Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face

Apparently, that is an often used boxing maxim that I thought fitting for the tittle of this blog.

After 5 and a half years, Jan 31st 2009 was officially my last day with Adobe and reason enough for us to have cracked open a bottle of Bollinger's 1997 La Grande Annee.

Back in December 2008, Adobe announced the implementation of a restructuring program, reducing its headcount by approximately 600 full-time positions globally (see press release for details) - approximately 8% of it's workforce and myself included.

In Asia Pacific they decided to apply the Pareto principle and focus on the part of the business that generates 80% of the revenue - Creative Suite. I'm in two minds as to whether that simple approach works out as well in the long term. Having a portfolio of profitable products in different markets is a great risk management strategy - when one market/product is down, others can carry it through and vice versa. Divesting from one product line to focus on the product line that is suffering the most from the current decline seems to me, curiously counter-productive - especially when the market you are divesting from is relationship oriented.

Seth Godin sums up this tactic of persistence on his blog nicely. Interestingly, it is in times like this that the big shifts in market share occur - companies that exit prematurely lose out whilst those that (cost effectively) invest, thrive and gain market share.

Sadly, this decision means less investment in the area I was focused on - the Enterprise business.

I definitely get to leave on a high note: my results for our FY08 of 299% Y/Y growth for the product line in Asia Pacific are quite decent.

Interestingly, as I go through all my files, strategy documents and customer presentations, I do feel I had a positive and reasonably significant impact on Adobe. I was reviewing a global industry solution presentation and 2 of the 3 customer success stories were ones I'd delivered. The last deal I worked to close was the largest enterprise license deal ever done in Asia Pacific. I feel pretty proud about that.

I wish Adobe all the best in it's future - I think it will be a reasonably bright one given the technology they have and continue to produce. I do hope they figure out how to be good cloud computing players as it seems to be alluding them so far (with the one exception of Connect Pro - a much more elegant solution than WebEx or Microsoft NetMeeting). They are showing some promising signs with Cocomo but best to wait for the results rather than believe the PowerPoint's. :-)

What is next for me? I'm not 100% sure at the time of drafting this blog entry... I think I'll stick to software and I'd like to focus on cloud computing and/or leverage my knowledge of enterprise customers, software vendors and system integration organisations.

Despite the small inconvenience of timing and finding the right career advancing role during the GFC (I'm having flashbacks to timing is everything), I'm optimistic that this is a great opportunity to find my next challenge and move to the next level in my career.

The important thing to do is to be optimistic and stay focused on getting back into the game - two topics I'll elaborate on in blogs over the coming days.

Perhaps I should be rereading Who Moved My Cheese? Or perhaps I should be asking for a personal bailout from US Congress? :-)

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posted by Lee Gale @ 1:00 AM,

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