Apr 8 2013

Bye, Bye Adobe – Hello Aquacue

I waited a while with this post, because … I don’t know why. December 31st marked my last day at Adobe and January 15th was my first official day at Aquacue. It’s time to jot down some details before I forget them.

In late 1993 I received a call from a German headhunter. She told me that there was an interesting position at the European headquarters of an American company. She could not provide a lot of details and suggested that I should just for an interview. At that time I still worked for Siemens in Munich through another consulting company. Things were slowing down there and rumor had it that Siemens wanted to cut down on all those “expensive” consultants. The time was right to make a move and I decided to go for an interview at the German subsidiary of Adobe Systems Inc.

I remember the interview vividly: then head of European operations, Micha Moses, interviewed me to the point where I was convinced that I did not stand a chance for the job. I recall getting out of the room half an hour later and telling myself: “What the f*ck was that?”

Needless to say I was even more surprised when the headhunter called me again and told me that I was invited for a 2nd round of interviews in Amsterdam, because I made a good impression during the first interview. I knocked out quite a number of other candidates and got the job. Early 1994 I took a one-way trip from Munich to Amsterdam.

For the next 3 years I would live in an amazing apartment on Brouwsers Gracht in Amsterdam (if it wasn’t for the stairs) and work at Adobe’s headquarters south of town. The years were filled with Postscript training classes, helping European printer manufacturers to implement Postscript on their devices and working on the Postscript codebase in general. I don’t know how much I traveled, but it was a lot. Almost every week I was on the road to one or another European city. I most cherish the time I spent in Barcelona working with Hewlett-Packard. I helped them with their Postscript implementations while they helped me to understand Barcelona’s night life (remind me about the time I met some of the HP workers for dinner at midnight).

In 1997 I arrived at a point where I could not see myself advancing in the flat organization of Adobe Europe. I told my manager that I needed something “more” and that Adobe Europe could not provide it. He agreed and allowed me to start looking for a new job. It took a few hours before I received a call from Adobe’s HQ and was asked whether I would be willing to relocate to the US and work for the company there. I thought about the offer for a while (well, hours) and accepted it.

Early 1997 I took another one-way trip, this time from Amsterdam to San Jose. I still remember Amsterdam disappearing below the clouds as we departed from Schiphol Airport, sipping a glass of Champagne (thank you, Royal Wings, for the complimentary First Class upgrade).

For another 4 years I would work on Postscript and create Adobe’s first pay-for online service (https://www.acrobat.com/createpdf/en/home.html). In 2001 I had enough of the Bay Area and decided that I needed a more quiet, open environment. I told my manager that I would move to Santa Fe, NM no matter what. Adobe was willing to give tele-commuting a trial and I was allowed to work from my home here.

Things seemed to work out and I was granted permission to work permanently from my home(s) in the desert. For 10 years I worked in a number of different roles on Adobe’s online offerings. All I needed was a fast, reliable Internet connection to do my work (“reliable” is still hard to come by, even in 2013, as far as NM is concerned).

Over the past few years I came to the conclusion that my time at Adobe was coming to an end. I was doing the same stuff over and over again under different code-names. I started to get bored and I did not see a way out of it. I was in long-term relationship that gave me everything I needed, but I did not feel satisfied.

Luckily I had kept in touch with ex-colleagues and one of them offered me a position at a start-up company in Los Gatos.

In September 2012 I told my manager at Adobe that I would leave the company at the end of the year. I always hated it when others left from one week to the next and I thought it was fitting to give my employer enough notice about my departure. That allowed me to clean up behind me (well, almost) and transfer knowledge where necessary. 12/31/2012 marked my last day.

Adobe was good to me, very good in fact. I learned a lot there and met some incredible people. If you ever get a job offer from them, please accept it – you won’t regret it.

Now I’m working with just a handful of people passionate about water conservation and I feel I can make a real difference in areas that matter in this world …

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