This is why Adobe’s called Adobe and how one of its founders was kidnapped for $650,000 ransom
For anybody working in the photography or video industries today, it’s difficult to escape from the behemoth that is Adobe. Whether you use their software or not, they’re still everywhere you look and if you don’t use their software yourself, you still often have to deal with people that do, and wanting to know how they can make their workflow fit with yours.
But how did Adobe’s rise to fame happen? Where did it all begin? And why was one of is founders kidnapped at gunpoint and held for ransom to the tune of $600,000? This video from ColdFusion takes a look at Adobe’s history and some of the controversy along its journey.
Like most 80s tech startups, Adobe began in a garage, founded by John Warnock and Charles Geschke after leaving Xerox. The name for the company came from the name of a creek which ran behind John’s house. The logo was designed by John’s wife, Marva – who happened to be a graphic designer. From there, well, I won’t spoil it for you. You can watch the video.
But a few highlights… Steve Jobs once offered to buy Adobe. He was shot down but did own a stake in the company for a short while – a transaction which would make Adobe the first company in the history Silicon Valley to become profitable in its first year of business. A decade later, having already found success with Illustrator, Photoshop and Acrobat, one of Photoshop’s founders was kidnapped.
It’s a fascinating story, with a lot of twists, turns, drama and suspense. I’m surprised it’s not been turned into a movie yet.
There is one inaccuracy in the video, at around 1:41 where they talk about the Xerox interface (initially proposed by Warnock and Geschke to Xeros) being “stolen” by Apple. However, it wasn’t stolen, Xerox pretty much gave it away in a stupid deal. Funnily enough, this deal was something that ColdFusion already covered in a previous video a few weeks ago.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.