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Adobe MAX speaker expenses – still no joy

I just realised that I kinda left this thread hanging – the truth is I’m bored with this fight! (And the discrepancies with european prices too).

I tried but failed to figure out whether their “free gift” for speakers would be something I may actually want (thus making up for the flights), but apparently that would ruin the surprise! More likely they haven’t worked out what it’ll be yet.

But I’m unwilling to take the free gift gamble and politely declined. Sadly, I will not be speaking at MAX this time.

And even more controversially, it seems that Adobe are in fact paying for at least one speaker’s flights for MAX this year, despite what they insisted all along.

As Ted said, there are indeed a lot of good people at Adobe. But unfortunately, they’re not the ones making these false economies. So to whoever you are – covering speaker expenses will make MAX better. And then (for once) I would LOVE to be positive about it.

10 replies on “Adobe MAX speaker expenses – still no joy”

Hi Phillip, yes I know I’m sorry, but surely life’s too short to try to help a poor little multi-billion dollar corporation to help itself out? LOL

Just to be clear, there’s at least one non-adobe employee having their expenses paid. But you’re right, in fact I’m sure that the whole reason that MAX is so “unprofitable” is that they have to fly all of their employees to the conference! (not just the speakers).

And yes I’m tired of this fight. I’m not in a hurry to go to MAX, and reports from my friends have been lacklustre about it as a conference. Maybe next year!

Maybe if I buy a copy of CS4, they can make up the cost of your flight with the 200% profit they’re making on the US prices 😉

I don’t blame you for not wanting to take the gamble…

LOL Stu, yeah good point, actually people have pointed out that it’s actually the same price to fly to New York, buy CS4 there, and then fly home again! But don’t get me started on that one again… 😉

I understand all (even non-Adobe employees) are getting their hotel paid for-just not anything else including airfare. Anyway, I disagree that it’s not a good conference. In fact, if it sucked I’d just not go and probably not even complain about this issue. But the reason I’m invested is that I think it’s a great conference. Sometimes contradicts the expectation… but it is good.

Sorry Bro, I think you are off base with this one. Max is a community conference and being asked to speak at Max is a community honour. I gladly pay for my own travel/expenses to attend the various conferences I am invited to speak at.

Some conferences offer a free hotel, which I am grateful for, some do not. Regardless, I appreciate the privilege of being invited to share my knowledge with my peers.

I put in my talk for Max:Milan a little too late this year. Were it to have been accepted, I would happily be paying for flights across the Atlantic.

From where I sit, this continual ‘fight’ about having 100% of speaker expenses taken care of by Adobe is a little petty. If you are the sort of person who likes to share their knowledge and to present to your peers on topics of interest, then the expenses aren’t such a big deal.

You are welcome to your opinion, of course.

Dan Wilson

Paying for speaker travel expenses is really costly for any conference, and for the number of speakers that show up to Max, it would be a huge additional cost that would ultimately get passed on to the attendees. Max, while not “non-profit”, is not done for the income, Adobe puts it on for their community. The profit, if any, that they get from it is small.

I think that while conferences should comp hotel rooms and meals for speakers (it’s only fair), not paying their travel expenses ensures that the speakers have some skin in the game so to say, and results in higher quality speakers and content. Otherwise it’s basically offering a free trip to (insert destination here) for anyone with a topic abstract that sounds interesting!

At a lot of these conferences, speakers speak to get free tickets to the event, which, if you’re interested in sessions, is a big plus and for some it’s enough incentive to get them to pay their own way. If you’re not at all interested in attending, then I totally understand the decision not to speak.

I think it’s obvious I (respectfully) disagree. But I believe that 0% of the speakers speaking were selected based on the proposal process. I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure my figure is right or extremely close.

Personally, I have a range of rules I apply to whether I accept a speaking gig. It’s not the same for every conference. Though, honestly, the reason I’d be wary of speaking at MAX (and, I wasn’t asked this year) is that the speakers have to give their session up to 5 times! The last time I was asked to speak I got in trouble because I ended one of my 90minute workshops early in order for everyone (including myself) to attend the “sneak peeks”.

To call MAX a “community” event might be overlooking the fact it’s completely controlled by a large corporation.

I wonder who the speaker being paid for is? I have an idea but who knows. I agree with (and said last time) Rachel, covering expense is hard, on a MAX scale I can’t even fathom. I do think Adobe could more than make up for not covering… CS4 for every speaker? That’s a soft cost, so easier to do. Plenty of things (I feel) can make up for it. Like not making speakers speak on a topic of Adobe’s choosing or sanitization.

I’ll be at MAX, I’ve been to many, but calling it a community event, is a bit of a stretch, sorta like calling Los Angeles a bedroom community. 5k people in one place, does not a community make, IMO of course.


@Dan Wilson Thanks for your frankness Dan, I honestly appreciate knowing how you and others feel.

I do hope that I contribute to the community, I certainly try to. I put in a hell of a lot of time into the Flash community, I run the local user group FlashBrighton with weekly meetings and the free events such as the Big Day Out and Flash Film nights.

I also speak (and pay my own way for) other user groups, universities and colleges, and genuine community conferences. I don’t really see MAX as a community event because it’s expensive and it is (to a greater or lesser extent) promoting Adobe software. And I don’t know which conferences you speak at that don’t cover your expenses but every other conference I have spoken at has covered mine. As any “professional” conference should.

I actually do love sharing my knowledge and experience and I love teaching and presenting my work. I hope that comes across here on my blog, although I appreciate that I haven’t offered anything that useful for a while, mostly because I’m working so hard on a big project for the BBC. Although a big part of that work is Papervision3D development which will be integrated back into the library for the community to use.

And I am flattered that I was asked to speak, I just don’t think I should pay for the privilege that’s all. If you are prepared to pay for the privilege then that’s fine by me.

As for being petty? That’s what anyone who is standing up for their principles looks like to people who disagree with the principles in question. 🙂

@Rachel Lehman That’s an interesting argument, and like Phillip, I also respectfully disagree :-).

Isn’t that the wrong way around? Surely you should be choosing the best speakers on their merit, not just taking ones who are willing to pay for the privilege? Call me a premadonna but I thought it was a little insulting that Adobe offered a “free conference pass” as one of the speaker benefits. Anyone who’s ever spoken at a conference knows that it’s a very different experience attending a conference as a speaker compared with being a delegate. Especially if (as Phillip says) you have to present 5 times!

And I personally don’t know any high profile speakers that speak only to get access to the conferences.

@John Wilker I have a feeling that they may be giving CS4 to every speaker. But there we go. Let’s wait and see. But in the past the speaker free gifts have been a little stingier 🙂

For now, I’m going to put this one behind me. You all know where I stand. Lots of you agree with me (thank you) and some of you disagree (thank you also 🙂 ). In the meantime I’m going to try to stop worrying about it and get on with writing blog posts that hopefully will be of some actual use to you all!

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