Internal Culture Clash

Big mergers are the way of the IT industry. Small guys get bigger, and yet are swallowed by the larger fish. People make lots of money, and drive their Ferraris around the twin coasts of the US. Then it goes around again.

Mergers of two companies, such as Macromedia and Adobe, from the outside seem a “joining of likes”. A marriage made in heaven. The perception that the companies were very alike is external only.  I doubt since the acquisition that Adobe executives sleep better at night.

We are seeing the internal cultural difference exposed externally: the smart auntie Adobe of Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator’s fame and friendly attitude being smashed by the boys-club, leather booted Macromedia cowboys.

This is probably one major reason why I am no longer at Adobe. Forgetting who your customers are has to be the first big strategy of big companies aiming to be smaller. As a customer of Adobe, and with many friends who still work there – I would be saddened to see this strategy working. [edit: I would be, not am]

I am at Microsoft as they recognise that forgetting your customer is a sin that must never be committed.

So, as an Adobe user (daily), shareholder: tone it down, talk to customers and don’t forget customer base.

Nick standing outside Adobe Systems, San Jose.  April 2002