A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week:
What: Tableau Software
Who: Christian Chabot, 36, CEO
Mission: Translate information contained in spreadsheets and databases in a clear, graphical way.
Table service: Chabot said many users can’t read data from a spreadsheet in a way that makes sense to them. “With a spreadsheet or a database, you can spend an hour clicking away to see any meaning in the data,” he said. “We get to that same point with a single action.”
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Employees: About 80
Financials: Aside from venture capital, the main revenue stream comes from software sales. Chabot said the Seattle company is profitable, with annual revenue doubling over the past several years.
Spread the wealth: Tableau recently struck a deal with Oracle. “A lot of government agencies and nonprofits haven’t been privy to advances in business analytic software,” Chabot said. “The question as to why these innovations haven’t been available to everyone isn’t something we can answer. Why hasn’t Microsoft put this kind of interface on Excel or Access? You’d have to ask Microsoft.”
Bright ideas: Comparisons to both Google and Adobe are appropriate, according to Chabot. “You can’t imagine a world before Google because access to search was completely different,” he said. “It’s success was made possible by a scientific breakthrough, and we have made the same kind of breakthrough with our program.” Like Photoshop, the $999 Tableau is on the pricier end of software packages. But Chabot said both programs can increase the efficiency of billable hours and pay for itself in a single session.
Beat the recession: Chabot said the ability to interpret data allows customers to become more efficient and increase profits. “We live in a pretty grim time,” he said. “But we are offering a piece of technology that helps them achieve something that was previously unthinkable, and that helps them improve their business.”
— Charles Bermant