My Early Days as a Bootlegger

What if they catch me?

What will I tell my family and friends? It felt icky, and I was breaking the law.

But I really wanted to learn photoshop, and there was no way I could afford to dish out $600 as a 24-year-old. 

So I did the obvious thing, I bootlegged it. I googled it and found shady websites where I could find a “cracked” version of Photoshop 5.5 in 1999.

It was one of the most nerve-racking decisions I ever made.

What if I download a virus on my computer by visiting these sites? What if I install some type of malware? I did it anyway. 

It worked! I remember that exhilarating feeling but then realized that I would have to do this every year to keep Photoshop updated. 

In 2013 I bought my first Mac and finally went straight. Adobe was one of the first companies to move towards the subscription model with their launch of the Creative Cloud. Paying $25 every month was incredibly reasonable in my mind, although I know of many people who lost their shit. 

Since then, I’ve been a paying member and now even pay for three licenses to the entire suite. I was eager to give them my money. 

Imagine how happy I was to learn that I was not the only designer who got started with a cracked Photoshop version. They were icky too.

Now imagine discovering that Adobe was aware of the bootlegging but never went after individuals because it helped their market share. They looked at the long-term implications. That’s impressive. 

We all eventually grow up and make money from those skills. Enough of us would be happy to stop worrying about screwing up our computers. 

My Photoshop + design skills allowed me to quit my job. It was the one skill I could leverage to start earning money online while still figuring out the online space. 

I did figure it out, eventually. Thank you, Photoshop.