Navigating Adobe MAX as an Attendee
“Would you like to go to Adobe Max Conference 2018?” I was elated at the thought of going to the largest creative conference in the world when I was asked if I’d like to go! Adobe has been a part of my life for many years now, starting with those early days when I‘d gaze at the endless variety of tools that Adobe offered (and my unsuccessful attempts at using layers), to today when I am using Adobe apps on a daily basis in my work. Honestly, if Photoshop wasn’t available through hacks 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be a designer today!
To give you some background, I never imagined coming to the USA, let alone attending something like Adobe MAX. When I mentioned to my peers that I was attending Adobe MAX, I didn’t realize that Adobe has a conference geared toward its community of users that was also so well-renowned amongst the design community. I was astounded at the level of expertise at which artists and designers used Adobe tools to showcase work. For me, some very obvious thoughts at what the conference might offer was a bunch of lectures, some talented designers I could meet, and a chance to visit the West Coast. I learned a few things through this entire journey and here are my takeaways.
This Conference is MASSIVE
Adobe MAX is the largest and most remarkable conference I have ever attended with thousands of designers, photographers, artists, illustrators, and an impressive lineup of speakers from all across the world, coming together. MAX is without a doubt a large promotion of everything Adobe but not without offering every visitor a fabulous experience as you get exposed to this creative community. This conference is what you make of it, whether that means networking, attending sessions and workshops, or simply taking in the latest and greatest that Adobe has to offer.
It’s no surprise that a conference of this scale will have a lot of speakers and famous designers talking at the event. With this in mind, I can’t stress enough why it’s important to go through the schedule as early as possible to register for talks, sessions and workshops you really want to attend. The schedule is available to be viewed on the website, so you can start registering for sessions the moment you purchase your ticket. . This assures that you will get to meet like-minded individuals and maybe even snap a picture with your favorite artist!
The selection can depend on what you enjoy and find directly applicable to your work, but I would also recommend going to some talks you are unfamiliar with. I attended Augmented Reality and Machine Learning, which I would not usually be drawn to, but I found it to be very insightful and interesting.
If it so happens that you can’t secure your spot ahead of time, then drop by any location and see if you can squeeze in. Take a chance, it might be worth it.
There are thousands of professionals attending this conference and plenty of opportunities as you eat your meals, stand in queues, attend sessions and hang out in the social spaces, to meet people from all walks of life. If you are anything like me (slightly introverted) then you should start by practicing striking conversations with colleagues you don’t know or attend local meetups. Try to find opportunities to break the ice and start simple conversations like ‘What brings you here?’ and ‘How did you find the conference so far?’
I do feel that Adobe could have better facilitated networking through small group competitions, meetups, or recommendations based on any common interests by use of the networking app. Actively going out and finding who you most align with from such a large crowd can be extremely difficult but this shouldn’t stop you from striking up a few conversations.
MAX Sneaks and MAX Bash
These two events were the highlights of Adobe MAX for me. MAX Sneaks is an opportunity for Adobe product teams to showcase their passion projects with a ‘sneak peek’ at their latest innovations. It was the most entertaining event with so many enthusiastic individuals from Adobe coming forward to share their work. The crowd was absolutely stunned giving a big round of applause to all the presenters.
The MAX Bash is the much anticipated party hosted by Adobe, leaving no stone unturned. The spectacular arrangement glowed with beautiful neon and colorful decor complete with food and drink, fun games and some fabulous installations. I was in awe of just how perfect and entertaining it was. Don’t miss it for any reason!
Finally, the City and the Culture
Last but not the least, being located in downtown Los Angeles made it convenient to explore the city’s great culture and food. If you’re only here for the three days of the conference, I’d recommend trying to squeeze in some time in the evening for exploration. It’s quite tiring running from session to session but in the limited time available, you should go and check out places around like the famous LA Grand Central Market. The market has a variety of cuisines and cultures under one roof, complete with live music! Just walking around the LA Convention Center will bring you to pretty plazas and pockets with food joints, graffiti, six lane roads and avenues with palm trees. Explore the neighborhood and enjoy the weather.
The Big Question : Is it Worth it?
I’m very thankful to the DICE Group for the opportunity to attend Adobe MAX 2018. It would have never occurred to me to seek this out for myself and it’s an experience that will give you every penny’s worth. If you’re a big Adobe fan and even if you’re not, you will still have an absolutely memorable time. I’m glad it was my first conference experience in the USA. Although, there is always a ‘fear of missing out’ that one session or workshop, it’s guaranteed to leave an impression! This makes it even more important to plan your time and customize a schedule that best suits you. Every person attending Adobe Max has a unique experience and you should try to get the most of this opportunity.
The best thing about MAX is experiencing a spirited, awe-inspiring, creative spectacle that will remain in your thoughts long after it’s over. Makes it all worth it!
Sarika Joglekar is a Digital Experience Designer at Jefferson. As an ardent proponent of technology for social good & a deep interest in social innovation, she loves to design intuitive & visually engaging, user-centric experiences. Armed with a background in user experience, interaction design, architecture and graphic design, she feels excited to dive into the field of healthcare with these skills. Having recently graduated from Thomas Jefferson University’s User Experience and Interaction Design program, she is very motivated to learn from for innovation within healthcare and stay curious.
Her thesis project on using social media for good and improving lives of underprivileged communities, reinforced her passion to work for making a difference. Sarika truly feels that technology should be used for good, so a design must embody human values.