Here are a few scraps of evidence that i collected at the day-long promotional event that i use to draw a profound conclusion.
So Adobe crams a bunch of dev geeks on a bus and ships them off on a nationwide tour to shill their new product.
It’s a bus. i know this because they called the promotion the Adobe OnAIR Bus Tour. When i arrived at the event, people were taking pictues of the bus. The bus factored in a majority of the pictures and tech demos i saw at the event. It was mentioned in nearly every breath the presenters took.
So here’s what i don’t get: it’s a bus.
Adobe saves a few bucks on air fare for their overweight A-Team and decides to spin it by promoting the Hell out of the fact that the tour is on a bus. Forgive, but it’s not like you’re the Rolling Thunder Tour on a year-long concert crawl with Bob Dylan and Joan Friggin Baez penning songs for the ages and redefining the cultural zeitgeist. You’re handful of overweight nerds sleeping on a bus. The bus became this big shiny phallus that all of the presenters stroked onstage until it shot an enormous wad of 77 000 pictures onto the presentation screen which were, coincidentally, all taken inside the bus. The Escher-like qualities of this collossal wank boggle the mind.
The 77 000 pictures taken inside the bus.
In the final session of the extremely long day, well after everyone had run out of interesting things to say, Mike Chambers positively gushed over the fact that he mounted a camera inside the bus and, using an Adobe AIR app, uploaded a time-released shot EVERY MINUTE to Flickr. The result was a Flickr account with 77 000 pictures of a mobile sausage party, with such amazing highlights as:
– chubby technophiles lounging on benches
– two dudes playing Guitar Hero
– an empty bench, devoid of overweight dudes
– dudes checking their email on laptops
Then, for his presentation’s money shot, Chambers showcased a video where he – get this – PLAYED THE PHOTOS IN RAPID SUCCSSION to create the ILLUSION OF MOVEMENT. He began running SEVEN MINUTES of timelapse photography where, if you squinted kinda hard and clapped your hands to believe in fairies, you could swear it ALMOST ran at the same frame rate as an invention that we now call 30 FRAMES PER SECOND VIDEO. Mike was all “OMG, this is incredible! Look – when you put all these photos together, it looks like we’re really moving around the bus!”
It’s unclear to me why Adobe thinks that developers should take a day off work to endure this.
“LOOK! i duct taped the camera to the wall and it started to droop as it took the pictures but it looks kind of artistic when you play it back!”
His words. Seriously. Then he said, with his hands down his pants, that he’d love to run a contest where the winner had to find the best picture in the lot of 77 000. He went on to explain that the pictures totalled only 77 000 because he turned the camera off at night when the bus was dark “and the pictures were less interesting“.
Riding the bus makes you Jesus.
i’m pretty sure Jesus never even rode a bus, but you wouldn’t know it the way these guys carried on. Humility is not their strong suit. When i approached Grant Skinner just to introduce myself as a Fellow of the Flash, it was almost as though he was offended because i didn’t kiss his ring. Fair enough – he was checking his email. He’s an important man. Adobe’s not paying him to sit in a corner to answer questions and meet developers, following a presentation where the speaker announced that the AIR team members were going to sit in a corner to answer questions and meet developers. … ?
Then there was Kevin Hoyt, who looked like he had somewhere else to be when i started asking questions about signed code and installation trust with AIR. Sure, sure – i may have mistakenly called him “Mike” a few times, but you gotta take that kind of thing in stride when you’re clearly the Second Coming of the TechnoChrist. He just so happened to be talking to Grant Skinner when i approached him, and there was this barely perceptible moment where they exchanged “don’t bother with this guy” vibes through osmosis, or some kind of new AIR app they built that enables telepathy.
Here’s one more gripe for you:
Adobe Hires Nerds, Not Presenters
All of the awkwardness of the junior high graduation dance was on full display as the Adobe bus buddies took the stage to promote the product, making such amateurish presentation decisions as yelling “HOWZ EVERBUDDY DOIN THIS MURNIN!! YUH FEELIN GOOD???” at 9:15 AM, and when everyone gave the typical collective zombie moan response, “WHAT? Iiiii CAAaan’t HEEEEAR YOooooUUu!” like that pirate from the opening of Spongebob Squarepants.
On the subject of bikini bottoms, kudos to the presenter from Akamai, who despite being a very nebbish fellow, took time during his presentation to show a client video of a bikini contest. That’s what i call understanding your audience.
Grant Skinner, despite acting somewhat papal when i introduced myself to him, was the only presenter who threw out ideas about how to actually earn MONEY using AIR.
A succession of borderline mentally retarded presenters from various sponsor companies followed, each speaker poorer than the last, until the last guy came to the stage, sat on the mic, and yodelled his address to a presentation-weary crowd. Horribly bad.
The clear winner all day was Lee Brimelow, who was the only presenter to effectively use humour in his presentation. While the rest of the presenters stroked their nipples and talked about the bus all day long, Lee showed off a few useless but amusing AIR apps that showcased the platform’s features in exciting and unique ways.
i spoke to Lee afterward, and he was a class act. Humble to the bone, and pleasant in person, i found him eagerly answering attendees’ questions and smiling while he did it. Granted, Lee had just joined the tour and wasn’t spoiled by all of the rotten road fatigue and delusions of grandeur that plagued everyone else. But Lee is the best example of Adobe’s money well spent on an evangelist.
With a few stops left on the tour and the developer conference, Max, as the big finish, it will be interesting to see if an evangelist can convert a bus load of Jesuses.