Friday, October 23, 2009

CFinNC, the way an event should be

CFinNC's first event was a success. Mainly because the attendees were over all satisfied from my point of view and the organizers decided to do it again next year.

I took myself down to NC to watch Jim Priest and Dan Wilson in action. Their UG was extremely active and willing to help. What makes a great event isn't the amount of money spent or the number of attendees. It is the dedication of the people involved and it becomes this sense of community that everyone wants to be involved with. They had wonderful speakers and great keynote speakers. I had so many favorite moments from helping the guys set up the night before, to watching Joe Rinehart's keynote on day two. The late night bar was no different than every event I attend. The conversations flowed and the friendships were building. That's what an event truly comes down to. There was also some great content I heard about so that is just truly amazing that this event was put together with the minimum funds and in such a short amount of time.

The guys said they got ideas from larger events like CFUnited and from their UG. And that's what it is all about. Learn from other people's trials and jump at the chance to use great ideas. This is about building a community, not about who's event is better. I encourage UGs to put together a small event like this if they find they have the support from their UG members and find a location that is accessible to a large audience. NC was a great location within driving distance to DC. Great timing and great facility. Schools are a highly recommended venue choice as well. I even hitched a ride with friends to and from, what a bonus!

Also keep in mind the experience. The flow of events. The guys did a great job spacing out sessions and giving time to network. They got sponsors and prizes to add some excitement. They got some great speakers to help promote and do spotlight interviews. Events are supposed to make an impact on a community before, during, and after. There isn't one formula, each event has to be different but if I had to see three things you absolutely need it is 1) great speakers, 2) dedicated team, and 3) well thought out budget.

I highly recommend going next year. If you are interested in doing an event, I offered my advise to Jim and Dan which I'd do for anyone (to an extent!). But just make sure you first take a look around and remember what is it you like about events. They are truly inspirational and always does well to boost moral.

Some events coming up are Bflex/Bfusion, RIA unleashed, RIA adventure, and more.
Make the leap and take a trip or take a leap and decide to do an event in your city!

Monday, October 12, 2009

MAX from the other side

What just happened?

Another Adobe MAX came and went. But it made a huge impact. I’ve worked events before, I’ve networked with others, and I’ve learned new information at conferences in the past. MAX was different for me this year. Joining the Community Team has been an honor. Mainly because my team is amazing and the community is way cool.

Seeing things from the other side isn’t all that different. We are just as amazed as everyone else how everything gets pulled together. Difference is I was much calmer and ready to call to action from my people. It was smooth and a completely rewarding experience.

I sat at the booth Monday morning armed with stickers and notebooks. Ready to smile and represent a company I love. I let conversation flow naturally of course. But after the first few seconds I realized the mission. The community needs to grow! Connecting with one another doesn’t just stop after MAX ends. I wanted everyone to know about the Groups site and what Adobe has done to keep the community connected. I was excited when people found their local user group online for the first time. It was the best feeling all week.

I met a ton of Experts who liked my ideas and who gave me some great feedback.

Here are some of the wants from Experts:

  • To be rebranded (with an awesome acronym of course)
  • A clear definition of who the Experts are
  • To be better connected with Adobe product managers
  • To be better utilized
  • Know when there are opportunities to speak in the community
  • Would like to put presentations on AdobeTV or somewhere unified to show case

And there is a whole lot more.

I have ideas that I shared with the Experts as well. Some involved my idea for creating a useful tool. --I can’t tell you more than that. I have ideas for increasing presence and creating a well-defined identity for the Experts. Also, we need better expectations for Experts.

I will be announcing the Expert program changes and 2010 application on my blog as well as throughout the forums and other lists.

I’m extremely excited to get started on all this. I don’t like to sit on a good idea as many people know. I want to motivate and challenge everyone around me.

What MAX taught me is that creative out-of-the-box ideas can come true.

The only complaint about Adobe MAX is that I didn’t get one of those fresh baked cookies. I was already too stuffed! Thank you Adobe for taking such good care of everyone. You really do care about this community and creating so many opportunities for everyone.

Highlights (and YES I remember everything):

  • Buttons, lots of buttons
  • Late night chatter
  • My visit to Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd
  • Keynotes
  • John Mayer and Mark Hamill
  • The day two evening event rocked
  • Chatting with Dee Sadler and some of the well known Experts
  • Music and Food – all wonderful
  • My picture with Kevin Lynch and Ben Forta!
  • Wearing my NDA shirt and seeing Eddie laugh
  • Eating CF cake
  • Kicking off the festivities with the Romanians and friends Saturday night
  • Seeing Rachel work the floor
  • Preview of Avatar
  • Watching John chat with our overseas guests
  • Seeing the relief on Stacy’s face when recordings did well

I was so sad to go back east after such an amazing week but it is good to know that 2010 is going to rock!

Here are some great pictures from myself and other community peeps. Thanks!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

MAX Travel Tips

Here are some helpful tips for traveling... particularly to Adobe MAX.

I’m covering the essentials and time saving tips. I might seem like a person who loves to travel but I think the process is annoying so I take extra measures to make it easier on myself.

Your suite case is probably the #1 item you want to plan well.

DO pack your shoes in a plastic bag before putting them in your suite case. Dirty shoe t-shirt smell = not so nice smelling

DO put your liquid into a plastic bag even though you are checking in your bag, I’ve had my toothpaste burst all over my clothes before, it isn’t fun. (carry on – its each bottle can be 3.4 oz or less in one zip lock bag)

DO put a ribbon and tag on your bag to easily identify (especially if it is a black suite case)

DO NOT over stuff your suite case! You will have more to take home than you came with. (Adobe MAX promises to provide lots of swag.)

HEALTH TIP: Grab some Airborn and hand sanitizer (trust me on this)


I recommend printing your shuttle reservation, hotel reservation, airline itinerary, MAX attendee confirmation, essential phone numbers, and schedule. Put them all into ONE envelope/folder and put it in the front pocket of your bag or purse. It is just easier to have it all in one place.

WEATHER: LA looks like great weather for MAX with almost no chance of rain. Temperatures mostly between 68-75 highs and 55-58 lows. Bring layers. Conference center rooms are usually a little chilly. Wear comfy shoes too.

Helpful Links:

Schedule on Mobile created by community member Chris Griffith

MAX Companion Air app

Taxi Cabs

Taxi numbers: (310) 821-1000 or (800) 666-6664 or (800) 200-1085

Restaurants near LACC

LAX airport

MAX online

MAX map

Parking information

Session catalogue

Event Guide


You can start checking in at the registration desk at MAX at 7am – 7pm on Sunday and starting at 7am on Monday as well.

Feel free to use my traveling check list

  • Pants
  • Shirts
  • “Party outfit”
  • Comfy shoes
  • Socks
  • Party shoes
  • Under things
  • Sleep-wear
  • Watch/Jewelry
  • Sweater
  • Jacket
  • Belt
  • Toothbrush/paste
  • Q-tips
  • Comb/Brush
  • Make Up
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • Phone cord
  • Laptop
  • Laptop cords
  • Make sure all your software works/installed
  • Batteries/Charger
  • Camera/case
  • Plastic bag (for dirty clothes)
  • Book to read
  • Aspirin
  • Wallet/Money/ID/etc
  • Business Cards