So Holger Winnemoeller, a scientist who (among other things) invents features and filters in Photoshop, came up with this remarkable technology that was more interactive than a filter, he worked on it on his own, invented to suit his personal passions, and created "PaintCan." My project at Adobe (among other things) is to create a pathway by which we could rapidly get experimental products directly from Adobe scientists, and into the hands of real people to learn more about them. It's always a classic "lean" trade-off--the more features you add, the longer it takes to create. The wider the release, the more users, and the more Adobe needs to be part of the process, which is antithetical to rapid iteration of an experiment.
Over the past couple days since PaintCan was made available (on iPads only, in the US only) we've been deluged with requests for access—not only on iPhone and Android, but in nations globally.
It is what we in the business casually refer to as "a good problem to have." We released a different cool app late last year, "Twixt" and voices were not raised that we needed to be international; no one sent us hate mail that we "just had to be on an Android". I'm sorta glad we didn't spend six more months of work on it. And here we are: this time with a "good problem," but that belittles the sincere pains it creates.
Holger, and the rest of us, are excited to continue working, to get our app in everyone's hands, on every device. Market enthusiasm fuels our efforts, not a corporate agenda. But i need to be honest: none of these things will happen in the short term. Holger was able to conceive, build and release PaintCan in a few months. Our work is not only to make cool new products, but to explore the ways a large, successful company like Adobe can make new products. You'll notice we have no budget for marketing. PaintCan gets virtually no promotion, other than what Holger and I do. It's word of mouth. That's the way we wanted it. In fact, we insisted.
I'm sorry people can't use PaintCan in Toronto and the Netherlands… but we're thinking of you, and with luck, you'll have it in your hands soon enough.