The world of work undergoing huge changes

Adobe tonight announced an Office Suite largely focused around a new version of Acrobat. TechCrunch has a good post on the new stuff that just shipped.

Look at what Eric Rice just told us: “I just went to Acrobat.com and played with Adobe’s online office suite. Holy crap. That ConnectNow is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Or, look at what Jim Stanger just said “Yep! Folks at the office are gonna like this, no doubt. I love it when these services help me be the Big Damn Hero!”

This is an important announcement, but don’t miss the bigger thing that’s going on.

The way we all work together is seeing HUGE changes and the changes are coming from all over, not from one place or once company the way that the changes did in the 1980s where stuff designed at Xerox PARC became the Macintosh and Microsoft Word (that was designed at Xerox, go back and look it up). In the 1990s the world of work was controlled largely by Microsoft after its Office Suite became THE WAY we all worked together (and still largely is).

But the changes that are going on now?

Well, for that, you have to try some of the stuff on the Office 2.0 database or you have to see how the workplace itself is changing thanks to movements like coworking. Not to mention that mobile devices are making work much different. Everytime a plane I’m on lands I see that revolution up front and close as people switch on iPhones and Blackberries to get back in touch with their coworkers. Real-time web services like Twitter, Facebook, Plaxo, Pownce, Jaiku, and LinkedIn are having even other changes on how we work.

My email is showing me that, for many of you, these changes have already happened. But when I look at what people are doing in airports I see that most business people have no clue about any of these changes. For them we’re living in the future and they don’t even know it yet.

Soon people just won’t put up with a Word Processor that costs hundreds of dollars and isn’t collaborative. They won’t put up with a presentation program that can’t deal with photos from Flickr. They won’t handle a sales database that doesn’t run in the Web browser.

So, congratulations Adobe for pushing us further into this new world of work. What a week this will be.

More on this topic on Thursday when we start a new show on the future of work on FastCompany.tv. Who is the first guest? The guy who runs the PARC lab today for Xerox. Who is the second guest? The guy who does the Office 2.0 database linked to above. And you.

Chris Messina nails it

I’ve been trying to find the words to explain why I love the public web. It’s messy, yes. Upcoming.org isn’t quite as nice as Facebook’s event system. Flickr isn’t quite as nice as Facebook’s photo sharing service. FriendFeed isn’t quite as nice as Facebook’s news feed. Google’s AdWords aren’t quite as nice as Facebook’s advertising. YouTube and Seesmic and Qik put together aren’t quite as nice as Facebook’s video area.

Yet something about Facebook just doesn’t pull me in. It’s too clean. Too controlled. Not messy enough. And I feel like everytime I go in there I have to switch my mindset. Why do I do that? So I don’t get kicked off, for one. I continue getting emails from people who are getting kicked off just for doing stuff on Facebook. Irina Slutsky, former employee of mine, told me last night that she got kicked off simply for sending too many messages to her friends.

Chris Messina, who is one of the smartest developers in the industry, puts those feelings into a post that finally nailed it for me. Thank you Chris. Facebook=centralized planning. Facebook=Soviet Russia. We all know how that turned out!