The Data Chief | Episode 81

How to Organize Modern Data and Analytics Teams with Mode Analytics Co-Founder, Benn Stancil

Benn Stancil

Field CTO


Current EpisodeEP81: How to Organize Modern Data and Analytics Teams with Mode Analytics Co-Founder, Benn Stancil

Episode Overview

On this episode, Benn Stancil, Co-Founder of Mode Analytics and current Field CTO at Thoughtspot  shares his thoughts on who wants to use data to solve problems, and who just wants data to validate an opinion. He brings unique perspectives to how data excellence can be proliferated through an organization, whether shadow IT is a nuisance or a guide post, and how large language models will influence the future of data.

Key Moments:

  • How an internal analytics tool Benn built at Yammer led to starting Mode Analytics to serve the new breed of technical data teams (4:00)
  • Why the urgency around BI consolidation in 2023 prompted conversations with ThoughtSpot (52:30) 
  • The risks of shadow tools and lack of consistency; importance of a centralized data infrastructure (26:30)
  • Using natural language search as an interface for asking novel questions and changing how people use data (44:00)
  • Data teams need visibility into the business context; centralization for infrastructure but decentralization to embed in business units (23:30)
  • How ambition plays an outsized role in the type of data tools selected in an organization (17:58)

Key Quotes:

Courage, ultimately, is needed in making a decision that you have to own. [Unfortunately], data can be a punt. If you make a data driven decision, nobody made the decision. The data made the decision. There is like an abstraction there of who was actually responsible for it. 

What ends up happening [in shadow IT] is you spend all this time just trying to figure out, like, which one do you trust? Who's right? Everybody has their different perspective.

Good Googlers are not people that know the, the exact syntax of weird Google searches. Good Googlers are the people who have some spider sense about where to go looking for things. And I think AI is probably going to be similar to that, where it's not the crazy prompt engineers that'll make it good. It’s like some of the next level spider sense skills that we don’t know yet.



Benn Stancil is ThoughtSpot’s Field CTO. He joined ThoughtSpot in 2023 as part of its acquisition of Mode, where he was a Co-Founder and CTO. While at Mode, Benn held roles leading Mode’s data, product, marketing, and executive teams. He regularly writes about data and technology at  Prior to founding Mode, Benn worked on analytics teams at Microsoft and Yammer.

Personal Details:

  • Enjoys playing baseball and is a Braves fan
  • Favorite pump up song: "Labor" by Paris Paloma
  • Grateful for opportunities to travel and gain new perspectives