Category Archives: Shit That Actually Matters

“No One Is Coming. It’s Up To Us.”

“Everyone sweeps the floor around here.”

As I’ve noted many times, that core ethos from Adobe’s founders has really stuck with me over the years. In a similar, if superficially darker, vein, I keep meditating on the phrase “No One Is Coming, It’s Up To Us,” which appears in a sticker I put on the back of my car:

It’s reeeeealy easy to sit around and complain that we don’t have enough XYZ support (design cycles, eng bodies, etc.), and it’s all true/fair—but F that ‘cause it doesn’t move the ball. I keep thinking of DMX, with regard to myself & other comfortable folks:

I put in work, and it’s all for the kids (uh)
But these cats done forgot what work is (uh-huh)

Some brief & bracing wisdom:

Happy Monday. Go get some.

Nack to the Future: I’m returning to Adobe!

Well everything dies, baby, that’s a fact.
But maybe everything that dies, someday comes back…

I’m thrilled to say that seven years after heading out to “Teach Google Photoshop,” I’m returning to where my PM journey started in the year 2000. As the old saying goes, “You can take the boy out of Adobe, but…” As I said in 2019:

…and as I’d type my brain would autocomplete “[Google] Photos” to “Photoshop.” It’s funny, too: my Google orientation took place in Adobe’s former HQ in Mountain View, where the Photoshop vets at Google say they’d written Photoshop for Unix. I didn’t need a DeLorean to feel a time warp—but Google brought one to the party anyway:

It was quite the interesting journey (partially summarized here), and as you’d expect, I have a lot of thoughts on the subject. I hope to share those soon—but today is all about looking forward.

Sooo… what will I be doing? I can’t say much yet as 1) I don’t want to speak out of turn, and 2) I won’t officially start for two weeks (“Twooo weeeeks…!!”)

I can say, though, that I’ve been really excited by what I’ve seen from Adobe in the last couple of years (see innumerable previous posts), especially around Neural Filters, and I love that they’re exploring what one might call “AI-first creation tools.”

Now, if you ask me precisely what that means, I’ll yell “No one knows what it means—but it’s provocative! Gets the people GOIN’!!” 🙃 But seriously, any of us had it all figured out, it’d be boring and they wouldn’t need me. I’m what Larry Page might call “uncomfortably excited” to commit to the journey—to messing around & finding out. I can’t wait to team up with friends new & old—including a couple of amazing researchers who’ve also returned from tours at Google.

So, please watch this space for more details. In the meantime I’m due to fly to Chicago to start an epic road trip down Route 66 with my son, driving my dad’s ancient Miata all the way to California. Stay tuned for what’ll be an almost punitive number of pics & vids. 😌

And with that—let the new adventures begin!

Google turns offices into vaccination sites, dedicates $150M to education & access

I love seeing people with the means—material, technical, organizational—to help fight the pandemic stepping up to do so. As one step:

To help with vaccination efforts, starting in the United States, we’ll make select Google facilities—such as buildings, parking lots and open spaces—available as needed. These sites will be open to anyone eligible for the vaccine based on state and local guidelines. We’ll start by partnering with health care provider One Medical and public health authorities to open sites in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area in California; Kirkland, Washington; and New York City, with plans to expand nationally. We’re working with local officials to determine when sites can open based on local vaccine availability. 

Google is also adding $150 million to previous commitments around education & access:

Our efforts will focus heavily on equitable access to vaccines. Early data in the U.S. shows that disproportionately affected populations, especially people of color and those in rural communities, aren’t getting access to the vaccine at the same rates as other groups. To help, has committed $5 million in grants to organizations addressing racial and geographic disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations, including Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute and the CDC Foundation.

Fight on. 💪

How Google is helping firefighters & communities battling blazes

I often say there’s “working at Google” and then there’s “WORKING AT GOOGLE.” I of course just “work at Google,” but folks like this are doing the latter. With so many Google & Adobe friends directly affected & evacuating, I love seeing smart folks putting their talents & resources to work like this:

Check out the Google blog for lots of interesting info on how all this actually works. It’s now showing up in specific new features:

Today we’re launching a new wildfire boundary map in Search and Maps SOS alerts in the U.S. to provide deeper insights for areas impacted by an ongoing wildfire. In moments like a growing wildfire, knowing exactly where a blaze is underway and how to avoid it is critical. Using satellite data to create a wildfire boundary map, people will now see the approximate size and location right on their phone or desktop. 

When people look for things like “wildfire in California” or a specific fire like “Kincade fire” in Search, they will be able to see a wildfire’s approximate boundary of the fire, name and location, as well as news articles and helpful resources from local emergency agencies in the SOS alert. 

On Google Maps, people will have access to the same details, including the fire boundary, and receive warnings if they’re approaching an active blaze. If someone is exploring an area near a wildfire on Google Maps, they’ll get an ambient alert that will point them to the latest information.

John Lewis’s final words, as read by Morgan Freeman

Might be the best five minutes you’ll spend today:

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

The essay’s text appears in the New York Times.

A few smart career tweets

I’m now thinking about this constantly:

This too:

And yeah, ¬”Satisfaction, but feeling of uselessness…”

Adobe previews tools for detecting object manipulation

Back in 2011, my longtime Photoshop boss Kevin Connor left Adobe & launched a startup (see NYT article) with Prof. Hany Farid to help news organizations, law enforcement, and others detect image manipulation. They were ahead of their time, and since then the problem of “fake news” has only gotten worse.

Now Adobe has teamed up with Twitter & others Content Authenticity Initiative, and last night they previewed Project About Face, meant to help spot manipulated pixels—and even maybe reverse the effects. Check it out: