When I look back at the last few months, I’m overwhelmed somewhat by how much has changed. Late last year, I was working at Tableau, leading corporate development.
Then something huge happened, both for the industry and for me personally.
Salesforce acquired Tableau.
As the corporate development leader at Tableau for four years, there hasn’t been a day quite like it. For weeks, we had been furiously working behind the scenes to make this deal happen. When the news finally went live and my phone started blowing up, one thought came to mind. Wow - we did it!
As the excitement settled, a second thought crossed my mind. Now that the acquisition was done, did I want to stay at Tableau? Tableau’s clear focus on the mission to help the world see and understand data was one of the main reasons I joined and stayed. It was a mission that spoke to me.
The mission hadn’t changed with the acquisition, but my role would. So I reflected on what kind of opportunities would compel me to leave.
Here’s what I looked for.
In my career, I’ve always felt more fulfilled when working for a company that has a clear mission - a positive reason to exist and a differentiated approach to achieving its purpose. Tableau was a mission-driven company that made great progress in democratizing analytics in businesses.
ThoughtSpot shares a similar mission, and it was clear to me that ThoughtSpot had a differentiated approach to advance the mission. Search and AI will drive the next wave of democratization in analytics. ThoughtSpot was built from the ground up to leverage these capabilities to deliver a powerful analytics experience that’s intuitive to any business user.
And that’s something I wanted to be a part of building.
Working with People Who Could Make it Happen
As anyone knows who has been around the technology industry, a great idea doesn’t always make a real impact. A team who realizes the idea is just as important, if not more important, than the idea itself.
ThoughtSpot is helmed by an incredible group of leaders who have a proven track record building successful and sustainable companies. The team clearly has the experience and competence required to succeed. What I wasn’t expecting was the deep authenticity and humility of these two leaders. I knew instantly these were people that I trust to build a culture for long term success. I firmly believe that culture is as important to a company’s success as technology. As I met more and more ThoughtSpotters, I realized this wasn’t just a trait at the top, but something found in every member of the team.
Doing the Best Work of My Life
So, I had found a company with the right, differentiated approach to continuing the mission of democratizing analytics and an A-team. The last consideration was the role. Can I create impact and learn from the role? Absolutely.
In my view, the corporate development function in a technology company can have the most impact when it is not pigeon-holed into just executing M&A transactions. That is a key factor behind the familiar refrain that “most acquisitions fail.” When a corporate development team exists only to execute deals, then it is incentivized to lead the company into bad deals.
At ThoughtSpot, we view corporate development as a thought partner to the product team, helping the company fill innovation gaps with a holistic view across build, partner, and acquire options. I have the opportunity to build a truly strategic function at ThoughtSpot.
That’s when I made my decision. I’d found the right role for me, surrounded by the right team, to continue the critical mission of changing how the world uses data.