So, a couple days ago, the announcement came out that Kevin Lynch, (now) former Adobe CTO is moving to Apple to be the "VP of Technology".
This should have been a non-story, but of course, because Kevin Lynch supported Flash and Flash on mobile in a public way, John Gruber, in a moment of stunning unawareness of How Things Work In A Company When It Is More Than Just You starts up the "This is bad for Apple because Lynch was a Bozo meme. Not just once mind you:
"Exhibit A in the Case That Newly-Hired Apple VP of Technology Kevin Lynch Is a Bozo, a Bad Hire"
"Exhibit B: Defending/Denying Flash Player’s Adverse Effect on Battery Life, a Mere Two Years Ago"
"What I Mean by Bozo"
"New Apple VP of Technology Kevin Lynch Runs Over an iPhone With a Steamroller"
Yes, I am in fact using Comic Sans for those article titles. I think Gruber is being astoundingly stupid here and letting his need to rub Adobe's face in the failure of Flash on mobile override his knowledge of how shit works. Let me be clear, Gruber is not some wide-eyed indie naif with no idea of how companies work. He's been reporting on large companies in the computing arena for over a decade. He knows how shit works in a large company, and he knows that in public, even when it is obvious, obvious that a product is a stinker, the people who speak for the company in public will, in public, support the product. At least they will unless they want to get canned, or are just the worst kind of asshole. In private, who knows what Lynch said about Flash. From my experience with people across Adobe, they are a remarkably self-aware lot. There are some exceptions, but overall, they know what's really up.
In private, they are quite realistic about things. But in public, when Adobe signs your paycheck, you support them. This is not a bozo, this is not someone who is fundamentally stupid or whatever the fuck Gruber's schadenfreude-driven narrative is pushing. This is how things work, and it's not just Adobe by any means. Other examples:
Microsoft on Longhorn. Up until the minute of the famous "Longhorn Reset", in public, Microsoft execs sang the company song on this. Longhorn was real, and it was GOING TO BE IN YOUR HANDS
That nasty-assed Moto iTunes Phone (Hell, Steve Jobs practically used the thing as a taint-tickler and we know that almost no one really thought it was a great product)
Copland (pre-jobs, but hey, dude, that was never happening.)
This is how it works. You take someone's money, especially for a job at Lynch's level, and you sing the company song, because when it doesn't happen, when you have an exec that is shitting on a team's work in public, then the people on that team leave. I think it is fair to say that Flash, at least the plugin, is fixing to go into that long night. Feet first, it's the only way out.
But the people on that team are pretty fucking smart. Even if you don't need them for Flash, you want to keep them, so they can apply that smartness to other projects. As well, the Flash toolset is still being used, as are the servers, and you can see how Adobe has been evolving them for use in a post-Flash world.
Yes, it is frustrating when you see execs defending something that everyone knows is a stinker. If you don't think Phil Schiller hasn't had to do a lot of last-second meditation before going out and trying to convince us that a stinker is really awesome, you're delusional. But he does it, because that's his job. I've had brief conversations with Schiller, mostly about things like Ferraris. (it was part of a group at a WWDC beer bash.) He's not stupid. He's a pretty funny guy as well. But he's really good at what he does, and he knows what his job is.
If Gruber's going to call Lynch a bozo, if you're going to double and treble down on it, then where's the articles calling Schiller and the rest of the Apple executive team, including Jobs, "bozos" for supporting shitty products like the Moto iTunes Phone? Right.
It's not just Gruber. Jim Dalrymple, someone else who knows how shit works in a corporation should start checking his kegerator hoses for mold for agreeing with Gruber on this in his piece, "Bozo":
John Gruber giving his thoughts on Apple’s newest VP Kevin Lynch. There is also an Exhibit B. Like Gruber, it concerns me that Lynch kept beating the Flash drum for so long, even when it was clear it was dead.
Oh come on Jim, it most certainly does not. You've been a part of a largeish corporation before, you know how shit works. The both of them do. Kevin Lynch wasn't doing anything that anyone else in his position, including Gruber wouldn't have done. He was supporting a major company initiative in public. That's not the sign of a bozo, and Gruber needs to stop pretending otherwise.
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