Welcome to the “Life in the Swimlane” blog series. Here we will feature interviews with Swimlaners to learn more about their experience. This series will give you a preview of Swimlane, our culture, and the people who keep us going.
My full name is Christopher Hoff, but I go by Chris or Hoff. I grew up outside of New York City in the suburb of Yorktown Heights. A family of four, my father was a junior high school principal and my mother a schoolteacher and homemaker. I have a younger brother and three nephews. They all still live in NY. In earlier life, much of my time was spent in and around New York City with family on the weekends. My mother’s grandfather owned a deli on Wall Street and a diner in Yonkers. My father’s grandfather was the Chief of Police on Long Beach Long Island. I later moved upstate to Pittsford, a suburb of Rochester NY. I attended Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY.
That’s where I met my wife, Margery, who attended an adjacent college in town, Potsdam University. The first 10 years after graduating college, we lived in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Arkansas before ending up in Austin, TX in 1999. We have three boys – Brandon, Conor and Gavin. My “grandson” to Conor is a 3 year old black lab named Buck.
How long have you been with Swimlane and as the new CRO, what are you most excited for?
I started on January 1st after I spent many hours in December to better understand the data, historical information of the company, about the market, leadership, and company as a whole. What I’m most excited about is that, like a puzzle, all of the pieces exist already at Swimlane. There’s great people working within a great culture as a TEAM. Everyone within Swimlane will continue to put those “pieces” of the puzzle together to further accelerate the building of this iconic company. Not to mention, the largest logos and partners in the world affirm Swimlane’s position as the thought leader in security automation.
What does your job entail?
- Sales Mantra – People, Partners, Pipeline, Revenue.
- Operational Mantra – People, Process, and Technology.
As the CRO, a deep understanding of both sales, sales operations, and revenue operations is the key in creating and supporting the right environment, process, and technology. People maximizing their contributions in an efficient way to the delight and benefit of employees, prospects, and customers is critical when building a company.
What attracted you to Swimlane the most before joining?
I have a very specific set of criteria/questions I ask when it comes to selecting a new opportunity (especially one toward the end of my career). Here are a few of the items on my checklist:
- Leadership/people – Their wisdom and their values define the culture. Demonstrated expertise/success in building iconic solutions and companies is important.
- Market fit – We have it. Are you a solution looking for a problem or is there a market problem looking for a solution? Without fit, companies evangelize versus sell.
- Logos – How big? Big typically means complex environments which weed out those who can do it effectively. Swimlane did hard first defined by largest and most complex logos. We ARE the thought leaders in the category & market.
- Partners – What types? Is there a motion for going upstream into GSI’s, MSSP’s, Advisories – outside of the normal VAR’s (value added reseller)? Swimlane leapfrogged into the largest VAR/GSI/MSSP/Advisories which demonstrates that we are driving massive business value (productivity and efficiency gains) to mutually benefit for the largest partners on the planet and the customers they serve.
Coming off of the recent sales kick off event, what was one thing that stood out to you about Swimlane as a company?
The people and culture are awesome! Swimlane’s last year wasn’t only about great revenue results, but worked on the release of multiple products and features that are not only the BEST in class but FIRST in class. Swimlane is further defining the category and categories that we will play in. Amazing work has been done here. Possibilities for automation are endless across IT and OT landscapes, which are rapidly converging under the CISO and CIO.
As far as the product goes, here are some facts that impressed me most:
- Swimlane Turbine automates 10 times faster than any other platform.
- Infinite integrations into every security, DevOps, IT, and infrastructure technology.
- It can be installed in minutes.
- There’s five products in one automation platform.
What excites you most about your work and Swimlane as a company?
The opportunity and timing is NOW. The market is skating toward the innovation and solutions that Swimlane has created and demonstrated with large logos and partners. The timing of automation combined with AI, as founder Cody Cornell said, is just like “peanut butter and jelly”.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
My wife Margery and I have three boys – Brandon (24), Conor (22), and Gavin (17). When I’m not chasing them around a golf course, duck blind, or lacrosse field, I’m typically either repairing the things they break or figuring out my next hobby. Some of my hobbies include and have included skiing, wake-surfing, scuba diving, car and motorcycle restoration, and just overall tinkering with technology. My mind doesn’t sleep, so I need to keep it busy with new challenges. Travel, friends, and food are always enjoyed in our free time.
Are there any clubs, volunteer/awareness groups, or social movements you’re passionate about?
I’m passionate about and contribute to St. Judes for cancer research to treat and defeat childhood cancer. I also contribute to law enforcement fundraisers in memory of my grandfather who served on the force. He saved money that helped me to attend my first year of college.
What’s are some fun facts about you many people may not know?
- Horror movies freak me out and are not my preferred types of movies to watch.
- I have lived in Norway and in Germany for a period of time.
- I hate exercise and haven’t done it formally since 1989.
- I actually had hair at one time.
Your motto or personal mantra:
“Don’t know… Do”.
Being a ‘do’er’ separates those that take action from those who don’t. “Everybody knows what to do… Few people actually do it.” It separates those who create opportunity from those who wait for opportunity.
Three words that best describe you:
Committed, hard-working, and transparent.
What Swimlane core value resonates with you the most?
Honesty and Integrity in “all of the things”.
I take personally the decisions that I make, and that are made, with the best intentions for as many stakeholders as possible. It’s a core value of how I parent which extends to my new ‘family’ – the 300+ employees of Swimlane.
What type of impact do you want to leave on our industry?
The wreckage of bad solutions, bad actors, and dishonest companies have created a negative persona of selfishness to many within our industry and many others. My impact on the industry that I want to be known for is simple:
The concept of selfless actions for mutual success with employees, prospects, and customers creates the BEST companies, which are known for their thought leadership across the market they define and serve.
Anything else you’d like to add as the new CRO, that you’d like industry or company to know?
The time is NOW.
No Excuses = No Limits!
I look forward to the journey with my new family of 300+ global Swimlaner’s. I’m excited to continue to add the world’s largest enterprise customers and partners to our community. A community that shares a joint vision and passion for driving business outcomes. Which have significant positive impacts on revenue and maximizing peoples productivity and efficiency to the benefit of their professional and personal lives.
Life in the Swimlane
Swimlane is a rapidly growing, innovative startup in the Denver metro area with a passionate team focused on improving the lives of security practitioners through security automation and orchestration. We’re always looking for dedicated, ambitious problem solvers who thrive in a fast-paced work environment to join our team.