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Apple's Hiring of Kevin Lynch Questioned Amid Concerns Over His Staunch Defense of Flash

flashplayer_165x165Following yesterday's news that Adobe Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch will be leaving to join Apple as vice president of Technologies, reporting to Bob Mansfield, there has been a considerable amount of discussion about the move. In particular, observers have pointed to the role Lynch played in backing Flash in the face of Apple's insistence that it was a technology with too many problems and which needed to be left behind.

Daring Fireball's John Gruber has been particularly vocal about Apple's hiring of Lynch, pointing back to several events such as his continued cheerleading for Flash as recently as two years ago as evidence that he is a "bozo" who will turn out to be a poor hire for Apple. "Bozo" was a favorite term of Steve Jobs, who used it to refer to people who were not of the caliber they believed themselves to be, and former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki has highlighted the "Bozo Explosion" phenomenon described by Jobs as one of the biggest potential threats to a company.
A players hire A+ players.

Actually, Steve believed that A players hire A players - that is people who are as good as they are. I refined this slightly - my theory is that A players hire people even better than themselves. It’s clear, though, that B players hire C players so they can feel superior to them, and C players hire D players. If you start hiring B players, expect what Steve called “the bozo explosion” to happen in your organization.
An argument can obviously be made that Lynch was a staunch defender of Flash because it was his job to be one, but his role as Chief Technology Officer also means that he had considerable influence over the direction of Adobe's efforts with respect to Flash. As a result, Lynch's continued defense of Flash even as it was clear that mobile devices were driving technology toward HTML5 solutions has raised eyebrows and generated concern over whether he will be a good fit for Apple.

In one final dig at Lynch, Gruber highlights Adobe's 2009 introduction of iPhone apps built using Flash, featuring Lynch starring in a Mythbusters parody that included putting an iPhone into a blender and crushing another one with a steamroller as part of an effort to get Flash to run on the device.

Top Rated Comments

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23 months ago


If Apple does need to hire one guy, I prefer bringing back Scott Forstall instead of this Chief Flash Officer. (At least Scott is an A player.)


Bring Scott back to do what? Take iOS backwards? Release another half baked product like maps and passbook?
Rating: 42 Votes
23 months ago
He was an advocate for his company and his brand. Doesn't mean he loved flash as a product. He's an adult, he can separate professional decisions from personal ones.
Rating: 40 Votes
23 months ago
hopefully this is not gonna be browett part II.
Rating: 27 Votes
23 months ago
giving too much importance to Gruber
Rating: 27 Votes
23 months ago

I truly hope Tim would indeed lead the company in the right direction.

If Apple does need to hire one guy, I prefer bringing back Scott Forstall instead of this Chief Flash Officer. (At least Scott is an A player.)


An A player? He was a guy that refused to accept any blame for the half assed maps app they released and was, by all accounts, terrible to work with.

In my office....that gets you the door too.

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As far as this new hire goes....I'm not going to sit here and pretend I know enough about talent evaluation of tech workers to say whether or not this is a good hire. But I wouldn't say that his defense of Flash is necessarily a strike against him. Guy was an exec at Adobe.....he would have been doing his job poorly if he was doing anything other than a full throated defense of his product.

Time will tell whether or not this is a good hire and if he somehow isn't....it won't make a hill of beans difference for the vast majority of us.

Not sure why users of a company's products become such micro-analyzers of corporate hiring activity.
Rating: 23 Votes
23 months ago
This obsession with Flash is sickening to me. People get over it. Technologists are not perfect when it comes to technology directions.

I do not know about this guy but trashing him publicly like this does not speak very well of Apple observers. They come across vengeful. This almost feels like these observers following through their defense of Steve's position on Flash. It does not need any defense. The war was won. Behave like winners.

Tim Cook of course had been there all along and knows the Apple Adobe relationship, both positive and negative.

Question is: Who sought out whom and why?

Until that is known, all this haranguing over flash is rehashing a 5 year old discussion which is not relevant any more.
Rating: 22 Votes
23 months ago
This guy seems to be fun ....

And at Adobe he just did his job - part of it was advocating for flash, .... nobody knows what is true thoughts were or what he said in internal meetings about it and he probably learned either way good lessons from it.
Rating: 11 Votes
23 months ago
I'm going to call B.S. on this criticism. It was his job to defend Flash publicly, but take a look at what actually happened at Adobe since that issue. These are all decisions the CTO had direct control over:

[LIST]
[*]Adobe moved from Flash based output in many of their design tools, to HTML5 output.
[*]The entire Adobe Edge platform exists to produce HTML5 content and applications.
[*]The Creative Cloud platform allows a pay-as-you-go annual subscription to all of Adobe's tools. This should bring many people in as purchasers that may have been tempted to pirate before.
[*]The Creative Cloud platform has exclusive features over the traditional DVD based versions, indicating a true PREFERENCE for the cloud-based service.
[*]He oversaw the introduction of many new, specialized tools as part of the Creative Cloud. This allows Adobe to innovate quickly in specific functionality envelopes, then copy back successful features into their core offerings when they are ready. It also allows them to be quicker to market and either success or fail quickly with new ideas (risk management at it's best.)
[*]He oversaw the release of several touch-capable pieces of software at a time where they are truly leading the industry in that regard.
[/LIST]

Frankly, of all the traditional software companies out there that seem to "Get" where technology is going, Adobe seems to completely understand. We don't think that has anything to do with the CTO?
Rating: 11 Votes
23 months ago

giving too much importance to Gruber


You could say that, except for the fact that Gruber is right at least 95% of the time...
Rating: 10 Votes
23 months ago
Using the Jobs Bozo Theorem. If this becomes Tim Cooks 2nd. failed hire I'm afraid Cook is starting to become a B player. Due to hiring two C players.

This is not a good thing. Apple needs an A player at the helm.
Rating: 9 Votes

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