When Hisashi Sube joined Adobe Japan in February 2014, he joined at exactly the right time. The company’s digital marketing business is heating up in the country, and Hisashi—as director of Adobe Global Services—will have a big hand in what happens next. We talked with him about why he joined Adobe and what he hopes to accomplish in the near future.
Adobe Life: How did you decide to come to work at Adobe?
Hisashi Sube: At my previous company, we did some competitive research and were looking at the digital marketing field. Our company was very strong in analytics, but when we researched the competitive landscape, we identified Adobe as the next big thing in the digital marketing space. So that got me interested. I had a few friends at Adobe, so I traded info with them. It really looked like a place that was in a period of very rapid growth.
Adobe Life: Why did you decide to leave a stable company for a company that was going through a transformation in a new space?
HS: It’s true, my previous company was in a period of stable growth. But I was looking for an opportunity where I could steer a fast-growing organization. In the past, I’ve worked a lot in larger companies and, within that, small teams that were growing very quickly. I like fast growth and things happening at a fast pace. I don’t like a stale environment where it’s the same thing over and over again. Japan is a little behind the Americas and Europe in digital marketing so things are just getting started here. I thought I should get on board early.
Adobe Life: What do you like about the fast pace at Adobe?
HS: I think it’s just good to be in a place where business is growing. You can experiment, innovate, try new things, and that’s encouraged. If it doesn’t work, you get back up and try something else. But in a conservative environment, if you try something new, everybody’s all over you for rocking the boat.
Adobe Life: You sound like you grew up in America. Where are you from?
HS: I lived in Canada and California during my younger years, from ages 4 to 14. That’s where I picked up the language and culture and some of the basic ingredients for a global mindset. I finished school in Japan and started work in Japan, but I was able to join an American tech company. It gave me a lot of opportunities for global assignments.
Adobe Life: What surprised you about Adobe?
HS: I was surprised by the extent to which Adobe was global. In other companies, Japan is often isolated a little bit and isn’t integrated into the global company. But in Adobe, it is integrated. There’s much more involvement. In other companies, somebody overseas might decide for you how things will go. But here, we’re very much part of the conversation. There’s a lot of collaboration, and I like that interaction. It’s really stimulating.
Adobe Life: What do you do in your free time?
HS: I’ve done a lot of travel this year because I’ve had to absorb what this company is all about. Maybe I’ll slow down the travel a little in my second year. I like to play golf. I’m not a great golfer but I do play some—whacking the ball always relieves stress. Otherwise, I would like more free time to take walks, read books.
Adobe Life: What’s something we don’t know about you?
HS: Throughout my school days I was a very good athlete. I was a centerfielder in baseball and a safety in American football. I’m very team-sports-oriented. During my teens and early 20s, I was always a team leader but I was a hard person to satisfy. I had high standards and was sometimes hard on team members. Then in my late 20s, I started to study management and understood that people are different and that you have to take a different approach based on each person’s character or background. You have to understand people first, and then fit your approach to them. That’s been my management philosophy ever since.
Adobe Life: What are you goals for 2015?
HS: One of the key focus areas for 2015 is our effort with Adobe Campaign. We’ve never sold it in Japan before but we expect to get a lot of business in 2015. We’re also going to move heavily into developing multi-solution capabilities within our teams, so people can be experts at not just one solution but can combine and integrate multiple solutions. Third, we’ll be investing in partner enablement and partner support so our partners can deliver our solutions effectively.