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A conference like that is worth any ticket price since the experience and knowledge gained can take your career to new heights. And, not to oversell it, but Adobe Max did a fantastic job of achieving this rare form of conferencedom.

In March, Adobe reached out to myself and my business partner, Nick Grant, asking if we could speak at Max about infographic design. Honored for the opportunity, we gladly accepted the assignment… and the 8:30 am Tuesday morning time-slot. We then went on to prep while unsure of what to expect since neither of us have attended Max in the past.

In fact, we haven’t had the opportunity to attend any non-Seattle based conferences since we started Killer Infographics because we’ve been heads-down in start-up mode. As such, we went blindly to LA, anxious and excited about the possibilities.

And Oh the Possibilities…

Adobe Max is a networking playground, impressive venue for emerging technology, and source of highly informative sessions and classes that can grow anyone’s skill set. Here’s some highlights:

The Networking

As a marketer, networking at conferences is very important to me. Adobe Max provided numerous opportunities for anyone to meet industry leaders and grow their rolodex. If you are a designer or developer looking for work, attending a conference like Max is a sure fire way to get your next job. If you’re a design agency hoping to grow clients, building partnerships with other agencies and conference sponsors is easy. Unlike other conferences I’ve attended, Max had numerous after-hours events to choose from, allowing my business partner and I the opportunity to pick our audience for networking. Additionally, the events planned by Max (like the Max Bash with the Black Keys and Rainn Wilson) were ones nobody wanted to miss. This ensured each event would be packed, a certainty not easily provided at other conferences I’ve attended.

The Technology

One of the most exciting aspects of Max was the technology. One person compared it to being Iron Man, saying that he felt like the technology came right out of the movie and onto the Max stage. The Monday Keynote showcased a number of improvements to Adobe’s suite of offerings that will now only live on the Creative Cloud (like the refine edge tool in AE that makes rotoscoping a breeze!). Additionally, Adobe unveiled some of their own hardware currently in the works. This included a pen that allows designers to turn an iPad into a sketch pad. The pen copies the sketch from the iPad and then sends your fully vectorized image to the cloud for use on your desktop.

While pens like this exist already (the pogo connect for instance), this easy to use prototype is currently the only one that works seamlessly with Adobe CC. Sadly, when I asked how much it cost, the response I received was “we aren’t even sure if we’re going to put it up for sale yet.” Hopefully, the pen and other great hardware that Adobe is producing will garner enough social buzz that they decide to dive deeper into the world of creative hardware for designers and developers (or the combo: “deviners” as one attendee coined while sharing a drink at the hotel bar).

The Sessions

There were so many sessions at Max that I was overwhelmed with options. Sadly, I was unable to attend the majority of them since I had to work (heads-down in start-up mode even in another state). That said, when talking with attendees, it became apparent that many sessions had made a huge impact on them. A good session should either provide new insights on a topic, empower the attendee with new skills, or inspire the audience to follow a new path and grow. There were numerous sessions at Max that accomplished all of these goals with ease.

Universal Geeking Out

My business partner and I don’t claim to be designers, instead at Killer Infographics we focus on the marketing side of things while we employ amazing designers. Nick’s background is in business development and my background is in online marketing. Because of this, it’s ironic that we could attend a conference geared towards designers and find it to be just as fulfilling as the other attendees. But that was what made Max a conference I hope to never miss again: it provided an outlet to geek out for anyone with a creative spark. From experiencing new technology to sharing insights with like-minded professionals, to gaining new knowledge about the world of design, Max was an all-inclusive event that made this marketer feel right at home!