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Adobe’s $23 billion bet on collaboration will pay off

Adobe and Figma

Adobe’s plan to acquire Figma is truly exciting news. It brings together two pioneers in design. Candidly, I’m looking forward to seeing what these talented teams produce together.

One key thing stood out to me: the through line across this and Adobe’s other recent large acquisitions. The deals I’m referring to are Workfront ($1.5b), Frame.io ($1.27b), and now Figma ($20.0b).

While they have different offerings, they all share one important commonality.

  • Workfront is a work management platform that lets many stakeholders have structured workflows for review, feedback, and approvals – ultimately giving everyone visibility on the status of content, projects, or campaigns.
  • Frame.io brought the EXTREMELY inefficient process of sharing and getting feedback/approvals for video into the 21st century. I mean, have you ever taken notes by hand on a draft video and then manually pause it to write down timestamps for each comment? A painful experience.
  • Figma recognized building an A++ web-first professional design tool was already a big mountain to climb, but the ultimate experience would be many times better by directly involving the collaborators around the designer. Sometimes other designers, sometimes peers in other roles.

 

I didn’t use the word in any of those three descriptions, but the common thread is collaboration. And why does collaboration matter? Specifically, why does collaboration matter to Adobe?

Adobe has long been a leader in creating sophisticated, single-player tools for professionals. Think Photoshop, Illustrator…most/all of Adobe Creative Suite. The core user is a specialist, an expert in their craft. Even Adobe Experience Cloud apps are used primarily by experts.

In a company, specialists and experts who create or distribute content don’t work in a vacuum. They’re on a team. They support other teams. The reality is any designer knows all too well that when you work in an organization, creating content is a collaborative process.

Even if just one or two or three people are at the center of that process, there are others. People who strategize, create a brief of what needs to exist. Who review, give feedback, and approve. Who take finished assets and distribute them to audiences thru an increasing number of channels.

And through that lens, it makes perfect sense why Adobe spent just shy of $23 BILLION to acquire companies whose products have collaboration at their core.

It’s because content creation and collaboration are inextricably linked.

At Stensul, we’ve always believed that creating content is a collaborative process. Always has been. But the existing tooling just didn’t support that reality. Given how much content is created and how many people are involved beyond the specialists, this is a BIG opportunity.

It is an opportunity Stensul has been pursuing aggressively since Day 1.

We’re making exciting progress in changing how organizations create and collaborate around content, starting with marketing emails (a notoriously painful asset to create for many good and bad reasons).

Leveraging our platform, we’ve seen teams in organizations ranging from the fastest growing tech startups to Fortune 10 companies do in hours what used to take them weeks.

The outcome isn’t just valuable time savings. It’s a real business impact against hard KPIs, as these teams can focus on achieving their goals by having the time and space to think and operate strategically. And we’re in the early innings. Lots more to come.

We’re cheering on Figma, Adobe, and everyone else working to bring modern collaboration into the content creation process.

Teams will work better together. Content will be better. Experiences will be better. And hopefully, we can finally never see “Final v14” again!

P.S. we’re hiring! come join our incredibly talented team