Former and current Tableau employees meet at Irish Wake – GeekWire

A group of Tableau employees huddled over a folder containing faces and descriptions of current and former employees. (GeekWire Photo/Nate Bek)

On an otherwise ordinary weekday at Fremont Brewing near Lake Union in Seattle, the beer line stretched past the front doors to the outdoor seating area.

Here’s why: A group of more than 50 former and current Tableau Software employees met last week to reflect on Tableau’s 19-year journey, more than three years after the San Francisco-based data visualization technology company, Salesforce, signed 15 .7 billion US dollars was acquired.

The event, held just down the street from Tableau’s Seattle headquarters, was described as an Irish wake, the traditional rite of mourning where family and friends celebrate the life of the deceased.

“Tableau was destroyed by Salesforce,” said Jeff Brinker, a former Tableau engineer. “We mourn the loss of a loved one”

Salesforce declined to comment on the records, but made it clear that it believes the reports of Tableau’s death have been grossly exaggerated or flatly false. Tableau has brought more than $2 billion in sales to Salesforce over the past 12 months, and the company has promised to continue to develop Tableau’s technology.

But those who attended the wake cited factors such as the impact of Salesforce’s recent 10% overall workforce reduction on many longtime Tableau employees and executives, and the general sentiment that Tableau’s unique identity is being lost within the customer relationship giant.

Tableau started as a startup within Stanford University in 2003 with the idea of ​​visualizing huge amounts of data. The co-founders raised a $5 million seed round a year later and relocated their budding company to the Pacific Northwest, where it grew into one of the region’s leading technology companies and went public in 2013.

After the layoffs began last month, many former and current Tableau employees have connected online to offer help and support to those affected. A Tableau Slack workspace grew from 40 people in January to almost 700.

Tableau employees call themselves the #DataFam. The name has a dual meaning, describing both the love of dates and the camaraderie among family members.

“Everyone was rowing in the same direction,” said Kevin Boske, a former senior project manager at Tableau. “It’s a very special place. I don’t expect to experience that again in my life.”

(Photo by GeekWire/Todd Bishop)

Some staff at last week’s event said the culture had changed after the Salesforce acquisition. “It has evaporated,” said a former worker who wished to remain anonymous.

Most of Tableau’s executives who were on the executive page when the acquisition was announced have left the company, Bloomberg reported.

Bloomberg also reported that Salesforce executives “seem less excited about Tableau than their other businesses,” citing mentions of Tableau in transcripts of corporate events compared to Slack and Mulesoft, its other recent acquisitions.

Tableau is “more committed than ever to supporting and growing the DataFam,” Francois Ajenstat, a longtime Tableau executive and chief product officer, wrote in a blog post last month after announcing the layoff.

Ajenstat wrote that the company is adding more features “across all of our products,” noting that the annual Tableau conference is scheduled for later this year. Tableau is integrated with Salesforce’s Customer 360 platform.

Tableau continues to face competition from Microsoft and others in the business intelligence software arena. Tableau’s revenue of $516 million for the October 2022 quarter represented growth of less than 8%, compared to four consecutive quarters of growth of 22% to 38% in 2021, according to Salesforce’s financial reports reflects.

Following the acquisition of Tableau, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said that Seattle would become the company’s “HQ2,” citing the region as a source of future hiring and growth. Tableau had grown to about 4,200 employees worldwide prior to the 2020 acquisition, about half of them in the Seattle area.

The acquisition was hailed by some world leaders as a sign of the Seattle region’s strength as a global technology hub, but it also meant the loss of a significant public company headquarters.

Salesforce’s company-wide layoffs came shortly after former Tableau CEO Mark Nelson left in December. Nelson led the company for two years after replacing former Tableau CEO Adam Selipsky, who returned to Amazon as CEO of Amazon Web Services, succeeding Amazon CEO Andy Jassy in that role.

Tableau is now led by a leadership group that includes Ajenstat, Chief Revenue Officer Ryan Aytay, and SVP Pedro Arellano, in addition to Salesforce veterans Jennifer Lagaly, who leads the Americas sales teams, and Tableau COO Sam Allen, who leads the go-to market strategy.

From left: Former Tableau employees Kevin Boske, Jeff Brinker and Heather Morelli at last week’s Irish Wake event in Seattle. (GeekWire Photo/Nate Bek)

In a letter to employees last month, Benioff said the layoffs at Salesforce stemmed from a “challenging” economic environment in which customers are “taking a more measured approach to their purchasing decisions.” The cuts are part of a wave of layoffs hitting the tech industry after rapid growth.

Salesforce said as part of the layoffs that it will reduce its real estate footprint “within certain markets.”

A Salesforce spokesperson declined to comment on the total number of Tableau employees affected by the recent job cuts or whether the company plans to reduce its real estate footprint in the Seattle area, where Tableau has three offices has.

“We believe in the opportunity for Tableau and have recently made changes to accelerate Tableau’s growth again,” said former Salesforce CEO Bret Taylor, who resigned last month, on the company’s recent conference call Nov. 30 . “This includes new leadership roles and, just as important, new product integrations like Revenue Intelligence, a deep integration between Sales Cloud and Tableau that has become one of our fastest growing add-on products.”

Before the cuts, Salesforce employed about 4,000 people in the Seattle area, including Tableau employees. Salesforce has its own office in Bellevue, Washington.

At last week’s Irish Wake event, Brinker pulled out his phone and recited a song created by the ChatGPT chatbot about the current state of Tableau, to the tune of American Pie.

We may remember the day Tableau came to life, a game changer for data analysis, no more hassle.

Featuring intuitive tools to properly visualize data that puts insights first – a new site.

But the day Tableau died, oh what a site. Left us all lost in the night

No more insights, no more data enjoyment.

The day Tableau died.

Christian Chabot, Chris Stolte and Pat Hanrahan led the charge with a brilliant plan and built a community that loved every brand.

The #DataFam that never lost its footing.

But the day Tableau died, oh what a sight. Left us all lost in the night

No more insights, no more data enjoyment.

The day Tableau died.

Then Salesforce came along with its acquisition dreams and took away Tableau, it seems.

So we have to look for a new solution that will revolutionize our data.

But the day Tableau died, oh what a sight. Left us all lost in the night

No more insights, no more data enjoyment.

The day Tableau died.

We remember Tableau, its effect is told.

With every insight she gains, her legacy will grow.

We’ll keep searching for a new king of data, hoping to find a tool that can do it all.

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