I met Mark Hirsch (CEO of CreativeWorx), several months ago at the NYU Poly Incubator. Mark’s start-up is a unique story of corporate sponsored entrepreneurship. I think this is a trend we will see more of in the future.
As large tech companies like Microsoft, Adobe, Google, Oracle, etc.. realise that their size and bureaucracy make it difficult to innovate within the company, they will enable employees to take IP, capital, and support to innovate outside of the company. The following is an interview with Mark.
What is CreativeWorx and How Did The Idea Come About?
CreativeWorx is a new venture that I founded after leaving Adobe. Our mission is to improve the
collaboration and workflows between creative professionals and business professionals.
Over the last two decades, my professional experience has covered a broad spectrum of creative
initiatives: I produced a theatrically-released feature film; I was a partner of an interactive design firm; I
ran (for 9 years) a software development company that consulted with the largest global media
companies and developed software that streamlined digital media workflows; and most recently, I worked
at Adobe, where I was the Global Digital Media Practice Lead for Adobe Consulting.
I’ve watched creative organisations struggle with their production workflows…from how to manage their
content, to how to share for review and approval, to how to improve their internal collaboration. There are
a myriad of problems that can be solved by helping people and their systems share information. That’s
where we come in.
While working at Adobe, I recognised that we had a phenomenal set of tools and technologies that would
allow us to build a unique workflow solution. With some special effort and permissions, we could create a
solution that offers never-before-seen capabilities by directly integrating those technologies and
leveraging our deep access to the Adobe Creative Suite.
So, why did Adobe not build this product on their own?
Adobe was more interested in building the foundational tools and then licensing those tools.
I suppose I also had a distinct advantage in that I spent almost 2 years working on a solution with the
various Adobe business units and technologies. Perhaps my biggest challenge was to align the
strategies of the various business units in order to drive a unified development. As the primary Solution
Architect, I met with the vast majority of client prospects to conduct market research and initiate sales
As the platform development continued, I was asked to be Product Manager to develop the foundational
platform and then identify partner organisations to build client-facing solutions. As I had a very strong
vision for the solution, I knew I could bring more value by actually building the solution.
With special permission, I left Adobe to become a partner. Thus CreativeWorx was born.
Were you worried about any conflicts of interest with Adobe as you evolved the product? Is
Adobe an Investor? What support have they been giving you?
Given that I was very open and exhaustive in my conversations with the product teams and Adobe Legal,
I felt very strongly that we were very aligned, and I remain in contact with many people at Adobe to
ensure that CreativeWorx remains well positioned.
Adobe is not currently an investor. I’ve been in touch with the investment arms of several strategic
companies including Adobe, and I expect that our relationship with Adobe will remain very strong. Adobe
has been supportive with information, marketing commitments, technology support, introductions and
What does the future of CreativeWorx look like?
The future is extremely bright. We are building an extensive platform addresses the needs of creative
and business professionals. Our Phase 1 will see the roll out of more than a dozen unique solutions that
start with creative professionals. Creative workflow productivity has been historically difficult to monitor, measure and optimise. Usually, it was because the systems deployed did not address the needs of the full ecosystem. Creative professionals were often subjected to inappropriate tools that regularly failed to secure user adoption.
Our philosophy has been to put the creative professional at the heart of the solution.
Our first product “TimeTracker” (in beta now and being released later this month) is a unique solution that
automatically captures and reports how professionals spend their time. TimeTracker is one of many such
solutions coming from CreativeWorx, and our goal is to leverage hard-to-capture data to streamline a
TimeTracker is applicable to any professional who needs to track their time, which is a tremendous
problem for creative professionals, attorneys, consultants, software developers and more. Because of
the way TimeTracker collects data, we can offer unique analytics and related products that will further
improve the efficiency and productivity of these organisations.
Our later phases, to be implemented in 2013 and beyond, will leverage our competitive advantages in a
unique way. We can discuss this at a later date, but the vision is very big.
How Does Adobe Play into that future?
I continue to maintain a very open dialogue to ensure alignment and to explore greater partnership
opportunities with Adobe. Our later phases will require additional investment to realise the full vision, and
Adobe is certainly one of the potential strategic investors.