Tableau’s new CEO Mark Nelson on life inside Salesforce, and the company’s future in Seattle

Mark Nelson was named Tableau Software program CEO in March, main the Seattle-based firm as a part of Salesforce, filling a emptiness created by the departure of his predecessor, Adam Selipsky, to turn out to be the brand new Amazon Internet Companies CEO. (Tableau and GeekWire Images)

Seattle-based Tableau Software program is now not an unbiased publicly traded firm, but it surely’s again beneath the watchful eyes of Wall Road for a unique purpose.

Salesforce purchased the info visualization firm for greater than 15 billion in 2019, its largest acquisition on the time. Now, with Salesforce near finishing its acquisition of office collaboration firm Slack for 27.7 billion, traders wish to Tableau’s efficiency inside Salesforce for clues about Slack’s destiny.

They discovered some encouraging information in Salesforce’s current earnings report: Tableau generated 394 million in income for Salesforce in its first fiscal quarter, up 38%, and was concerned in eight of Salesforce’s prime 10 buyer offers for the quarter.

“I can’t converse to all acquisitions (however) this one’s working very properly for us,” stated Tableau CEO Mark Nelson in a podcast interview with GeekWire this week. “And we’re in an excellent spot, as these numbers present.”

“Definitely, a part of that’s good execution on our half — good merchandise that we’re placing on the market,” he added. “However make no mistake, the economic system can be roaring again, which is a good factor to see throughout the board. There’s a bunch of issues which are wanting very constructive, particularly right here within the US as we come out of the pandemic.”

Mixed, the acquisitions of Slack and Tableau place Salesforce as a extra formidable rival to Microsoft in enterprise know-how, with Slack going head-to-head with Microsoft Groups, and Tableau competing instantly in opposition to Microsoft’s Energy BI information visualization know-how.

Nelson acknowledged that Tableau could also be a much bigger goal for opponents as a part of Salesforce, however stated the mixture additionally “provides us a much bigger area” to provide you with options for purchasers.

“As a result of that is such a urgent drawback within the universe, there’s lots of people on this area, from large opponents to smaller individuals which are attempting to unravel this drawback,” he stated. Nevertheless, he added, Tableau will proceed to have “a basically totally different lens on what it means to work with information.”

Nelson is new to the position of CEO, however to not Tableau, nor to the Seattle area.

He grew up within the Chicago space, and attended the College of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, graduating with a bachelor’s diploma in engineering and a grasp’s in pc science. He held engineering management positions at firms together with Oracle and Concur within the Seattle area earlier than becoming a member of Tableau in 2018 as govt vice chairman of product growth.

Nelson was named Tableau president and CEO in March. He crammed a emptiness created when his predecessor, Adam Selipsky, was named CEO of Amazon Internet Companies, taking on for Andy Jassy, who’s succeeding Jeff Bezos as Amazon CEO.

Former Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky, left, and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, proper, on the Tableau Convention in Las Vegas in 2019. (GeekWire File Picture / Todd Bishop)

We get to know Nelson on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, speaking about his background, life inside Salesforce, his targets as the brand new chief of Tableau, and the corporate’s future within the Seattle area. We additionally encourage him to offer us his recommendation for Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield about working with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, based mostly on his personal expertise.

Pay attention above, subscribe any podcast app, and maintain studying for highlights.

Is Seattle actually Salesforce HQ2? Salesforce introduced its Tableau acquisition two years in the past this week. On the time, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff declared that Seattle would turn out to be the San Francisco-based firm’s “HQ2,” borrowing the phrase that Amazon utilized in its seek for a second headquarters.

On the time, Salesforce employed about 1,000 individuals within the Seattle area by itself. Tableau employed about 2,100 individuals within the area, about half of its worldwide workforce on the time, for a mixed whole of round three,100 individuals between the 2 firms again then.

Two years later, together with Tableau workers, Salesforce employs about three,800 individuals within the area, in response to the newest figures from the corporate.

“Publish-pandemic, we’re taking a look at the place we rent. I feel there’ll be a bunch extra freedom to rent in distant locations. However Seattle is our house, and we’ll proceed to develop in Seattle,” Nelson stated.

Nelson is not any stranger to advanced organizations and troublesome technical challenges. Not lengthy after he joined Concur as chief know-how officer, the expense administration firm was hit with what former engineers nonetheless bear in mind because the “Nice Outage of August 2014.”

The technical glitches revealed a sequence of bigger organizational challenges that Nelson had inherited.

Darren Bauer Kahan. (Watermark Picture)

Individuals who have been on his group on the time nonetheless bear in mind how he dealt with the state of affairs. Nelson didn’t sidestep the issues, or sweep them beneath the rug, however he additionally didn’t level fingers or single individuals out for blame, they recall.

As a substitute, he leveraged the incident as a lot as he might, in a constructive approach, to “level out the gap between the place we have been and the place we wanted to go,” stated Darren Bauer Kahan, who was at Concur on the time and is now the chief product and know-how officer at training know-how firm Watermark.

When he encounters troublesome challenges, Bauer Kahan says he usually thinks, “What would Mark Nelson do on this state of affairs?”

One of the necessary rules in engineering is utilizing information to study, Nelson stated. Then have the braveness to make use of the empirical proof make robust choices.

Michelle Grover. (Twilio Picture)

Michelle Grover, who’s now CIO of cloud communications platform Twilio, additionally labored on Nelson’s group on the time, main the TripIt group after its 2011 acquisition by the Concur. She credit Nelson for listening to her and her group when Concur was making the transfer to the cloud.

He directed his engineering leaders, who had been disregarding enter from her smaller group, to incorporate them within the conversations, take into account their wants, and study from their expertise.

As a lady of colour in a technical management position, Grover stated she appreciates that Nelson at all times acknowledged the worth of expertise and experience, no matter race or gender.

“You at all times must show your self, however I’m often in a spot the place I’ve bought to do triple-duty of proving myself. Somebody at all times thinks I don’t belong there,” she stated. “He didn’t do this. He by no means even thought that. He stated, ‘Hey, you’re good,’ after which seemed for each alternative to guarantee that I used to be in the appropriate place.”

Recommendation for Slack’s Stewart Butterfield? Rounding out our podcast interview, we requested Nelson if he had any ideas for the Slack CEO about working with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

“Be sure you stick with understanding what you are promoting and placing it within the context of Marc’s imaginative and prescient, can be my largest recommendation,” he stated. “Be sure you know what you’re doing in what you are promoting, after which hearken to Marc, as a result of he’s bought the imaginative and prescient, after which marry these two issues collectively.”

Podcast edited by Curt Milton; Music by Daniel L.Okay. Caldwell.