How Design, Printing and Publishing Influenced My Leadership Outlook

Now that I’m in full swing here at Quark, I want to share more details about who I am and where I come from. It’s hard to capture more than recent history in a corporate bio! One thing I’m particularly proud of is my history in the graphic design and publishing industry.

Though I’ve spent the last couple decades in leadership positions at high-tech software firms, I started my career in graphic arts and publishing. In fact, I come from a family of printers. My dad was a typesetter – I am happy to report that his design tool of choice was always QuarkXPress. When I was 18 he trained me as a graphic artist and later I went on to earn a degree in graphic arts, printing, and publishing.

When the time came, I hit the ground running at Haddon Craftsmen Inc., a successful privately-owned book manufacturing company. At Haddon I forged several of our top accounts – Random House, Simon and Schuster, and Time Warner. We were responsible for the typesetting, printing, binding, and distribution of their books. Haddon Craftsmen would go on to be acquired by American Color Graphics, a division of Sullivan Graphics.

At Sullivan Graphics I became the VP of sales for the Book and Media Division. Here is where I would venture into the world of software. At the time, Sullivan was focused on diversifying from the highly competitive book publishing vertical. In my role, I grew our media division, chartering relationships with the likes of AOL, Microsoft, IBM, CA Technologies, Rand McNally and many others.

Rand McNally ultimately purchased Sullivan’s Media Services division and I took the position at Rand as VP of Sales and Marketing. Here I had the opportunity to realize a new and exciting revenue stream, which was to work with key accounts to publish box sets for our clients’ key artists. Working with RCA, Warner, Sony Arista, Callaway Arts & Entertainment and others, we supplied design, printing, packaging, and replication services to support the emerging market. Looking back, I was part of the production of 80 percent of all box sets released in the early 90s!

And from there I went on to hold leadership positions at high-tech software firms in operations, product, product marketing, and sales and marketing departments as well as, most recently, president and CEO roles. Every single position has been informed by my earlier years working in the world of graphic design, print, and publishing.

As I expressed in my recent blog, the ways we consume content have changed. Print is now considered a premium and digital information is everywhere, available on demand. One thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of well-executed design. As I became a sales leader and later a business leader, the importance of attracting attention and conveying a message through design has been critical to my success. The ability to do both is a competitive differentiator. That is why I value graphic design and the role QuarkXPress plays in our business and the business of our customers.

Oh, and I’m not the only one in my family to stay close to the industry. There are five of us brothers. Besides me, one is a president at Xerox, one is VP at Cloud Genix, and one is at RR Donnelly. All use QuarkXPress.

About Chris Hickey
Christopher Hickey is an accomplished leader of high-tech corporations, ranging from startups to multi-billion-dollar enterprises, with expertise in cloud computing, enterprise data management, Software as a Service (SaaS), storage security, and sales-enablement technologies. He joins Quark Software as CEO from cloud-based data services firm RingLead where he drove the company to be Salesforce’s number-one fully-integrated SaaS-based-data management platform. Chris has also held leadership positions at Teq, the largest reseller of SMART technologies; Total Defense, a global leader in malware threat detection and anti-crimeware solutions; and CA Technologies. He earned his BS in Technology with a concentration in Marketing from Central Connecticut State University.