shirt...

EDUMAX actually began Saturday evening with a reception at the recently renovated Figueroa Hotel, or “The Fig” as it’s known locally. I actually stayed there during a previous Adobe MAX. It was a pretty cool place and quite eclectic. The renovation has certainly opened up the hotel, brightened it and made it much more welcoming from the ground floor.

A New Program for Education

This morning at EDUMAX, we announced a brand new program! Well, brand new in the sense that it now has official standing at Adobe, rather than the label of a networking/marketing event. That program is the Adobe Creative Campus Program. If you follow me on Social Media, you’ve likely seen my photos or read my stories about Creative Campus. Even before gaining official status at the company, it was my belief that this event was a huge shift in the right direction for Adobe, and its support for education. If you want to learn more about Creative Campus, here are a few links to my previous stories on the event.

In hand with the new Creative Campus Program, we also launched the Adobe Digital LIteracy Thought Leaders program. This too, is very exciting, because every thought leader in this program IS a working educator, or involved heavily in education.

I was also very stoked to see the shiny new brochure that came with this announcement. It’s chock full of my photographs from previous Creative Campus events. I couldn’t help but feel pleased, seeing my work in print again after so long.

The Brochure

Past Events

In case you simply can’t get enough of my stories and photos, and are waiting with bated breath for me to update this journal, below is a link to a series of other Adobe events that I’ve attended, photographed and participated in. Check them out if you like. And don’t forget, just as for this journal, if you read something you like, be sure to hit that Appreciate button, at the bottom of the project. It reinforces my Pavlovian conditioning and produces much needed endorphins. :-)

Max Day 1

The Day 1 General Session was - as expected - amazing! Even as an Adobe employee of 7+ years, I’m still enthralled by the magic that our scientists, engineers and designers create. And the Day 1 keynote is where we share that with the world.

Photos from Day 1 General Session at Max

I was particularly moved by the opening segment with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, who put a lot of focus on the importance of education, creativity, digital literacy and digital storytelling.

There were so many announcements of product updates (voice interaction for XD!) and NEW products like Premiere Rush, and Photoshop for the iPad (coming in 2019) and live demonstrations of the power of Project Aero when tied to Adobe Dimension, it was - as usual - hard to take in. But never fear, below is a link from Solutions Consultant A.J. Wood, that point you to all the updates.

See MAX, almost Live!

If you weren't able to attend Max. You can catch recordings of the general sessions for Days 1 and 2, as well as many recorded sessions, at the link below:

A story on every screen.
Just me and 14,000 of my closest friends.
Adobe MAX is a technological candystore of new stuff.

Day 2 General Session

The general session on Day 2 was dedicated to inspirational, visionary speakers such as Nicola Scott, the key illustrator for Wonder Woman, Albert Scott on his life as both a photographer and immigrant to the United States, and Opey himself, the multi-talented, brilliant and funny, Ron Howard.

Another full house!
And there I am. I later learned that friends of mine in the audience were playing an informal game of "Where's Waldo," posting pics of me as I moved from one end of the stage to the other.
The multi-talented Ron Howard rounded off an amazing morning of inspirational speakers at Adobe MAX.

Max Sneaks

Other than the Bash, Sneaks are probably the most highly anticipated segment of the entire MAX event. It's where our Adobe Wizards bring us behind the curtain, to see what new and amazing acts of technological magic they are working on. Some of these projects may only see the light of the Sneaks stage...but others may find themselves fleshed out as a new product, or part of an existing product in the future.

MAX Bash

And of course...the MAX Bash. This year, Adobe took over a freaking sports stadium to accommodate the 1,000's of attendees. It was almost like a giant tailgate party. Amazing food, catered by Wolfgang Puck, phenomenal desserts, and of course, music!

Dessert, anyone?

Day 3 - Wrap up & Homeward Bound

The end of MAX comes too soon, but considering that it's almost a non-stop adrenaline rush for it's short life, that's probably best. My final day was spent TA'ing in two more workshops and catching a few final photos of the Community Pavilion, before I was off to the airport.

I left MAX feeling a wonderful mix of exhaustion and excitement. I work for a company that continually pushes the bar on creativity, on making magical experiences for its customers, and its customers' customers. While Adobe doesn't always get it right, no one can say that - as a company and as individual contributors in that company - we aren't trying. I still feel this way, after working more than 7 years here. I'm not tired of my job, or the people. It's a great place to work. And events like MAX really do an excellent job of bringing that point home.

See you all next year!

Created By
Jim Babbage

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