On May 1st and 2nd, 99U (a blog, community and conference started by Behance to support the creative professional community) had their 6th annual Conference — a sort of Adobe and Behance TED Talks if you will. As I walked into the Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center with great optimism and excitement, I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, there was an entire world of creatives who were business minded, young, inspiring and inspired, and ambitious that I have neither tapped into or even known about. Maybe I’ll find a community I will fit in? Maybe there’s a community that understands photography and video but thinks much bigger than what the existing photo community presently offers?
I explored alone, as I was the only one from Resource there and out of my element of the usual photography event/conference where we know everyone, their moms and their kids’ birthdays. At first, I thought I was surrounded by hipsters–because I was–but I warmed up to getting to know a stranger here and there and realized that hipsters might not be so bad. Plus they really were not ALL hipsters. The speakers were inspiring, some more than others, but generally a well curated bunch. I personally got a few “takeaways” myself. Amongst my favorites were:
– Tina Roth Eisenberg, aka SwissMiss and owner of Tattly, Creative Mornings and our neighbor here in DUMBO, may be one of the most enthusiastic and happy entrepreneurs I’ve ever met. She seems to really love wearing red, and claims that if she were a superhero, she would be a rather hot superhero in a skin tight suit marked with the letter E for Enthusiasm. Very appropriate!
– Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance, presented my master class; and despite my strong belief in the efficiency techniques of Tim Ferriss’ 4-hour Workweek, I found that Scott added a ton of great insights and strategies, especially targeted for creatives (I plowed through the 99U Book Manage Your Day-to-Day and I am already half way through Scott’s book Making Ideas Happen both purchased on Friday at the conference),
– Aaron Dignan (owner of Undercurrent) was a really captivating speaker who was quick, intelligent and appealing to watch,
– To satisfy the photo world, photographer Shantanu Starick brought the old concept of trade/ barter back into the mind frame of today’s money-hungry photography industry by introducing his 23 month long journey of surviving off his photography for trade only.
On the last day of the conference I had a chance to sit down with David Wadhwani, Adobe’s SVP and GM of the Digital Media Business Unit, and Scott Belsky, co-founder of Behance. As you can imagine, I had tons of questions about the future of the Behance and Adobe relationship, and about their recent and unexpected hardware products- Mighty and Napoleon.
Facts about Adobe and Behance –
1. There are currently 1.8 million Creative Cloud customers and Adobe anticipates to grow to 3 million paid members before the end of the year.
2. As Behance’s original mission was to organize the creative world, the new Creative Cloud/ Behance cooperation will allow for a smoother workflow and includes CREATE>WORK>PUSH (as in, “somewhere to show”), while Creative cloud connects and makes the creative process simple.
3. Creative Cloud was created on the basis that 2/3rds of its users were not creative professionals and couldn’t commit to spending the original prices of the Adobe softwares. Creative Cloud now gives access to all programs and grants non-professionals greater access to more programs. It also caters to the growing use of mixed mediums by creative professionals.
4. On the future of 99U Conference, Scott hopes that it will grow into the center of how creatives work. With much focus on productivity and organization, I believe it’s well on its way to becoming the grandevision that Scott seems to be cooking up in his head.
5. Some of you may have heard the buzz starting about the first hardware products created by Adobe called Mighty and Napoleon– a stylus (with a real tip-pressure sensitive–the first of its kind, ladies and gentleman, and the first step into a truly mobile workflow) and a ruler to allow for straight lines and perfect shapes (an essential tool for creatives working in the architectural and design areas). I had a chance to try these out at the Behance offices and I have to say, it’s a game changer. The little that I can speak about is all available HERE but my first impressions are that the applications for these tools are enormous and will grow beyond their initial software offerings.
6. Fun fact: Napoleon got its name because it’s a short ruler!
7. After being acquired by Adobe, 100% of the Behance team is still intact. Behance currently has approx 250K individuals who have published work specifically designated as photography.
8. If you attended the 99U Conference, and Scott Belsky’s Master Class specifically, you would be familiar with the classification between a “Dreamer” (someone who comes up with ideas, solutions and can make things happen no matter the constraints), a “Doer” (also known as a Debby Downer because of their focus on deadlines, budgets, etc), and an “Incrementalist” (someone who can be creative and a dreamer but turn around a get things done, then repeat, and who also risks starting lots of new things but leaving things unfinished). I asked Scott which of these he considered himself and he said, “Incrementalist”.
9. Scott explained that, due to being an Incrementalist, there have been many projects killed in Behance, one of them being a task list that never saw the light of day.
10. David Wadhwani recalled that while in the negotiation stage of acquiring Behance Scott said, “I’m not a serial entrepreneur, this is my life’s work.”
I think that all of you Behance users you are in good hands with Scott Belsky. He may not be a serial entrepreneur but a loyal one. I suspect that there will be a lot of integration with Adobe and Creative Cloud in the future, but this could only be a good thing for everyone out there, as it will help workflow, mobility and hopefully give us at some point complete creative freedom.