People often ask
…what was it like being part of a start-up that was acquired, by a large corporate company?
I came to Typekit in January of 2011 after working with schools, galleries, restaurants, and bloggers. I hadn’t worked on any corporate or product teams. I doubt I would’ve used the word “career” to talk about my work experience till that point. Even at Typekit, the start-up, I was the office manager, existing mostly as ancillary support to the core team. However, Typekit was not where my career started but where it was actualized.
In October 2011, I heard we were being acquired by Adobe. The news was exciting and thrilling to me. I was one of the first on our team to know, which meant I had to keep quiet longer. Since I had an administrative role, i was needed to assist with the paperwork. During this process, my anticipation for sharing the big news with friends and family grew. The Adobe brand was one most people knew of. Not many people outside of the tech or design world knew of Typekit. I enjoyed thinking about how I could now introduce myself to people and not receive puzzled looks in return. I now had a career job to tell people about. (I was now an adult!)
After everyone knew of our acquisition, we began the process of on-boarding to Adobe. This was daunting and had the feeling of being under big brother. We had all sorts of new systems to adopt and software to use. Formal procedures replaced all of our casual ones. And then we had to move from our stylish Mission office to Adobe’s corporate one in SOMA.
Days at work became challenging, as we adopted a new way of doing business. Our leadership teams’ calendars were packed with invites from internal staff wanting to meet and collaborate. The rest of our team had to learn how to navigate inside of a huge multi-teamed company. Largely, we focused on how to still be Typekit, maintaining our team culture and customer engagement practices, while adopting Adobe’s ways. We worked hard to strike a balance and use the best of both worlds.
We were able to do it and working inside of Adobe as Typekit became commonplace. The challenges of working within a large company shifted to understandable and approachable day-to-day work. We established allies with other teams and internal leaders, who ensured the realization of Typekit’s goals. We learned how to create a roadmap for Typekit that simultaneously improved our product offering, while adding value to the broader collection of tools provided by Adobe’s Creative Cloud. We got over the hump and returned to a normalized workflow that wasn’t constantly being thrown off course by the need to learn new internal practices.
Today, five years later, I am no longer on the Typekit team at Adobe. I moved over to the Creative Cloud community team and am heading up a program that is one and a half years old. I learned so much during the Typekit acquisition period that will serve me for all work I do in the future. Thanks Typekit!