So I’m reading a review of the new features of Photoshop CC over on Mashable.com, and of course it takes all of three seconds for it to turn nasty, where a commenter accuses the reviewer of getting paid by Adobe to write a favorable review, because after all, if it is a favorable review of something he doesn’t like, the reviewer is obviously “on the take.” He wrote:
“#letsbereal — How many free months of Photoshop CC did Adobe offer for writing this…”
Essentially, he’s saying ‘You said something I disagree with, so you must be getting paid.’ If you say anything positive about the Creative Cloud, like this reviewer did, you get attacked (The funny thing was that the reviewer mentioned how he didn’t like the rental model, yet he was still attacked for liking the new Photoshop features and not siding with the angry mob).
I know this all too well.
When Adobe announced their new subscription plan, the day after I wrote a post here simply addressing some of the misconceptions I had been seeing out there. I did a Q&A where I addressed everything from the misconception that you ran these programs inside a Web Browser to the misconception that you have to be connected to the Internet every day to run Photoshop. I was trying to help, since I knew a lot of the answers. Huge mistake.
There are 662 comments on that post. About 656 of them are direct personal attacks on me, many saying, essentially “I said something you disagree with, so I must be getting paid.” The other six were probably spam. I have literally had people emailing me, and coming up to me in person while I’m out on the road with my tour apologizing for the unwarranted public flogging I took. But that’s where we are today. If any one reviews a product of any kind, and you don’t agree with the reviewer for whatever reason, the reviewer must be getting paid because your opinion on this is so obviously correct to everyone, that only a person getting paid by the company could see it any other way than you see it.
Nobody read where I said, flat-out, at this point I wouldn’t recommend the Creative Cloud to photographers. Nobody seemed to acknowledge that I wrote in-depth about having direct discussions with Adobe about my concerns and the concerns of the 70,000 NAPP members I represent. In fact, I wrote “I've given my opinion [to Adobe] to the point that I can't believe they would actually continue to take my calls.” Yet still, I read again and again how my post was “crafted or written by Adobe’s PR dept.” Geesh.
It’s not just Adobe
This isn’t my first public trashing. I’ve had it nearly as bad once before, when I did a post where I said I was going to buy an iPhone. I didn’t review the iPhone. I didn’t tell other people to buy an iPhone. I just said I thought it looked cool and it had the features I wanted, so I was going to get one. I read comment after comment asking how much Apple had paid me to say I wanted an iPhone, because after all anyone that wants a phone different than that they want is obviously being paid off.
It’s Getting Better Now, But….
Well, last week the Creative Cloud products were released to subscribers, and while I was hesitant to even mention it (which is just sad that it’s come to that), I did post on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ that it had been released and I mentioned that my favorite CC feature was the ability to apply Camera Raw as a filter. It’s one I’ve been waiting years for. I’ve begged everyone at Adobe I know, and it’s finally here, and I love it even more than I thought because it’s faster than I thought it would ever be. But I made the mistake of mentioning it. Cue the haters.
For example, I read this comment:
“I’m going to ignore anybody promoting Photoshop CC, Scott – just cannot afford it, so stop teasing us poor people. Will have to be stuck with CS6 for the rest of my life ;-)”
If you have CS3, CS4, CS5 or CS6, a Photoshop CC subscription is $10 per month for the first year. Two cups of coffee. That’s it. If you can’t swing $10 per month, perhaps Photoshop shouldn’t be your biggest concern, but this is just typical of what I’m reading — not just on my posts, but anywhere somebody posts anything positive about the Creative Cloud.
By the way, the old deal was this: Photoshop is $700. Take it or leave it. Now, anyone can subscribe to Photoshop for $20 a month. I think that’s progress (unless you fear the idea of people who don’t “deserve” to use Photoshop will now actually be able to afford it and become your competitors).
The Entitlement Factor
Another thing I read a lot, still, is from people who skip upgrades complaining that Adobe is being unfair to those “loyal customers.” In fact, in that Mashable article, I read an argument from a guy who skips three releases before he upgrades. I’ve got news for you. You’re not an Adobe customer. Let’s test this theory.
Go to Best Buy, ask for the store manager, and complain about how much the new 4K TVs cost and let him know that he’s being unfair to you, his “loyal Best Buy Customer.” Here’s how that might go:
You: My name is Bob Johnson, and I’m one of your customers.
Best Buy Manager: OK Bob, let me pull up your records here. Hmmmm. I don’t see any purchases in 2013. Did you buy anything from us this year? No? Let’s check 2012. Hmmm. Nothing there either, Bob. How about we check 2011. Gees I’m checking there and I don’t see any purchases from you in 2011 at all. Let’s go back to 2010. Oh, OK, wait….here it is. You bought something from us back in April of 2010.
Me: Guess what Bob? You were a Best Buy customer. Yup, back in April of 2010. But Best Buy doesn’t consider you a customer any more. Now, I’m sure the Best Buy manager would like to have you back as a customer again in 2013, but buying something back in 2010 doesn’t keep you as a customer entitled to gripe about…well…anything. Customers are people who buy a company’s products on a regular basis. By the way, if you’re still using Photoshop CS5, it came out in April of 2010. Just so you know.
So when I read people whining about how they’re entitled to upgrades and entitled to this and that, I just shake my head in amazement. Maybe I should go to Exxon and complain how I’m somehow entitled to $2.85 a gallon gas because that was the average price of gas back in April of 2010. By the way, that was probably the last time I bought gas at an Exxon station. I wonder if they still consider me their customer?
I know you’re waiting for an Open Letter to Adobe from me
I still get letters each week from outraged people asking why I haven’t risen up to be the “voice of the people” like I did back in November 2011 when I wrote an “Open Letter to Adobe” here on the blog about a policy Adobe had announced (but totally flew under the radar) which had to do with the cut-off date for when users of CS3 and CS4 would be eligible to upgrade to the Creative Cloud. I didn’t know about it until I read it on an Adobe blog, and I called Adobe out on it, asking them to consider giving those users more time, and thankfully Adobe reconsidered their policy and moved the date until the end of the following year. Very fair I thought, but it was your comments that changed Adobe’s mind, not my letter.
So, where’s my letter this time? When I wrote that letter, it was asking for something very simple â” move the cutoff date. This is a totally different situation. This is a multi-billion dollar software company, the 6th largest software company in the world, re-inventing the way they do business forever. The software industry is changing faster than ever, and the development, engineering, costs, delivery and methodology of how software is created today is in a state of rapid evolution.
This new plan isn’t something Adobe decided on a whim â” this is the biggest change in the history of Adobe, and one that I’m sure has been considered from every possible angle. I’m certain an open letter from me would be accepted as warmly as I would greet Adobe telling me how much I need to charge for my products. There is a line, and me telling Adobe what to charge for their products, is clearly over it. The public is responsible for telling any company what “the right price” is for their products, and the market always determines what that price will be, which is why you see sales, rebates, deals, and price changes on everything from cars to cameras.
You can’t name a concern you have that I didn’t voice to Adobe before their official announcement. I didn’t just write a letter. I sat in front of them, face-to-face, carrying your message forward but there are some things that I just flat-out have no control over, and no right to interfere with, but yet…they are listening.
Look, Adobe is listening
How could they not be? They read every article. They read every forum comment. I’ve forwarded every single email I’ve been sent directly to the executives at Adobe because I want them to hear from the people I represent.
Yet, haters are still waiting for someone, anyone, to mention the Creative Cloud so they can say the same things over and over again that they’ve been saying since the subscription-only plan was announced. Believe me, Adobe’s heard it. They’ve read it. Adobe realizes all the concerns around pricing for photographers and about the whole file access/editing thing if you ever leave Creative Cloud. This subscription-only plan is still new, and like any plan, it can be tweaked, improved, and modified (but it's not going to be reversed), so hopefully now we can take a deep breath and start looking using the new features we've been waiting for.
By the way, posting the same exact thing on every forum you can find and publicly knocking anyone that disagrees with you doesn’t help your cause. It actually makes you seem like a troll or spammer. When you see 300 negative comments but then realize 150 of those are by the same few people making the same point again and again, makes Adobe or anyone else realize “this isn’t as bad as it looks.”
When I did write an Open Letter back in November of 2011, Adobe did respond but it was two months later. Big multi-billion dollar companies are like aircraft carriers — they’re not speed boats — it takes them a while to turn. Give them a chance to digest all the feedback; consider their options, and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Haters — prepare for a shock
One thing that drives me kind of crazy about the haters is that they feel that everyone out there feels exactly the same way they do. They feel like everyone hates this new plan, it’s universally bad for everyone, and Adobe will soon be in huge trouble financially for it. They completely ignore the fact that there were 500,000 Creative Cloud subscribers already in the program before Adobe announced the Subscription-only deal. These are people who felt it was a better deal for them, and for their business, to sign up for the subscription plan than it was to continue the old plan. Well haters, your day is about to get worse, because this news kind of flew under the radar but Adobe just announced that in just a few weeks, more than 221,000 more people jumped on the Creative Cloud subscription plan (That’s 221,000+ in one quarter alone and that was BEFORE the new CC Apps were available for download).
They now have over 721,000 subscribers, and it’s growing at an incredible pace. The fact is, there are a great many people who feel the Creative Cloud subscription plan is perfect for them, for their needs, and there are a ton of new Adobe customers who could never even dream of using Photoshop that are now becoming Photoshop users. That is cool!
I still feel the same
I still feel that the deal isn’t there for photographers yet. But I talk to Adobe all the time, and I know they are considering lots of options and possibilities and I know one day, hopefully sooner than later, I’ll be able to say “Hey, photographers, now it makes sense.” It’s just not yet. No one will ever acknowledge that I wrote that.
But the tide is starting to turn
A few weeks ago, it was all negative. I just went through the Mashable list of comments (there were plenty), and son-of-a gun the tide is changing. 721,000+ people are already on the Creative Cloud. By the end of the year, it’ll probably be over a million. There are people out there totally digging it, and they’re starting to stand up for it, and let people know what it’s really about and that it can be really great. They’re going to the forums and writing positive things, despite the trolls and haters, even though they will be accused of “Getting paid by Adobe.” Just like I was.
So what am I going to do?
I’m going to move forward with what I’m supposed to be doing — teaching people how to use Photoshop and Lightroom, and by gosh that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m tried of arguing about it — I want to get back to using it. I’m going to go back to reporting what’s going on with Photoshop CC; I’m going to talk about the new features, and I’m going help people along their path and I’m going to continue to voice your legitimate concerns to Adobe.
I’m going to ignore the haters, the trolls, and just move on about my business of teaching, evangelizing, and enjoying the coolest software product ever. If you’re coming with me for the ride, I welcome you along with open arms. If this is the end of our journey together, no worries — I understand, and maybe we’ll meet again one day. :-)
Cheers everybody and thanks for letting me get all this off my chest. Now, I just can’t wait for Apple to release that iPhone 5s. ;-)
All my best,