Adobe CEO: We’re in the ‘sweet spot’ of the world’s reliance on tech

May 5, 2021, 10:25 PM UTC
Adobe CEO, Shantanu Narayen, on Leadership Next.
Photograph by Abhijit Bhatlekar—Mint/Getty Images

Eleven years ago, Adobe Systems was best known for its Flash software. That all changed when Apple’s Steve Jobs banned Flash from the company’s platforms.

But instead of shrinking away, Adobe responded by going big on other products, many of which are now part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription service. And those products are, for many people, even more of a household (or office) name than Flash was back in its day. Think Photoshop, InDesign, and Premiere Pro.

“There’s no question that digital has been this unbelievable tailwind,” says Adobe Systems CEO Shantanu Narayen. “We’ve invented these platforms … that enable anybody to tell the story they want to tell … We’re just fortunate that we have three businesses that are absolutely in the sweet spot of where the world needs technology to play a role.”

Narayen joins Fortune’s Alan Murray and Ellen McGirt on this week’s episode of Leadership Next, a podcast about the changing rules of business leadership. He discusses his long tenure as CEO, moving the company (and customer service) from in-office to at-home during the pandemic, plans to keep the growth going once customers transition back to their offices, and much more.

Also on the show, McGirt speaks with Lauren Pasquarella Daley, Catalyst’s senior director of women and the future of work, about the post-pandemic future of women and people of color in the workplace.

“What I’m excited and optimistic about is that we have a moment now and the opportunity to redesign the workplace for more equity and inclusion moving forward,” Daley says. “[During the pandemic] we’ve seen a great revolution in the amount of access to flexible and remote work that we could not have anticipated beforehand. So I think we really have a moment now to think about this intentionally and build equity moving forward.”

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