In the Spotlight with Neil Coleman

Here at ThoughtSpot, our culture is the driving force that advances our mission to build a more fact-driven world. It’s the core of who we are. We describe our culture in two simple words: Selfless Excellence. Selfless excellence means being world class at everything we do, not for ourselves or personal recognition, but for the good of our customers, our community, and our fellow Spotters.  

Each quarter, we recognize and reward an employee who embodies the values of Selfless Excellence: hardwork and integrity; solving meaningful problems with the most impact on customers; and caring about colleagues and customers. 

I caught up with Neil Coleman, Systems Engineer at ThoughtSpot  to hear about his experiences at ThoughtSpot, and what it means to be named a Selfless Excellence champion. 

Congratulations on being awarded the Selfless Excellence Champion! How does it feel?

It’s really incredible. I feel that the culture we have at ThoughtSpot fosters an environment of Selfless Excellence. So, in that sense it is also a humbling experience as there are so many people who exemplify selfless excellence regularly. 

When did you join ThoughtSpot? What drew you to the company in the first place? 

My journey with ThoughtSpot began a little over two years ago, around February 2018. Prior to ThoughtSpot, I had worked both in the industry and as a consultant focused on delivering information to business users. I witnessed firsthand the struggles business users have in getting the answers to their business questions from their company’s data. Whether sifting through hundreds of reports or dashboards trying to answer one question, or using complex tools to get to the granular level of detail they needed, I knew the challenges organizations faced were real, systemic, and crippling on multiple levels. 

When the opportunity came to be a part of the ThoughtSpot family, I reached out to someone I knew at the company. After about an hour of him answering my questions and walking me through what the company does, I was sold. I knew that the folks at ThoughtSpot were working hard on solving some of the real world problems my clients faced every day in a truly innovative fashion. Seeing the potential for the product to truly solve these problems excited me. As they say, the rest was history.

What does Selfless Excellence mean to you?

I’d like to reflect on something I came across in college during my undergrad philosophy classes. The notion is that any act that is done as a means to an end is not an act of virtue. I feel this idea applies here. When ThoughtSpot employees perform acts of Selfless Excellence, they do not do so because of any financial incentive or a guarantee of recognition or any other form of personal gain. 

Over and over these acts of Selfless Excellence are performed because, as an organization we are all vested in the success of our clients, partners, and people and thereby, the success of ThoughtSpot. 

Can you share an example of how Selfless Excellence has played a key role in helping you succeed at ThoughtSpot?

There are more examples than I could provide here, but the one constant in all of them is that I can call on anyone in this company if I need assistance and have no doubts that the person will assist me. Whether it is one of our founders, executives,or someone in a different department, or someone who is not part of my team, anyone will jump in and help. The idea that you are never on your own, that everyone in this company is standing with you and their only goal is our overall success, makes me feel proud about the culture we have here. 

How can we nurture a consistent culture of Selfless Excellence with our colleagues, partners, customers, and community? 

I clearly remember the first Beyond, our customer conference, back in 2018. The final event of that conference was an executive round table where our senior leadership team was taking questions from the audience. One customer talked about how much they value the personal relationships they have with the ThoughtSpot team. They asked as ThoughtSpot grows how will you maintain that special relationship we have with your employees. 

The answer is that we are never going to be done building this culture. We need to work on this everyday. The minute we think we are done, we have failed. I think that is the key and we need to share these ideas and practices with our partners and clients. We also need to incorporate some of their best practices into what we do everyday.

Do you have any advice for fellow Spotters on what it takes to be a Selfless Excellence Champion?

The one thing I will point out is that when someone calls you or sends a message asking about some information or your experience on a particular topic, they are doing so because they believe that you possess the qualities of Selfless Excellence. A quality to look beyond yourself and help others. 

Keep at it, encourage your teams and colleagues to think about others and the company ahead of themselves in the same way you’d want them to care about you!